Tuesday, October 09, 2018

A tiny step into renewable energy

No, I'm not going to go all "green" on you, even though I was turning off lights and changing out bulbs before it was cool. I'm cheap, and saving energy saves me money. Not running 125' of electrical circuit also saves me money; a rather substantial amount when you consider the cost of trenching, conduit and so on.

Let's set the scene: About 125' from my back door sits a 12'x14' extruded plastic outbuilding. I love the thing--no painting, just hit it with a pressure washer occasionally. We use it for storing the lawn tractor, various flammable liquid fuels, lawn tools and the like. It was put in the second year after we moved.

I didn't have any electricity ran to it, because dollar$. I can't see spending a weekend of my time and several $hundred just to have power out there on demand. The demand isn't there. It's a storage building. If I need power for a short-term project, I have many extension cords and a generator.

However, it would be handy on the odd occasion to have a little light, basically just enough to find things without holding a flashlight in my teeth. A while back I bought a solar shed light at Harbor Freight, similar to this one. It's sat on a shelf for some time, waiting for me to do something with it.

I finally did, after needing to put things up one night after dark and being annoyed about holding my flashlight in my teeth. To whit:

The "solar panel"

Light off

Light on. Note disconnected plug. Click to embiggen if necessary.
 Yes, I need to hit the building with a pressure washer. After Hurricane Michael passes, maybe.

Installation was simple, some screws and a 1/4" hole to pass the power cable through the building wall, which was sealed with silicone caulk. The panel doesn't get much direct sun, but it gets enough sun to keep things charged.

It isn't the brightest light in the world, and it won't run forever on a 600 mah AA ni-cad battery, but that's cool. It doesn't need to. But I do wish it would work without having to unplug the panel before switching it on. That's a bit annoying. Some other time when that annoys me enough I'll take it down and take a look into it. Given the building is Plan C in case a real need for a place to sleep shows up and the house (Plan A) and the camper (Plan B) are both out of commission for some reason, I'd probably better do that sooner than later.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Sorry, but politics must intrude for a bit

(Via the Woodpile Report and the Conservative Treehouse)

I hope everyone reading this is well and truly sick and tired of the fiasco that has been the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court.

I hope your sick of watching the show trial of Judge Kavanaugh and tired of listening to the sanctimonious lecturing from the thrones of the powerful which have been built of their own misdeeds.

I hope your tired of being told what you should think rather than being encouraged to think for yourselves.

Here are two links to let you know that there are people who are noticing and others like you who think as you do.

Prepare yourselves. It's coming, and it may arrive sooner than anyone thinks. Or it may arrive later. In the end, it won't matter the timing.

Because it will arrive, you may be certain of that.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Summer turns to fall

Falling behind, that is.

It's been a long, miserable summer here at the Freehold. While the temperatures have been warm, it's been the tropical levels of humidity that have caused trouble here at the Freehold and around my area. I really can't recall another summer that was as consistently humid as this one. It's been bad enough that I've had to limit my work hours outside. It got to the point that, no matter how much replacement fluid I poured into myself, my body couldn't process it as fast as I was sweating.

I suppose that at some age, you get the message you aren't 25 any more. Message received.

But we finally seem to be on the down side. Not that we're seeing fall weather; we aren't. But the conditions of the last week have been far less oppressive than they have been. This means that it's time to get to it and catch up on the outside work. There are bushes and trees to trim and all that will have to be burned. There is lawn to be created by a methodology that is yet uncertain. Firewood must be processed and next year's wood obtained. I really ought to wash the outside of the house and do the windows as well.

The list goes on. I have ham antennas that I still haven't put up. Not only will that cross a big item off my list, but it will allow me to finish the long dormant series of blog posts I was doing on the process. I need to put preservative on exposed wood around the house. I want to put some sort of gutter guards on the gutters that lack them. My utility trailer needs some love. The RV wants washed and waxed. The list seems endless, but it all has to get done.

Yeah, I'm whining a bit. But enough of that, time to get moving. As they say, winter is coming.

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 the group we call "the Deep State" views "the masses", which have more lately been  known collectively as "deplorables", as fodder for their cash cows.

Edit, 9/25/2018: Corrected an error in the final paragraph that made it clear as mud.

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?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Some budget cutting is a bad idea

Cutting the budget to fund the WWV family of radio time service stations is definitely a bad idea. These services are used by many consumers for such mundane tasks as setting clocks, but they fill a much larger national security need. The US military has finally figured out that satellite communications are a target of hostile foreign powers, and are rebuilding/expanding the old HF radio network that many thought were just "useless old tech".

There are two WhiteHouse.gov petitions active at the moment. If you want to keep these stations going, your signature on them will help send that message. You can access them here and here. Don't forget that after you sign, you'll get an email asking you to verify your signature. It won't hurt if you write your Congresscritters and the President, too.

What the hell happened to my home?

Last night, self-righteous Leftist brats pulled down the century-old statue of "Silent Sam", who honored the sacrifice of UNC students during the War Between the States, on the campus of UNC-CH. They were allowed to cover the statue and work behind that cover to bring it down. Police apparently sat on their hands until after the statue was on the ground. After that they moved in and covered the fallen statue with a tarp. They managed to make one arrest.

