Sunday, September 23, 2018

Feed the machine

There are a number of people who wonder why the "police action" in Korea wasn't prosecuted with more vigor, why the Vietnam "conflict" was fought in a way that nearly guaranteed failure and why the the Gulf War/Global War on Terror is still going on at all.

There are also people who wonder why we put up with the joke we call "public education" and the contaminated industrial products we call "food".

Other people continue to wonder why medical costs are so high in the US, why perscription drugs are so costly and why modern medicine seems less interested in curing diseases than in offering expensive treatments that don't cure but do prolong suffering.

Color me cynical, but it appears to me that they view "the masses", which have more lately been  known collectively as "deploreables", as fodder for their cash cows.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Outside the box thinking personified

(Via Says Uncle)

The most cogent reason for carrying a pistol chambered in .45 ACP I've seen recently.

AR-15 Wear and Failure Points

(Via Says Uncle)

15 wear and failure points on the AR series of firearms, but a list of good spares to keep.

I note they diplomatically mention the shooter as a failure point.

Upstairs, Downstairs

Eric S. Raymond posits that we are genetically selecting for intelligence at the top of the income scale and muses on the possible consequences. e sure to read the comments as well.

He points out that this would make an interesting SF book. Personally, I think it could be a series.

Hurricane Florence AAR

Hurricane Florence has came and went. Here at Ft. Freehold, Florence wasn't as serious a problem as it was for the residents of coastal NC. We received a measured 6.9" of rain and had wind gusts that topped 30 MPH. No trees down and no power outage, although it did the "on-off-on-off-on" dance a few times.

In the local area, there are a few trees, mostly dead or diseased, that have come down, along with minor flooding and a number of power outages. I imagine there is also some roof damage here and there.

I'm grateful for my blessings, and pray for the safety and well-being of those who have been grievously affected by the storm.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Keepin' on and keepin' up with Florence

Another day of being sure we're ready for Florence. As far as major items go, we were in pretty good shape beforehand and now we're as good as we're likely to get. Kudos to Amazon, UPS and the USPS for getting the order for extra batteries and a couple of battery-powered fans here on schedule. If the power goes out for a while, at least we have some means of relief.

Where forecasts are concerned, there seems to be some difference of opinion between our local TV weather droids and the National Hurricane Center. I'm going by the information from the NWC. Right now we're still in the 4+ days out category in terms of the storm's arrival at our location, which means the forecast could change significantly, so I'm checking at most update times to see what's changed.

Given the size of the storm, we'll see winds and rain well before the center of circulation gets here. At the moment, we'll see winds of tropical storm force or better (over 39 MPH) and rain of 6-15". We're near a break point for the forecast, so the rainfall range is large just yet.

I have gotten the WeatherFlow weather station up, although I need to guy it. This is the wind and rain sensors, mounted on an aluminum push up pole. At this height, it's around 5' over the peak of the roof and about 21' off the ground. There is another section I can take it up, and I'll probably do that once I have the guys in tomorrow. This is a temporary setup. The good thing about it is that I can drop the who thing down to about 6' tall in 60 seconds. If things start getting particularly dicey, down it comes.

As there isn't going to be anything of real interest until the storm gets here, I'll stop this series of posts here. I doubt that anyone wants the details of charging batteries, getting things up off the basement and garage floors and making sure all the outdoor stuff is tied down or stored.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Hurricane party? I don't think so.

So the morning weather report from one of the TV local stations is just full of good news. Florence's track is still aimed at Wilmington, but given the error rate in the forecast it could hit anywhere from Myrtle Beach, SC to Nags Head, NC. Me, I'm still betting on Wilmington or relatively close.

To make matters even more fun, the rain we're getting today through Wednesday is due to a stalled front. That's a double whammy. First, it's soaking ground that is already on the wet side. That's bad for flooding potential when the big weather gets here, but it's also bad because tree root systems don't hold as well in wet ground. Add a lot of wind from the storm and you have trees falling. Bye-bye power, hello impassible roads and trees on houses. Been there, done that, wasn't fun.

Second, that front is going to slow the inland progress of what is predicted now to be a Category 4 storm to a crawl. That means all that rain falls over a longer period of time in any given location and the wind has longer to work on those trees. Great.

Progress on the storm preps is being made. The gas supply has been totally cycled and new fresh gas is in storage. Replacements for the battery supply will be here tomorrow, along with a few items, such as battery-powered fans, that will be good to have in an extended power outage. My generator won't pull the HVAC system, so we'll retreat to the basement and use the fans if an outage goes on for long.

Today I'm going to get to the grocery store. I also hope to change the oil in the generator and begin putting up the weather station. I'll have to temp up some of it, but it should work for the time being. I just hope it holds up to the storm.

Tune in tomorrow for another thrilling episode. :-)

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Hurricane's a' comin'

Ah, it's the time of year in the South when the weather is cooling a bit, college football is underway and hurricanes come barging in, screwing up everything.

