A little weirdness with some error messages popping up and page issues. If things get dark around here, don’t panic…Im working on it.
“Where liberty dwells, there is my country.” – B. Franklin
It appears Patriots’ Day is a ‘floating’ holiday that is defined as the third Monday in April. Bah! For me, it is always April 19th.
Well, today is ten years of (mostly) preparedness blogging. I don’t keep track of this sort of thing, but I think that puts me right near the top of longest continuously updating preparedness blogs. Average is about one post every 2.6 days. Not too bad, in my opinion.
These posts were originally on LiveJournal (where I still crosspost them when my crosspost addon is working) and after a year or so I moved it over to its own domain. Eventually settled in WordPress and the rest is history.
In the time since the blog started, things have changed a bit. Terrorism was still a hot topic, although early on I started to think that the real issues were going to be economic. I may have been ahead of the curve on that one. I’ve vastly improved my personal level of preparations since then, and it’s interesting to see how even in only ten years the technology has changed. (When I started this blog, amazing gadgets like iPhones were still unhead of….now theyre everywhere.) When I started the blog we were still in the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban era…so 30-rd AR mags and 17-rd Glock mags were treasured items. Oddly, it may be a ‘Back to the future’ kinda thing at the rate things are going…….
There had been a good bit of evolution (or intelligent design, if youre into that sorta thing) of things I stockpile and put away. When I started this blogging I was a fan of the Browning 9mm but eventually accepted that the Glock was probably a better choice for my anticipated usage. The enormous stash of MRE’s was whittled down and replaced with longer-term freeze-drieds and #10 cans. The supply of on-hand food, ammo, batteries, water, etc, etc, has increased by several orders of magnitude. The amount of guns in the safe? Yeah…a bit of a jump there as well. All of those increases in tangibles isn’t a result of increases in earnings or a reaction to increased amounts of bad news. They are simply the result of sticking with something for (over) ten years. Next time some idiot crows about how a ‘working man’ can’t afford all those ‘survivalist yuppie toys’ and that ‘real people’ can only afford a Mosin Nagant and barrels of rice, remind yourself that over a long enough timeline anything is affordable. I sure as heck didn’t get all this stuff at once, heck theres stuff I wanted when I started this blog that only recently have I been able to afford. The truth, class-bashing aside, is that if you want something badly enough you will find a way to make it happen. You may not have the half dozen AR’s in the safe, the 40-acres in the middle of nowhere, and the uber BOV that you want now but if you stick with it, diligently and faithfully, eventualy you will.
Somewhere in the middle of ten years of blogging (actually, right at the halfway point, as it turns out) I got married. That really didn’t change much of anything in terms of preparedness except cut the amount of everything I had stored in half (since it was now going to have to last for twice as many people as planned.) In my particular case (and your mileage may vary) it’s worked out fairly well. From a preparedness standpoint since it’s given me a bit of an ‘in’ with the local police department…and that can be useful in a crunch. It also helps that she’s not one of those spouses/partners who rolls their eyes and mutters under their breath every time a case of ammo or drum of gasoline shows up on the shopping list.
The blog has never been much trouble. Once in a while if I get writers block or think I dont have anything to say that folks will find interesting (and some might say that problem hasnt been taken care of) I can usually count on some absurdity in the news to spark the muse and get something going thats (mostly) relevant. I will say that, to some degree, the blogging has made me more aware of things that go on in the world and in the ‘preparedness community’. I wind up spending more time reading about things than I think I would have otherwise and that leads me to, in my opinion, be a bit better informed.
I’ve met a small amount of people through the blog, and had good interactions with several more in email. For someone like me who is wary of letting people into my ‘real’ life, this has been a good medium for meeting folks and satisfying my need for some social interactions with like-minded people. I think I can honestly say I haven’t really had any bad experiences (yet) with people I encounter here. Then again, I also have a very high tolerance for BS.