Based on the reactions by the chancellor and the governor, as well as the lack of action by the police, this smells like a planned action by the students and university leadership. The law said the statue could not be removed because of its historical significance, so the university simply stood back while a group of rioters tore it down. Now they can clean up the mess and hope it all goes away, and that their Leftist paradise, paid for by the taxpayers, can move forward into whatever glorious future they think is their due.

There are plenty of videos and photos circulating that can be used to identify many of those at the site. I believe there are also security cameras that were placed to monitor the statue. If the police want to find the miscreants, they can. I predict they won't unless forced to. The guilty will get off scot-free.
There should be a formal investigation of the leadership of the university and whether or not they played any part in this event. The university police should also face this investigation. If guilty parties are found, they should suffer the full legal consequences of their actions. Again, I predict this will not occur unless forced.

I was born and raised in North Carolina. I lived in Chapel Hill for a couple of years and in the area for nearly 4. I've always said it was like living in a different state. Apparently it's now like a different country.

I no longer recognize my home state, and unlike the old NC advertising jingle, I don't like calling North Carolina home anymore. I won't until the guilty are brought to justice.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Prepping for a civil war

Yes, we're going to talk about getting ready for a civil war. Not how to fight it, but how to survive it.

Let me make clear my reasoning. In the American Revolution, a Wikipedia article estimates are that a maximum of 65% of the population supported one side or the other. Other modern sources support those numbers. That means that roughly 1/3 of the population in the 13 Colonies wanted to just be left out of it altogether.

In the War Between the States, I can't find widely agreed on numbers in terms of support for either side. My own reading of history points to a substantial number of people who wanted to be left out of the war, although the reasons in this war were very different. I'm going to make an assumption that the percentage was probably similar to the Revolutionary War.

Despite all the talk in the media about how polarized the US is at this point in time, anecdotal evidence suggest that there is a large portion of the population who think both sides are full of it and would rather be left out of it. I'm going to assume that the number is going to be that 1/3 of the population.

Even if you would side with one side or another, leaving fighting out of it still means you need to survive the war in terms of day-to day needs, such as food, clothing and shelter. None of that goes away in a war, indeed, history shows that all of these become harder to obtain and protect when there's a war on.

So let's consider the things you might want to consider if things come down to actual fighting. I think we're far closer to it than many like to believe, so you need to get down to it.

If you're a prepper, I hope it's a safe guess that you have already stocked up on the "beans, bullets and bandages" part of the list. If you haven't, then you need to tend to those first, and there are a crapload of web sites and books to help you out. I'm not going into those things. You do your own homework there.

Civil war--not something that the average prepper has included in their plans, I'd wager. Let's look at a few things that you may have not considered.


Community is my top item. This isn't the "You need to have plenty of like-minded folks around if you expect to survive!" thing. Rather, this is a need for detailed knowledge of your community, both in terms of geographic layers ranging from your neighborhood, your town/city up to the level of your local area as well as some level of knowledge about the people who live there. In the War Between the States there are plenty of historical accounts of how the war split families and communities. Another such war will do the same. The last thing you want is to be living in a area where you don't know, at least in general terms, the political proclivities of your neighbors.

On the Internet, it seems everyone wears their politics on their sleeve. It isn't like that in the real world. For many reasons, many people understandably simply don't care to discuss their politics with anyone, or they limit it to family and close friends. There are too many examples of people losing their livelihood because of a poorly considered Facebook post, for example, for thinking people to ignore the dangers of publicly speaking out. This could cause some issues if it turns out your entire neighborhood has a very different set opinions than you when things get bad.

So how can you get a handle on what the wider community is thinking? You look for clues. It can be as simple as who flies a flag and what flag they are flying. During election seasons, what candidates yard signs blossom and in what yards/areas do you see them. Read the "letters to the editor" section of your local newspaper and see what people are saying. What sorts of things happen locally that really stir people'sfeelings? Research voting patterns and political contributions in your area. There are a lot of ways to get a feel for this kind of knowledge.

Also look at your community in terms of what stresses it's facing. This can range from exploding growth to exploding unemployment and the financial issues that brings. Both of these can lead to large changes in the nature of the area in a short time. Is a large employer closing, or are you one of the fortunate places where one is opening?

Look at the population distribution figures. What's the age makeup? How many single family households? Racial demographics? Income distribution? All of these things should be data points for your personal calculation of what you'll face if the balloon goes up.

Bugging Out

There are a lot of people who plan to bug out in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse. I'm not a big fan of it; seeing a lot of issues for most people in terms of practicality as well as in the logistics of the thing..These concerns will double or triple in the event of civil war.

That said, it could well come down to not having a choice. You may have to live in an area where your views don't fit due to job or family considerations, but it's where the jobs are. It could be that you're stuck somewhere because you can't get a decent price for the house you own now. Maybe you stay for family reasons, such as aging parents. But when the bullets and Molotov Cocktails start flying, your instinct is to say "Oh crap, we are so outta here!" But how and to where? How much of your stuff can you carry in a single load? Will you be welcome if and when you arrive?

While there are ways, cheap ways, to bug out with enough stuff to be pretty self-sufficient for a couple of months, the average refugee isn't going to be able to go home in a month or two--maybe not even in a year or two. You can't carry enough stuff for that situation with a 53' box trailer and a Kenworth.

"Oh, it's cool--we'll go to Uncle Harry and Aunt Flo's place! They live way out in the middle of nowhere so it'll be safe there. And we're family! They have to take us in!"

