Saturday, January 24, 2015

Of carrots and sticks

(Via Say Uncle)

Why it takes both carrots and sticks to force the political process to behave itself and leave us alone.  Interesting reading, because it will make you question your position and force you to think.

Are you a carrot or a stick?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

What James Madison really meant with this whole Second Amendment thing

(Via Gun Owners of America)

Rigorous scholarship has unearthed 200+ year old video of James Madison penning the original version of the Second Amendment.  Oh, we have been so wrong...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

10mm jonesin'

Don't ask me why.  It can't be because I need another pistol--trust me on that one.  There is no possible explanation for a desire to stock another expensive pistol caliber on the ammo shelves.  But I am beginning to jones for a 10mm pistol.

Glock has a couple of 10s already in production, the G20 and G29, and there are tales of a G40, though it isn't on their web site.  However, I'm not a big Glock fan.  I've tried them, and I don't care for the out-of-the-box trigger.  I think it's sort of silly to have to drop a new trigger in it just to enjoy shooting the gun I just bought.  I haven't had to do it with any other piece of tactical plastic I've bought, and I don't care to start.  (And yes, I will admit that none of them have a great trigger, but every Springfield I own has a better trigger than any factory Glock I've ever shot.  No, I haven't shot a Gen 4.  I don't know anyone with one.)  However, at $600-$700 list, they are the least expensive 10s I've found.

Springfield Armory refuses to bring out any sort of XD or 1911 in 10mm.  Smith and Wesson catalogs nothing as well.  Neither does Ruger.

Sig is bringing out 3 models of the P220 through Lipsey's, which is a possibility, but pricey at over a grand per.  Lipsey's "Firearms Finder" also catalogs several 1911 style pistols from Colt, CZ and Rock Island, but they either show as out of stock or also with price tags exceeding 1 large.  Doable, but owie.

Checking Davidson's Gallery of Guns site, there are the Glocks, including, my oh my,  an $840 G40 that's "on allocation" (meaning you get to stalk every gun dealer and show within 3 states looking for one), Rock Islands for a bit over $800 (better), lots of EAAs and a couple of Para's (I didn't know they were still making guns?).

The $850ish Rock Island 1911 seems to be the one that interests me the most, just from looking at pictures.  I've found some positive reviews, and only one thing I don't care for (A bushing-less barrel?  Really?)

The Greensboro Gun and Knife Show is January 31-February 1.  I'll be there, working a table for GRNC (stop in and say "Hi!") part of one day, and wondering around the rest of it.  My primary reason for the visit is to look for some reference books, since there are usually one or two well-stocked book sellers at that show.  But I'm going to wonder around and see if I happen to see any 10mm pistols laying about that might want to come home with me.

Or maybe a Krag.  You know, I've been thinking about a Krag too...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Life, Interrupted

(If you have a weak stomach, you may just want to skip this one.  You have been warned.)

There is an old saying along the lines that "Life is what happens while you're making other plans."  Boy howdy.  While we were making Christmas plans, Life decided to happen all over us.

You've noticed that I have basically neglected the old blog about to death lately, and especially during the holidays.  Therein lies a tale, and there are, believe it or not, some lessons to be drawn from it.  Nothing earth shaking, but still, we should always examine our lives, if nothing else in order to help keep ourselves from repeating our mistakes.

It's been long noted at the Freehold that it isn't Christmas if someone isn't sick.  Well, this was a banner year for Christmas.  Mrs. Freeholder lead it off the Saturday before Christmas with an epic gastro bug--we're talking projectile everything.  Bad enough that you start losing control of certain muscles that are supposed to control such things.  Thank heaven for vinyl flooring in the bathroom.

Not being a fool, I gloved up and masked up before I started to clean up.  Everything was double bagged and I followed the best protocol I knew to make sure I didn't get anything on me.  We don't keep specific disinfecting products on hand (Mistake #1), so I had to invent my own, based on bleach.  Perhaps it worked, perhaps not.

Mrs. Freeholder was in a bad way.  She was dehydrating fast.  A simple sip of water would bring up 10x as much liquid from her stomach, and similar goings on were happening elsewhere.  (I'm trying not to be totally gross, but this was a totally gross situation.)