Is this something that Im going to do for another ten years? Unlikely. At some point I’ll have said everything I can think of on a subject and all that’ll be left are infrequent posts that show up only when some big topical event happens or a new product hits the market. But, for the forseeable future, I’m going to probably keep doing things the way they’ve been going. I enjoy throwing my ‘brain droppings’ (as Geo. Carlin used to call them) on the internet and seeing what sort of response they get. I’d be lying if I said that there hasn’t been a little ego gratification here and there over the years. There certainly hasn’t been a huge monetary gain out of it, but thats okay because I was never in this for the money. I have, on occasion, gotten some cool gear out of it and that’s always way cool. In the final analysis, this blogging has really not been about what you should do in terms of preparedness, its been about what I do (or have done). Not tellin’ ya how to prepare for your particular flavor of apocalypse, just tellin’ ya what I did.
All in all, its been an enjoyable experience and I’m glad to have done it.
I had an email exchange with someone the other day and they commented on something that I thought was a bit interesting. They said while they read and enjoyed other blogs across the blogosphere, what they enjoyed about mine as that it wasn’t all doom-n-gloomy.
I’ve been thinking about that the last couple of days and I had some thoughts on that.
First, if youre a survivalist (or ‘prepper’, if you prefer) then you probably tend to take the ‘glass is half empty’ outlook on some things. That’s reasonable because if you’re preparing for unpleasant circumstances you have to think and dwell on those unpleasantries so you have an idea of what to stock up on. Trouble is, sometimes its hard to get away from thinking about that.
Some wag will point a finger at the survivalist and say he’s ‘living in fear’ and ‘wasting his life’. I disagree with those sorts of assertions but I do believe that you can wind up letting this lifestyle and interest color you to the point that maybe your ability to just relax and enjoy life is a bit compromised. Lemme thow out a parable: I have a buddy with a really cool sports car. He loves driving it and I think it gives him more happiness and pleasure than just about anything that doesn’t have an XX chromosome pairing. I doubt that when he drives it he thinks that there were over 30,000 traffic fatalities the previous year, that the gasoline he uses is going up in price, that highway infrastructure is deteriorating faster than we can repair it, that automakers get .gov bailouts that cost taxpayers, or that the average speeding ticket is several hundred dollars when you hit the kinda speeds his car can do. He doesn’t think of any of that…instead he rolls down the window, props one arm on the window, stomps the accelerator, feels himself gently pushed back into the leather upholstery and he enjoys his car. He may be aware of those things, and they may enter his mind at some point as he’s driving, but it doesn’t keep him from enjoying the moment. He knows all those facts, is aware of them, understands their impact and then he enjoys himself anyway. I think preparedness is (or should) be like that.
I am, by no means, the life of the party, but I don’t let my somewhat-constant always-running-in-the-background preparedness-oriented mental processes ruin a nice day with the dog. I can be aware (hopefully) of the potential threatas and hazards around us and once that level of awareness is achieved, I can move on to enjoying myself.
Make no mistake, there’s going to come some day when, for whatever reason, your life is going to have the wheels fly off. Comet strike, EMP, economic collapse, bird flu, whatever…..but more likely is that youre gonna have the wind knocked out of you through something far less dramatic. Maybe you’ll come home and find the wife took off with the mechanic, or your house got condemned for mold, or you lose a foot in a motorcycle wreck, or any number of events that are TEOTWAWKI to you, although no one else would care too much since its not happening to them. (In the final analysis, TEOTWAWKI is a very personal thing.)
So, nine times out of ten my blogging isnt about patrolling back roads against invading UN forces, having to perform an appendectomy without anesthesia while someone holds a kerosene lantern over your kitchen table, learning how to dispose of bodies in mass graves, figuring out the best way to eat insect larvae, or how to barter gold with your local junta so you get your name off their lists. Sure, maybe it’ll happen someday but I have to deal with likelihoods…and the likelihood is that, between two events happening, the more likely one is losing a job, experiencing a hurricane, or just simply dealing with an increasingly uncertain world. All of that is more likely than having to fight foreign paratroopers who were airdropped into Calumet.