Is this the same Uncle Harry and Aunt Flo who blew a gasket when they saw the wrong politician's bumper sticker on your car? Or what if Uncle Harry and Aunt Flo have been forced to bug out themselves? How about the famous "We can only take care of ourselves," delivered over the barrel of a gun? Blood isn't necessarily thicker than water when the feces impact the air handler.

In short, anyone who don't have a remote location(s) really need to work on that. Bear in mind things like "I'll go to this little campground I know about" isn't going to work. It'll be you and a few hundred or thousand of your closest friends. Don't even go there.

Supplies, Care and Storage of

Let's say your ahead of me, and you have gotten the first two under control. You've looked over your supplies, and you feel you have plenty of beans, bullets and band-aids. Heck, you'll even be big enough to take in Uncle Harry and Aunt Flo if they show up.

But there's a flaw in your cunning plan. Let me throw out a couple of historical incidents that occurred here in the South during the War Between the States: Sherman's March to the Sea and Stoneman's Raid. There's a reason a lot of folks around here still bear a grudge toward the Union over 150 years after the fact. If you think things will be different this time, you're wrong. They'll likely be worse.

Our ancestors buried their food and valuables when they knew either of these two jackals were on the way. Of course, that didn't save things like houses and barns, or railroads and cities), but at least they had something to try and start over with, and something to eat while they did it.

Have you split up your supplies? Cached some away from your home? For that matter, do you have a few nearby places in mind where you could hide out for a few days, even if it was uncomfortable? No? Time to get moving.


I'm going to stop beating the horse here. Hopefully you see the kinds of questions you need to be asking yourself to ensure you can face this new problem..  You're still going to be doing the same sorts of prepping activities, but working to adapt to a new threat. You may also be doing some things you never planned on and working from a perspective you never considered.  Use your head, and use history as a guide. Ask questions and find the answers. Get out there and find those people who you'll be able to trust. Time may or may not be short, but all of this is doable.

Good luck. To all of us.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

In case you need a reminder

Yesterday there was a "Liberty or Death" rally in Seattle, organized by Washington 3 Percenters and Patriot Prayer. During this rally those groups were attacked by Leftist protesters and a number of folks were left injured.

Fortunately, this wasn't in Portland and the Seattle PD moved quickly to stop the fighting.

Arguments about the wisdom, or lack thereof. in attending these events aside, I hope you can see past the irony here and realize that the Left has made their choice when it comes to "Liberty or Death", at least when it comes to the Right/Conservatives/label of your choice.

They've chosen "Death".

This shouldn't surprise you, given the track record of leftist movements and governments throughout history.

If you haven't getting ready for a civil war, you're behind the curve. Time to catch up.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018


Just checking in. While there is much going on, both in the world, our country and my life, there isn't a thing that I honestly care to talk much about. I'm working on things around the house and watching entirely too many history, tool and how-to videos on YouTube. I don't know if it's the summer heat of the monotonous drumbeat of a society that seems hell-bent for destruction, but I feel nothing really merits much discussion at this point.

Mark my words, either later this even or tomorrow something will happen that prompts a post. It always does when I put up one of these "Not dead yet!" posts.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

This merits some celebration!

I'm not sure why, but I was moved to click on the link to the Home On the Range blog, which has resided in the "Absent Friends" section for quite a while after it was taken private. Guess what--it isn't private any longer! Good news, because Brigid has always been one of the best voices blogging.

The lies about lard

(Via the Woodpile Report)

Growing up, I remember both of my grandmothers cooking with lard. Biscuits, pie crusts, fried chicken--all of these things required lard. You know something I don't remember as a young kid? People with memory diseases like Alzheimer's. I remember one person out of all the ones I knew. He was a nice old guy, who could remember the first World War but not where he lived. Folks in my grandmother's very small town always made sure he got home safely.

It seems that lard, along with a lot of the other fats many of us of a certain age grew up with, got an undeservedly bad rep that is now being reviewed.

About damn time. Biscuits haven't tasted right in years.

Central Nervous System stop

(Via Gab)

Could you deliver a head shot, cold, under maximum stress, on demand? A Texas husband could and did. There is a reasonable chance his wife is alive because he could.

Texas: Intruders Hold Man's Wife at Gunpoint - Man Takes One Out With Headshot, Accomplice Flees

As Freedom Outpost points out, the recidivism rate of dead bad guys is zero. Hard wisdom there.

I was talking with someone over Facebook (when I still did Facebook) some time back, and we were talking about firearms practice. I pointed out that for years, my family has been shooting at 8" round steel plates at our range. When the discussion of Central Nervous System stops came up in relation to shooting terrorists came up, I made the comment that little did we know we had been practicing for just that scenario for years, never realizing that we were doing it.

Time to go practice it some more.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Saving a DeWalt lithium battery

Something that's guaranteed to jerk my chain is going to grab a battery powered tool and finding out that not only does it need charging, but that the battery won't take a charge. Tools with lithium batteries are the absolute worst for "Hey, you've only charged the battery 5 times, but it won't charge now and you need to spend $50 for a new battery."

I didn't like that particular BS when I was working and now that I've retired, I really don't like it. I'm not a piggy bank for DeWalt or aftermarket battery manufacturers. While a number of my tools are corded, I'm like everyone else--I prefer to work without the cords. Especially when you only need to drill one hole, it's just a lot less hassle in you life.