Mistake #2 was not having a supply of incontinence pads.  Yes, you can cook up a field expedient version, but trust me, you really would rather be able to just bag it all up and throw it away.  It makes for easier infection control.

Mistake #3 is that you will go through far more medical supplies far faster than you expect, even if you know this and have laid in extra medical supplies.  Not a problem when the stores are open and you have extra hands to send out for the stuff you need, but it sucks at 2 AM when everything is closed.

I was concerned about Mrs. Freeholder's level of dehydration.  She was starting to fail the pinch test and refusing hydration.  However, she had also dosed herself with Imodium (something of which I don't generally approve but at this point was willing to go with) and had mostly stopped running to the toilet and vomiting.  Her mucous membranes were still OK and it was very late, well into the time where an ER visit is an interesting undertaking in it's own way.  The decision was to let her sleep a few hours and see how she was later in the morning.

As luck would have it, by later that morning she was able to keep down sips, then swallows and then glasses of clear liquids.  Water, watered-down Gatorade and Sprite were the order of the day.  By Monday, she was doing much better, and able to eat a bit.

This was a Good Thing, because by Monday, I had it.  At least I learned a thing or two and managed not to make any big messes.  But OMG, this was a nasty bug.  You lose fluid by the quart, and in a hurry.  The dehydration set off a migraine, so in the midst of this, I'm puking my guts out (I swear, I saw stuff I ate last month) and I can't take anything for the migraine.  This is a new level of embracing the suck.

Luckily, we're in operating hours for the pharmacy, so Daughter goes for Emetrol, an anti-nausea agent.  I puked that up.  I puke up everything that goes down.  If it stays down, my digestive system is a straight pipe and it comes out the other end.  Now I'm failing the pinch test.  The doc-in-a-box is closed and the only choice is an ER visit.  I decide the answer to that is "No".  I follow my wife's methodology and stop drinking and try to get some rest until morning.  Mistake #4.

Unfortunately for me, it didn't work.  Through the night, every couple of hours, it's blargh time.  I just keep trying to give it something to work with.  Better to have something to throw up than get the dry heaves.  The other end deals with any leftovers.

Sunrise finds me in pretty pathetic shape.  I managed to get somewhat dressed (jammie pants and a jacket) and have to be walked to the car so I can be driven to to the doc-in-a-box.  (Have I mentioned I have a thing about ERs?  Well, I do.  I don't like the damn things.)

The doc give me a good look, does a quick test for flu (negative), and tells me that this stuff is all over the area.  I am dehydrated but not quite so bad that I need to go to the ER.  A prescription for ondansetron sub-lingual tabs and a raft of instructions on rehydrating and what to do if anything didn't work correctly in the next 12 hours, and I went home and slept the rest of Tuesday away, with breaks when I was woken up and made to drink.  I don't think I urinated that day until late evening.

Yeah, Christmas was great.  I actually was able to eat some solid food by then.  Yay me.

After Christmas, it was Daughter's turn to find an upper respiratory.  Also not the flu, as I write this she is still feeling the after effects.  This one is also making the rounds around our area.  Thankfully no one else has picked it up.

The only person who didn't get an extra Christmas gift was Son.  No one is sure how that happened.  He is simply grateful.

At this time we are all back to our normal pursuits, at least as best we can.  We are taking precautions to be as sure as we can that we pick up no more bugs.  The flu that is in the area is a killer for real.  Over 30 people died in North Carolina over the holidays from complications of having the flu.

I have obtained a supply of incontinence pads and disinfecting wipes (which can double as actual sanitizing wipes if used correctly).  I was able to save a few of the ondansetron tabs.  I'm trying to figure out any other things I can do, but there is a limit to what one can do without advanced medical training and access to prescription drugs.

Situations such as this point out just how bad things can/will get if we will have a prolonged grid-down situation.  In the less-developed parts of the world, people die from diarrhea every day.  And while I have at least a half-dozen recipes for oral rehydration solutions and the stuff to make them, they don't do a bit of good it you can't get them in the patient and keep them there.  Even the Patriot Nurse's Medical Prep 101 class that Daughter and I took, which introduced us to the concept of rectal rehydration, wouldn't have worked in this situation.