I like to think that much of what I post is useful to people no matter where on the spectrum they are…if I post about cool new freezedrieds, that info is just as useful to the person stocking up a hurricane preparedness kit as it is to the guys in the secret underground militia preparing to fight the invading hordes. I like to think most of my postings are relevant to most folks no matter how tight their hats are.
Anyway, it’s not that Im not doom-n-gloomy it’s just that maybe Im a bit more optimistic than I give myself credit for. I may think that there’s ugliness in the future coming this way, but I also thinl that if I prepare against it and do a good job of it we’ll be just fine.
Anyway, thats my two cents about doom-n-gloom.
Cool .pdf of a map-n-compass course from ESEE knives.
I love my GPS, but I think that before you flip the switch on the Garmin you better have at least a working grasp of the basics of map-n-compass. If nothing else, just some simple stuff so you can at least keep it simple..like “The highway south of me runs east-west, so if I get lost all I have to do is head south and I’ll hit the highway.”
Plenty of decent compasses out there for not much more than the price of a box of ammo. Nothing wrong the ol’ standys like the Silva Ranger. If you want to really hone your skills but don’t want to have it become a lifestyle, take up geocaching. Geocaching may as well be called ‘partisan resupply practice’. You hide an object in the woods, give GPS/map coords to someone, and tell ‘em to go find it. It’s hide-n-seek for geardos.
Again, I’m becoming a gear snob in my later years. Silva and Brunton make good stuff, but lately I’ve been liking the Suunto MB-6 …I very much prefer the sighting mirrors that are under the baseplate rather than over it. Despite that preference, my other favorite is the classic Silva Ranger.
Regardless of what you like or have, ya gotta learn how the bloody thing is used before you start worrying about what bells n’ whistles it has.
Related post: Books – Pt. IV
San Francisco fascinates me in a strange way. Like Chicago, it has a history of being just about wiped out by a disaster. Now, one would think that, given SF’s likelihood of another tectonic smackdown, they would have some serious ‘civil defense’ / emergency operations. Maybe they do. But one thing that has always made me wonder was why, in a place that is sitting on the terrestrial equivalent of Jell-O, would you ever build any connective works underground? Subways, tunnels, aqueducts, etc, etc….all seem like disasters-waiting-to-happen. And while the 1906 earthquake did an amazing number on the skyline, it was the resultant fires that really iced the cake. As it turns out, San Francisco did learn an interesting lesson from that earthquake…they’ve peppered the place with underground cisterns to use in case of disruptions in water supply. Very forward-thinking. Apparently they also regulate rooftop water tanks and pools to be adaptable to emergency fire use as well. Interesting stuff.
NOTE: THis was sitting in my ‘Drafts’ folder. I’d been meaning to post it back in January but never got around to finishing it. A bit late, but here it is.
2012 turned out pretty much the way I expected it to. The economy continued to do whatever it is that it’s been doing, the great national malaise continued, and the wife and I continued on as best we could.
2012 was the year I finally got my 9mm carbine, after much hand-wringing and an aborted attempt a few years earlier. The serendipitous nature of the acquisition is almost enough to make me think that the preparedness gods were watching out for me.
This was also the year that the wife and I decided to try living on a written budget and, holy Crom, did that ever turn out to be a good idea. That was probably the most dramatic shift in our lives this year…and it has made a tremendous difference in things. I cannot recommend highly enough how good an idea this is. You can go back and read the posts about it (which were among the highest viewed posts of 2012) and see for yourself.
Ammo usage was very very light this year, other than the wife’s competition needs. Quite honestly, I just never got out to the range as much as I’d have liked. Part of it is not really having anyone to go with and the other part was just not feeling like going through the effort. Gonna have to be more diligent about that this year. At least get in some pistol time once or twice a month.
Prep-wise we added new shelving for storing food and whatnot, streamlined some online recordkeeping, brought in a little more storage food, bought half a beef, got new jerry cans, and a few other goodies to help in easing our minds and reducing potential risks.
Financially, we’re ending 2012 in better shape than when we started 2012. Not because of increases in income, but because of the budgeting process we started. We’re still debt-free except for the house, have a decent emergency fund going, and are on track to take a cruise next winter to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary.