A project I've been putting off, because I knew it wasn't going to be even a little fun, was replacing the throttle cable on our 4 wheeler. It had been allowed to sit for longer than it's a good idea to let such things sit, and the throttle cable had seized. A basic inspection a while back had shown that the thing was routed by way of Albuquerque to get from the handlebars and the throttle body, so I had let it wait until I had no more excuses. Well, I'm now fresh out, so it was time to deal with it.

After considerable disassembly, much speculation on the intelligence of the designers and engineers and some swearing, I determined it wasn't the cable, but something in the throttle body itself that was the problem. After backing off the cable adjuster, I could get things to move, but it felt very...sticky. Some research on the Intertubz brought to light that the throttle plate can get gummed up and cause the problem.

OK, off to the auto parts store for throttle body cleaner. After I got home, I disassembled even more of the 4 wheeler, and found out that a double-jointed monkey couldn't get to a point where he could peer down the opening into the throttle body. Consulting my handy shop manual (You don't think I went into this blind, do you?) on the process for removing the throttle body, I decided that a root canal performed with a jackhammer and hot tongs would be preferable. So I went to get my DeWalt inspection camera.

An inspection camera is one of those tools you don't need a lot, but when you need it there is no substitute. This one has saved my bacon several times since I bought it. I expected the battery to be in need of charge, because I couldn't guess when it was last used. Sure enough it was dead, and when I slapped it in the charger, rather than the blinking red light, I got...

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Well crap, this is the only thing I have out of all my DeWalt tools that uses a 12v lithium battery. After this one and a 20v lithium DeWalt drill, I've sworn off the things, and started buying NiMh rebuild kits (and a couple of compatible DeWalt chargers) and rebuilding my old NiCad battery packs. The Li-ions are just too damn picky--especially if you work them hard and they are discharging fast. They'll turn themselves off and refuse to run. Thanks, but no.

Now the swearing started in earnest. I tried an inspection mirror, but no joy. There is no way to get the angle needed to see down the throat of the throttle body. Nothing for it but to price a replacement on Amazon and wait two days for Prime to drop it on my doorstep.

After a mild case of sticker shock for the DeWalt-branded battery, and briefly considering the no-names, I had this hair-brained idea--Is there was some way to fix this dead battery, even temprorarily?

Once again, the Intertubz provideth:

Of course, my situation was different, but as Gunny Highway said, "Improvise, overcome, adapt." I took a 12v NiMh and jumpered it to the dead Li-ion and waited a bit. When the jumpers were warm to the touch, I figured that we had transferred enough juice to give it a try. Guess what?

The little sucker is sitting on my workbench now, charging it's little heart out. I suppose I'm going to have to develop a habit of charging batteries on a semi-regular basis. Bloody inconvenient.

Edit, 7/25/2018: Just for the sake of completeness, the ATV problem was indeed a sticking throttle plate. It took 2 hours of disassembly to get to it and 4 tiny spritzes of cleaner to cure the problem. I don't know whether to laugh or set the thing on fire. I'll probably laugh.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Internet Censorship--Brother, can you spare a mimeo machine?

(Via SurvivalBlog)

As you may guess, I"m catching up on reading some of my blogroll. Rawles, it seems, has been on something of a roll of late. Then again, there's always a fair bit of interesting stuff on his blog.

I want to bring this piece of original content to your attention, where he writes about Internet censorship. You've read me bitching about Google, with who I have a grumble/hate relationship. Rawles goes considerably further in "The Internet Gulag: Demonetization, Demonization, and Deletion", covering a number of disturbing trends that have been going on for some time now--the demonitization of blogs and YouTube channels, the ongoing demonization of anyone who dares contradict Leftist orthodoxy and the outright deletion of content that offends the liberal and self-appointed keepers of the Intertubz.

The important information he provides is, in essence a call to be ready to respond to their overreach with a modern samizdat. I know I've brought this up, maybe here, definitely in other places, by urging people to rebuild the old FidoNet BBS system. While it's still around, it's nothing like it's old self, and it would be a great thing for it to begin rebuilding. There is also amateur packet radio, which is also still around but also not as big as it once was. These alternatives to the big, corporate-controlled avenues of communication could be vital alternatives if things go sideways.

Something more to think about as we wait for whatever it is slinking toward us.

Edit, 7/24/2018: Change to the title to make it flow better and sound more familiar.

Well this could be a little...chilling

(Via SurvivalBlog)

Not everyone donates to political candidates, but some of us do, at least from time to time. While this my by law be public record, did you ever expect that your name might show up on a web site for any nutjob with an ax to grind to see? Yes, in the holy name of "openness" we're going to let fruitcakes like Antifa, Mothers Against Whatever Michael Bloomberg Dislikes This Week or whatever gather intelligence and paint targets on people they don't approve of.

Something to consider before you write that check. Perhaps a good reason to have a legal trust that can do such things for you.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Wise words

The Woodpile Report #536 is out; has been sine July 3. As usual, Ol' Remus says it far better than I can. Please go read the opening portion of #536. You really should read it all, but the opening is incredibly important.

While the winds of change can still decide to blow in another direction, it doesn't seem like that is going to happen. We're due for Bad Times. If you aren't ready, you need to take as much advantage of the time we have left and get ready now.