Yeah, this gives you something to think about, alright.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

OK, it's been too long

And it's going to be longer.  I'll explain why later.  In the meantime, I'm going to trot out one of the things I've found and saved for times like this.  I love to wonder the Intertubz, and don't get as much time to do it as I'd like.  Along with the mountains of dreck out there, you can find some magnificent things, some things that give you hope that mankind is not going to plunge down the toilet bowl of history just yet.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Chateau de Gudanes restoration project.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Book Review: The Prepper's Blueprint by Tess Pennington

I've been around the survivialism/prepping thing long enough that every time I see a book that purports to be, as the cover of this one puts it, "step-by-step guide to help you prepare for any disaster", my bullshit meter pretty much pegs.

The reason is simple.  Unless you are only preparing for that ready.gov "3 days until FEMA arrives to put everything back together for you" scenario, prepping is simply too broad a subject to cover in a single book.  Even something as relatively simple as drinking water can easily run a few hundred pages if you go all out with covering well digging/drilling, filtering systems, the various sorts of pumps, power systems and what have you.  It ain't all 8 drops of bleach per gallon of water (I don't give a damn what the EPA thinks).

So when I saw Tess Pennington's "The Prepper's Blueprint" favorably mentioned somewhere (and I honestly don't remember where) on the Intertubz, I figured that it would be yet more of the same.  However, since Amazon allows you to have a look inside the book (got to compete with the brick and mortar book stores), I was able to get a look at the table of contents and the introduction and was intrigued enough to drop $20 to have a copy shipped in.

It's an interesting take on the subject.  Pennington follows more or less the typical organization of most manuals--food, water, tools, medicals supplies and so on, but she has something that is in my experience unique.  She adds the concept of "layers".  So when she discusses food the first time in Layer 1, it's in a very basic way.  Two weeks of food and water, simple meals that don't require a lot of effort (including cooking) to prepare and so on.

Layer 2 broadens the topic by going into water filtration and food preservation, as well as expanding the food supply to a full month.  Layer 3 modifies the one month pantry into a pattern that can be used for storing multiple months of food.  In the course of doing so the discussion expands to cover essential fats, legumes, carbs and so on so that you have a basic understanding of what you need for a healthy diet over the long term.

This same model is used for medical needs, communications, tools, shelter and so on.  As I said earlier, it's a model that I haven't encountered before in the prepping world, and I think that, for someone who is just coming around to the necessity to be prepared, it should work well.  It allows the beginner to get some quick "wins" (face it, if they just do Layer 1 they're more prepared than 99% of Americans) and then continue on as they are mentally able and willing. It's a big scary step to go from "don't get it" to "eyes wide open", and all to easy to slip into "it can't be done".  Pennington's layered approach may be just the thing to get people past that hump.

Based on her own citations, Pennington appears to rely on others for much of her information in many areas.  In most areas, that serves her well, but in a couple, communications and defense, she could have picked better sources.  It isn't so much that the information is wrong as it is woefully inadequate.  She could have used some better advice in these two areas.  Fortunately, by the time the beginning prepper gets to the serious parts of these in Layer 3, it will be easy enough for them to do their own research and find their own trustworthy sources.

Overall, I'm going to say that this book is a keeper.  The inexperienced will find it a good initial guide to beginning preparedness--just remember that it is a beginner's manual and that you will need more in depth texts in each subject area (and to her credit, Pennington usually notes this).  Those who have made being prepared a part of their life will find a very different use for this book--it's great for loaning out to family, friends and acquaintances who, having finally realized that milk doesn't come from a grocery store, decide to take some responsibility for their own lives and want to begin prepping.  Rather than having to sit down and spend hours going over this and that, you can simply hand them this book.

Just be sure you get it back so you can loan it to the next person.

("The Prepper's Blueprint by Tess Pennington, 458 pages, ISBN-13 978-1496092588  For the information of whatever Federal nitwits might happen by, I bought this book with my own freaking money, OK?)

Doin' it old school

I'm not a big AK fan, but I do appreciate craftsmanship whereever it's found.  In this case it's Bosnia.