It's been quite a few years since the coast of the two Carolinas took a hard, head-on hit from a hurricane, but barring some help from above, it appears Florence is going to be a direct hit on the coast. Currently, forecasts are targeting Wilmington, NC as ground zero for a hit next weekend. Of course, this is a week out, and a lot of weather can happen in a week.

I'm going to use this as a motivator to get some items off my list, such as cycling and refilling gas cans after a long summer of making hay mowing grass. I'll also make the obligatory trip to the grocery store to top off on consumables and another trip, probably to Amazon, to refill on batteries, which I found noticed yesterday we are a little light on.

While this storm has the potential to visit our home, we are a few hundred miles inland, so we won't get the worst of it. However, we have had more than a few hurricanes pass through, and they can still cause havoc. Downed trees, electrical outages and flooding are just a few of the things that happen around here when a hurricane comes to town.

My biggest concerns are our roof, which has a few years on it, and my beam amateur radio antenna (which is still unconnected and yes, I need to finish that and the series of posts I was writing on the process), which is subject to wind damage in very high winds. I'd also like to get my new WeatherFlow weather station installed, but that is subject to time, material availability and weather, the last of those being forecast to be stormy throughout the week.

More to come...

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Good advice

A acquaintence sent me some excellent advice today. It was a link to a YouTube video--this one:

Just shy of two years ago, I found myself in the position John Goodman discusses. My employer was being a complete dick, not only to me but to my entire staff. My house was paid for, I had money in the bank, no bills and income they apparently were unaware of. There was nothing I could do for my staff except tell them that it was all going to crap and the best thing they could do is find new position elsewhere. Then I told my employer "Fuck you" and walked. I did put it nicer than that, but I'm sure they got the message.

I haven't seen this movie, but my acquaintance has and thought I'd get a laugh out of it. And I did. I didn't realize at the time that I was doing exactly this, but I was. Art mirrors life.

The last two years have been two of the most excellent years in my life. Yes, there have been changes I don't care for, but on balance, it's worth the trade.

If you can do it, the most liberating thing you can do is put yourself in the position to say "Fuck you" to the whole, wide world.

Monday, August 27, 2018

So...I went to a gun show

Sunday my buddy Hort Guy and I went to the Greensboro Gun Show. I went for three reasons:
  1. I wanted some .300 Blackout subsonic ammo and my favorite local vendor was going to be there with their new ammo loaded on Hornady brass.
  2. I decided to try selling a pistol I no longer wanted to keep.
  3. I wanted to see what the prices were like, especially for the guns I want to part with.
Number 2 turned out to be easy enough--I sold it before I got into the show. I may have had it priced a little low, but I based it on what the same gun wasn't drawing bids for on GunBroker. At any rate, we were both happy, so I'm calling it a good deal.

Number 1 wasn't much harder, except carrying it around after the purchase. However, they were down to the last few boxes and I didn't want to miss out.

Number 3. There is a tale. I wasn't looking for ARs, but I can't help but look at them, and the prices were actually up just a bit from the last time I looked. Still, you can buy a nice AR, or even a really nice AR, for a song compared to when the Gun Salesman of the Decade was in office. I didn't see any "cheap" ARs, but there were plenty of receivers and parts to build up one if you would like.

The guns I want to sell, on the other hand, were a more difficult. For example, I could find only one post-64 Winchester Model 70 in any caliber. While it turned out to be the same caliber as mine, it was a beautiful Super Grade, which doesn't help me out much when trying to price my more pedestrian firearm. I suppose I'm going to have to do it the same way as I did the pistol I sold. I might miss out on a few bucks, but at least there will be room created in the safe.

The big surprise was what I found at the show that I wasn't expecting:

Judging from the number videos I can find, I may be the last person to find out about this, but that doesn't detract from the cool factor. The guy that was selling them had the perfect marketing pitch, at least for me--try out archery on the cheap. I took him up on it and bought a 54" recurve bow with a 22# pull. It's nothing fancy. Still the white PVC pipe color and a string made from paracord. The gentleman making them was kind enough to tell me that you simply spray paint them for the color you want, how to wrap the paracord for a grip and how to get a good starting length for arrows, which he suggested I buy at Walmart. He's serious about testing out archery on the cheap. He also had some nicer examples, but the $25 one will do me fine for now.

I've been interested in the subject of traditional archery for a good while. When I was a kid, I had a bow that my Dad made from a hickory branch and fishing line. I've even went as far as buying the 4 volumes of "The Traditional Bowyer's Bible", but a lack of good available wood plus some trepidation at trying my had at bow making kept me on the sidelines.

I'm sure a lot of purists would sniff and tell me "This isn't traditional archery." I'm OK with that. This is something where I can get the materials cheap and I have all the tools at hand. If you're brave enough and have the upper body strength, you can build an 80# longbow.

What d'ya want for nuthin---r-r-rubber biscuit?