Sunday, July 01, 2018

The Higher Education Racket

(Via the Drudge Report)

The headline of the Boston Globe article reads "Lawrence Bacow promises a more outward-looking Harvard". For those of you who have never been involved in higher ed, and a lot of us who have been, the the first thing that occurs to us is "Who the hell is Lawrence Bacow?"

He's the new president of Harvard. As such, he is at the top of the higher ed food chain. Harvard is one of the largest universities in the US in pretty much any category that actually matters--prestige, endowment, quality of students and so on. No, their football team never wins the Rose Bowl. Heck, they never even smell the roses. But in higher ed, while athletics may often be the tail that wags the academic dog, no academic thinks it actually matters. In reality, I agree with them. Any kid who goes to college to play a sport with the hopes of a further career as a pro athlete is a fool. Look up the stats.

Bacow isn't a fool. Sure, he's been in higher ed most of his career, but you don't get to be president of Harvard if you're a fool. He realizes that higher ed is facing challenges unlike any time in its history in the United States. The cost of attendance to any school past high school has been increasing at a rate far past inflation for years. Too many students are getting degrees that, after graduation, qualify them for work at Starbucks. Colleges and universities are seen as cesspools of far left politics. All in all, higher ed has a big image problem, and it's getting worse by the semester. The public's perception of of higher ed as a whole is only somewhat ahead of Congress and the media.

Having worked in higher ed, I can tell you a lot of this is absolutely true. While I miss my old job, there are a lot of things about it I don't miss.

  • I don't miss trying to explain to parents why their kid ought to come to college when I didn't send both of my kids to college and firmly believe that not all kids need to go to a four year school.
  • I don't miss watching the cost of attendance ratchet up at a stupefying rate as schools try to outdo each other with facilities that look more like luxury vacation get-aways rather than college campuses. My house isn't as nice as some residence halls I've seen. 
  • I don't miss watching students signing away years of their lives on the dotted lines of student loan forms. Most of them barely understand the concept of borrowing money, let alone the scale of what they're borrowing. Add to that the methodology of calculating how much they're allowed to borrow, which is too complex to go into here, and they wind up with far more than they really should be allowed to borrow. At the beginning of every semester, the new tats, smart phones, TVs, laptops and so one, paid for by that excess borrowed money, boggle the mind.
  • I don't miss watching majors such as sports medicine, art, sports management, religion, communications, religious music and so on being filled up with students attending on borrowed money. The majority of these kids will face three employment futures. They will either A) Never work in the field they're educated in; B) Work in it and face a life of being chronically under-paid and under-employed or C) Both A and B. The world only needs so many of these folks, and the bitty school I worked at graduated enough by itself for the entire eastern half of the US. But they all still have to pay back those student loans, so penury becomes a way of life.
  • That "cesspool of liberalism" thing. Great Bleeding Ghu. Scratch an academic and 97-98 times out of 100, you'll find a socialist or a communist. As a staff member, I got pretty good at biting my tongue. It was that or get fired.
As a college grad, I can tell you that my college experience has paid off for me tremendously. My degree and what I learned lifted me from my blue collar beginnings into the middle class, white collar world. Having lived in both, trust me when I tell you the middle class one is much more pleasant. Mrs. Freeholder has a less dramatic experience, but she tends to agree with the basic sentiment.

As the parent of two recent college age kids, the experience is far different. Higher ed and it's BA/BS degree is becoming the equivalent of the high school diploma of my youth. I feel a large part of that is because our education system, from elementary to college, is not teaching as much at any given level. There were too many times that I saw papers written by students--and I mean juniors and seniors--at my former employer that would have earned a big fat red F in one of my high school English classes. I will guarantee these kids got a C and pushed along toward graduation.

My kids also demonstrate something else I've noticed. Daughter graduated from a well-thought of university with a BA in business. She struggled for 4 years to find a job in her field, went back for a masters degree and still really hasn't found one that's up to her skills and abilities, though she has found something that pays well enough for her to move out of the house. (Yay!)

Son went to the local community college and got an AAS in welding, along with 8 certificates in various aspects of the trade. He had a job lined up when he graduated. He's been working there about 18 months. He moved out before his sister, and on the average week makes at least 25% more than she does. Obviously it's hot, dirty work, but he likes it. His total education cost somewhat less than one year of Daughter's.

You tell me--which kid benefited more from their education, especially in terms of bang for the buck?

I'm not the only parent noticing this sort of thing. Parents across the country are demanding that colleges and universities prove the value proposition of their product. Even Daughter's university made a big point in 2009 when she started that they realized that it was expensive to send a child to school there and their goal was to see their students graduate in 4 years, and they were serious about it. Daughter did it in 4 years and two summer sessions, the summer session caused by a change in major.

The Globe article notes that many smaller schools are "struggling to remain open." That's putting it mildly. Unless they're blessed with a large endowment (say mid-hundreds of $millions) small schools are fighting for their lives. My former employer has been one disaster away from closing for years, and remains one disaster away from closing. In the higher ed press, it's an acknowledged fact that within 10 years, at least 15% of small, rural, private liberal arts schools will be closed. I suspect it will be worse than that.

This will not be confined to small schools, rural schools, private schools or liberal arts schools. The Globe article also notes that "Public universities also saw their second straight year of declining revenue growth...." I know that in the University of North Carolina system, there are at least 2 campuses that are in danger of failing for lack of students. I imagine other large public university systems face similar circumstances. Public university and community college systems are also facing declining taxpayer support at the state level in many states. Several NC community colleges have successfully turned to their local governments and gotten 1/4 cent sales tax levies passed to help with funding issues.