What didnt get done? Well, still no generator. Still no solar/battery system. There is always room for more guns and ammo, especially given the uncertain nature of federal regulation that may be coming down the pike. Still need a nice radio setup..preferably a really nice shortwave listening setup. Doggy needs a bugout bag.
Forecast for 2013? More of the same….I dont see the economy getting any better, I expect Obamacare to do some amazing things to the unemployment numbers as businesses refuse to add to their costs by hiring people who they’ll have to provide health care for, and I fully expect to see many full-time employees getting bumped down to part-time for the same reason. This year will be a mess from the employer/employee standpoint. I forseee lotsa folks holding two (or more) part time jobs since no one will want to hire them for one full-time position. I suppose the unemployment figures may actually start looking better as people holding down three part-time jobs get counted as full-time employed. It’s re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, I know, but Im sure the administration will welcome any improvement in the numbers, no matter how the numbers are massaged to get there.
Legislation-wise, I am not ruling out a non-sunsetting reinstatement of the ’94 AW ban. I hope nothing happens, but hope isn’t good enough……gotta take preventive measures and that means mags and guns, mags and guns, mags and guns. Thus far things seem to be going along party lines but you just can’t rely on these things.
So, all in all, 2012, despite the predictions of Mayans, wasn’t the end of the world. At least, not on a noticeable level. Sure there are folks whose worlds effectively came to an end when tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis re-arranged their houses….but in terms of a global sort of scenario…nope. So, I’m hoping 2013 is similar to 2012…relatively quiet and calm enough to let me go on continuing to reinforce our position.
Every time I post about gold-n-silver someone usually comments about “where can I go to get a fair price and ……”. So, I’m making this post and will wind up just putting a link to it in any post I make about gold/silver since folks always seem to want to know a good source.
So… my buddy runs Montana Rarities. He buys and sells gold and silver, as well as, sometimes, doing trades for them as well. (As in, you trade ‘x’ amounts of one metal for ‘y’ amount of the other.) He’s very knowlegable, a straight-shooter, and is far more easygoing and fair than a lot of people I’ve seen in this business.
When he started this business and was looking for ideas, I suggested a subscription plan where a person could set up a repeating transaction once a month and acquire gold or silver. He drafts your bank account for, say, $200 every 15th of the month (you pick the amount and the day) and on the 15th of every month he sends you $200 worth of gold or silver (whichever you specified) at whatever the rate was on that day. Basically, set it and forget it. Here’s a link to the page describing how it works. If you want to sock away some metal without the hassle of following prices, and dealing with shipping and credit card numbers every month, it’s the way to go…a fire-n-forget way of accumulating your stash of metals.
Is he a good value? Well, certainly he’s the best deal in town here. Is he the best on the itnernet? Beats me. I suppose if you order 5000 ounces at a time from APMEX you might get a better deal, but if youre going to be doing a bit less volume than that I’d stack him against anyone. In fact, I usually give him a huge ration of crap about how his premium percentages are smaller than pretty much everyone’s.
Now, sure, I’m biased. I’ve known him for years, and watched him start this business from the ground up….back when a $300 sale was reason to celebrate. Nowadays a $5,000 sale barely raises his heartbeat. Why? Mostly because a lot of those $300 sales turned out to be guys ‘testing the waters’ to see if he was a good guy to do business with. Once they did a few ‘nickle-n-dime’ sales with him and realized how great he was to deal with, the real money started changing hands. Can;t buy that kinda customer loyalty, ya gotta earn it.
Anyway, before you go plunk down your slowly dissolving greenbacks at one of the big-name guys’ websites, check him out and see if you cant get a better value from him. Even if the prices ‘tween the two are virtually the same, you’ll probably get much better customer service from him.
Well, Im not running on all 8 cylinders but I’m certainly functional again. I’m tellin’ ya, man – Schmaltz.
So, since I was flat on my butt for a few days I had some time to play with some new goodies. Some very interesting stuff coming up, including a new product from Choate, reviews of the Augason Farms food, a new stove, and some other goodies.