Finally, there is, what from the point of view of many, is the political indoctrination aspect of higher education. From Harvard and UC-Berkeley to Evergreen State, our colleges and universities seem to have become more institutions where our young are taught what to think rather than how to think. Again, from personal experience as both a university staff member and a parent who had kids in higher ed, I can attest that, in my experience, this is true. Only the strong teachings we bestowed on our children before sending them off into these dens of vipers allowed them to emerge without being assimilated by the Academic Borg.

President Bacow may have his heart in the right place, but I have to wonder if he is compromised from the outset. He may also be simply biting off more than he can chew. Time will tell--and given the current state of things in this country, time is the one resource he may not have much of.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Unwanted guests

If you've ever made the mistake of trying to explain to people why they should be ready for emergencies, especially long duration emergencies, you've gotten what I think of as "The Line":

"Oh, I'll just come stay with you!"

To which my answer has often been "Looters are going to be shot on sight," delivered utterly deadpan. That tends to shut the conversation down rather quickly, which at that point is my intention, because I figure they're not taking it seriously anyway.

There are those who are a bit more charitable by nature, or who find themselves in a position where they can be more charitable. On SurvivalBlog, one such has written a well thought-out piece on how they plan on handling the situation.

Personally, I doubt they'll ever need to put it into action, other than sending their messages. The people they're aiming it at will be stuck in the outbound traffic, so it will all be moot.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Something that isn't politics

(Via Gab)

It's simply made of awesome.

Since we told cable TV to take a hike, I've been watching all sorts of things (at the moment, I'm binge watching McHale's Navy) and one of my favorites has become YouTube. Yeah, it's an arm of Google. Can't help that, it's where all the videos are.

The video below has turned me on to a whole subculture (correct term?) of Russian craft/maker videos. These folks are doing some amazing work, and this was the gateway project for me. I get this feeling that my whole downsizing concept may be screwed. This looks like too much fun to ignore.

Data points...we've got data points

(Links from Drudge and elsewhere)

Dammit, politics again.

Democrats encourage violence against supporters of President Trump.

SCOTUS upholds the travel ban that named several majority Muslim countries, the New York Times has a major temper tantrum.

Public sector unions lose the ability to force non-member employees to pay them partial dues, American democracy ends.

SCOTUS Justice Anthony Kennedy announces his retirement, Leftists lose their minds.

Are you seeing a pattern here? For every setback suffered, the Left goes into paroxysms of hate and threatens to take action. Look back to Inauguration Day, and they've steadily been getting worse in terms of threats of violence and threats of violence, especially from elected officials.

"We shall protest in DC, we shall demonstrate on the streets and the boulevards, we shall fling poo with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our safe spaces, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the park benches, we shall fight on the concert stages, we shall fight in the parks and in the streets, we shall fight in the restaurants; we shall never surrender..."

Yeah, if we could on snark at them until they gave up and went back to their parents' basements. Unfortunately, that doesn't look like it's going to happen. This time, they want a real fight, and this time, our side seems more than willing to oblige them.

Watch for the data points. They're pointing to something that can't be defined with certainty just yet. But don't wait too long to do what you need to do to be ready for the worst.  I'm not a big believer in polls, but I don't disbelieve in them either. A lot of our fellows are worried. Scared comes after that, and scared people can do stupid things. Stupid things can cause all sorts of unexpected problems.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Home invasions get worse

I'm sure some of you are thinking "Someone or a group of people has just busted through the door--how is this going to get worse?" Well, how about when the invaders torture you for information on where you've stashed your goodies, and when you don't have information that mollifies them, they torture your kid.

Up next on the ladder of escalation: family murdered when they don't have enough goodies to satisfy the invaders.

Items for you to consider: Firearms and training (obviously), driveway alarms, burglar alarms with panic buttons/central monitoring/voice response, hardened doors and door frames, shatter-resistant film for easily accessible windows, external and internal camera systems with smart phone apps and recording capabilities and safe rooms. You can do an Internet search on any of these terms and get yourself started.

Don't think that you live in a safe neighborhood or that living in the country is going to protect you from this sort of thing. It won't. If it isn't crooks, it might be political opponents, or some random idiot from the Intertubz.

We used to discuss why you would want to be armed at home. Now the discussion is rapidly becoming where and how many guns and magazines to stage around your home.

Monday, June 25, 2018

SPLC, thy name is LOSE

It seems the Southern Poverty Law Center (which is none of those things) has lost a court case to a former Islamic radical that it slandered--to the tune of $3.375 million.

That ought to put at least a little ding in their operations. I just hope it encourages others to sue them as well.

"They're coming for you next."

(Via Breitbart)

Once again, even though I'm trying not to do a lot of politics on the blog, I have to go there. The weekend's events involving Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Maxine Waters and a cast of Leftist Loons has brought us to the intersection of a number of things that are of concern to me and I believe of those of you who stop by here from time to time.

I've referenced talk about a brewing civil war in our country more than once, and I remain amazed that we didn't have a big outbreak of rioting last summer in light of the election of Donald Trump and the overwrought theatrics of the Resistance crowd and the more dangerous actions of the so-called Antifa. Given the events of this weekend, I have to wonder if we'll manage to skate through this summer without major problems. We'll just have to wait and see.

But this weekend's worth of calls that seek to cast supporters of Donald Trump as "the other" ought to scare the crap out of anyone with enough intelligence to come inside out of the rain. This is the same thing that was done in, dare I say it, Nazi Germany against the Jews. A group needs to be made the focus of all the anger and the hate--they need to be made "the other". The Left has tried it with little success against gun owners over the last several decades. Since that hasn't worked, but more importantly, since their utter rage has left them not in control of their limited faculties, they are now trying it with a larger and more diverse group, supporters of Donald Trump. The popular name for this is "Trump Derangement Syndrome", but I think that cute name really misses the true danger of the situation.

If they keep this up, or Lord help us, if they ratchet up not only the screaming but start taking actual physical actions against Trump supporters, THIS WILL NOT END WELL. It can't, not this time. Face it, a lot of Trump supporters happen to be Second Amendment advocates, and I'd wager a lot of them have concealed carry permits and go armed. Put some of them into situations where they are in fear for their lives or the lives of those under their care, and there will probably be gunfire. Somewhere in that vicinity, the feces will impact the air impeller and It Will Be On. The 24 Hour News Machine will blow any incident totally out of proportion within 30 minutes and as one of my favorite movie lines goes, "This business will get out of control. This business will get out of control  and we'll be lucky to live through it."

I believe the diversity of Trump supporters also brings an element of danger to this that is underappreciated. While there are certain large groups that are mostly behind Trump, you can find his supporters spread across every demographic you'd care to name. There are Trump supporters in double digits in every minority, age group, labor skill and locality. While it may only be in the teens or it may be 90%+, they're out there. The same goes for those who oppose Trump. With this sort of divide, neither side can safely assume that they can act with impunity anywhere, but both sides will be foolish enough to do so. This will cause further problems.

Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) has a long but good video on this subject. As someone who is generally apolitical, I find his take on the subject highly interesting. I have to wonder if the fence sitters are beginning to decide that they are going to have to join one side or the other. This is a behavior often seen before large social dislocations begin in earnest, and would be another sign of Bad Things to come.

No one can say for certain what is coming. I think the signs aren't promising, but they haven't been promising before and things have quieted down and worked out more or less OK. I'm really going to be watching this carefully and staying alert for signs of airborne feces. I suggest that you do the same.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Blogger strikes again

Yes, I know, I really ought to get off Blogger. I'm guilty of taking the path of least resistance here, but I suppose I'm going to have to give it more consideration, and sooner rather than later. Because this place just keeps getting better and better. Every. Time. I. Turn. Around.

Normally, Blogger will send me an email when I have a comment awaiting moderation. At some point, something fritzed, and by sheer accident I just found 7 comments, some over 30 days old, awaiting moderation. Merde.

They're all now moderated and posted. On behalf of the Google behemoth, you have a sincere "We don't care, we don't have to; you're the product and we give you this crap for free, so what do you want?" On my part, sorry about that.

As for me, I'm going to see if a setting got untwiddled. If that isn't it, I'll simply have to remember to look every couple of days for comments.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Home invasions

I don't want to belabor this subject too much; I know we've gone over it before. However, this one happened in a nearby small city, so it has perked up my situational awareness antennae just a tad.

High Point man charged with attempted murder in connection with home invasion

The fact that there was a home invasion in that particular small city doesn't surprise me; the place has been know for violence since before World War II. My Dad was stationed for a short time in another nearby city and they weren't allowed to go there as it was "off limits". The common name for the place? "Little Chicago".

Here's the part that I want to draw your attention to, good and hard:

"Witnesses told police that five armed men forced their way into the home and began shooting."

Five dudes came crashing in and started shooting. No warning and no "Give us the money" or "Give us the drugs." Sure, there is obviously more than they decided they wanted to shoot someone, but here's the thing--are you ready for 5 guys, or 5 women, or 5 irate raccoons for that matter, to come busting through your door, shooting or not? What gun do you have handy right now? How many rounds does it have in it? Got a spare mag or three? Better yet, got an AR handy?

How about the doors? Have you hardened them, even a little, so they won't open at the first kick? Do you keep your cell phone handy? Got a plan in place with the wife and any kids for this situation? Or do you plan on winging it? Feel free to groan, but "Failing to plan is planing to fail."

Yeah, so much for not belaboring the subject. Sorry, but it's starting to get weirder by the day out there, and we're going to have to be ready to deal with it.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Just a couple of points

Armed bystander shoots, kills gunman in Walmart parking lot.

Point #1: You are your own first responder.

Point #2: It isn't fireworks or balloons popping. It's gunfire and you need to react according, NOW. Better to be embarrassed than dead.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The rest of the story

(With apologies to the late Paul Harvey for stealing his famous tag line.)

A few posts ago I did a little thing about how the excellent equipment of a fishing boat made the rescue of the crew nearly a non-event in the annals of search and rescue. Now we have a new article with details on the mechanics of the rescue from someone who took part in it. At least for me it's a really interesting story which raises some interesting questions about just how did the crew of the Aunt T wind up needing rescue in the first place.

More later if I happen to see it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

When things don't go quite the way you thought they'd go

I'm not sure whether I feel sorry for these sanctimonious turd burglars because they're being taken advantage of by unscrupulous adults who don't give a tinker's damn about them or if I'm simply laughing at their utter blindness to how the world really works. Either way, they're giving The Gun Salesman of the Year, 2008-2016 a run for his money. Keep it up, kids. One of these days you're going to look back at this episode in your life and go "Oh God, that was me!"

And the Internet will never let you forget it.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The top X items that will disappear from the shelves when something horrible happens

So how many lists have you seen along the lines of that title? Five, 6, a dozen? 50 items, 100 items--crap, if something bad enough happens the shelves in every store of any description are going to be stripped as bare as, well, pretty doggone bare. If you don't believe me, get on YouTube on look for the videos of people stripping grocery stores ahead of snowstorms or hurricanes. These are events that we know are relatively localized and where outside help will be coming, at some point at any rate.

Imagine what your local Big Box Mart is going to look like within a few hours of Whatever Big Event Makes Everyone Realize We're Screwed. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near the thing myself.

But these lists can serve a purpose, and that is to help your thinking about things you may have missed. Yes, you're supposed to have lists of lists and all that, but how many of us actually do that? I'll admit I haven't. I should, but there is always something that--squirrel!

I've had a few tabs open for weeks, and this list of 72 items is one of them. I left it because it's one of the ones that seem to have some small amount of thought in it. However, in the interest of helping you preserve your capital for the important stuff and give you even more to mentally chew on, I'm going to fisk this thing.

  • Bottled Water: Don't buy it, store it. Use old soft drink bottles or 55 gallon food grade blue drums (or better, both) and store the stuff out of your tap. Have at least two ways on hand to re-purify the stuff when you need to tap into the supply. If you use the barrels, you're going to need a pump (two is better) or keep them in racks and then have taps for them.
  • Cooking oils, powdered milk and all storable foods: Nothing wrong with any of this, but for heaven's sake, store what you eat, eat what you store and don't store more than you can eat before it goes off.
  • Jerky: Only if you make your own. I've seen good steak that costs less per pound.
  • First Aid Kits: No, no and no. Get advice from someone like Patriot Nurse or Doc Bones and Nurse Amy and build your own. The pre-made kits are usually junk.
  • Wines and Liquors: I wouldn't. While they may make good barter goods, you don't need the temptation and that particular sort of barter good makes you a really tempting target while not doing you a lot of good if you can't barter it. If you want to make tinctures, store Everclear or high-proof vodka and skip the rest.
  • Tobacco products: Ditto.
  • Gas Masks: Please, put the money into N95 masks instead. At least you may find those useful. If you really need gas masks, you'll probably going to die anyway. Seriously.
  • Construction Supplies: They mention a lot of things, but not nails, screws, nuts, bolts and so on. Without them, the rest will be somewhat difficult to use.
  • Clothing: Again, they mention certain kinds of clothing, but you're going to be wearing out and using up all kinds of clothing. You're going to want a deep closet if whatever the Big Problem is lasts for a long while.
  • Candles: Only if you have no other choice, and this goes for any sort of fuel burning light generating device. Why? Because you can burn down your house, and there will be no fire department to call if you have an oops. Learn ways to make light without flames. Solar landscape lights are great for this. Stock up on extra ni-cad batteries in the appropriate sizes for when the originals wear out.
  • Insulation: A big roll or two of bubble wrap will be handy. Stick it to windows for extra insulation in cold weather, peel it off and save it for re-use when it warms up.
  • Bicycles: Darn skippy! Mountain bikes or similar will be best, because the roads won't last forever. In my book these will be a better option than horses for a long time.
  • Generators: Only useful until the fuel runs out. Bear that in mind. This also goes for any fuel-powered vehicle or tool. Consider how you'll be cutting wood when you run out of gas for the chain saw. (Or you run out of bar oil, or the last chain runs out, etc.)
  • Firewood: One of my three biggest security items. I like to have 3-4 years worth cut, split and under cover. If things go bad, you might not have time to deal with wood for a year or two.
  • Solar power: I'd only do it on a small scale in order to keep communications gear, minimal lighting, minimal refrigeration etc. available. Buy good parts, such as panels and batteries, and spares of everything--there may well be no resupply in your lifetime.
  • Gold and Silver: Only if you are so squared away on everything else you can do it without shorting other things.
  • Motorcycles: See Generators and Bicycles.
  • A grain grinder (grain mill): Definitely get one of these as soon as you start storing whole grains. You have to have a way to process those grains.
I hope between Sevenpod and me we've given you more than enough to get your juices flowing. And have fun with it, because if this isn't enjoyable for you, you won't be able to make it a lifestyle.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Again, we remember

While those few that remain are still young in their memories, and many who were were once young will forever remain so, those of us who came after once again remember and commemorate the sacrifices made on this day in 1944 when the Allied Armies invaded Festung Europa. Less than one year later, Adolph Hitler lay dead in the burning remains of Berlin and for one glorious second, Europe was free. Men like these paid the butcher's bill for that, and they deserve nothing less than our everlasting gratitude and remembrance.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

What we have here...

Is an amazing lack of situational awareness. Along with some amazing stupidity.

The swarm of teenagers milling around the Village at Sandhill on Saturday evening was "alarming," but Monica Elkins-Johnson continued into Blue Fin Seafood Restaurant and Bar to meet a friend for dinner.

However, dinner was interrupted when the area outside the businesses erupted into chaos.

"I saw a huge amount of students just running," said Elkins-Johnson, who is a member of the Richland 2school board. "They were running from the back of the movie theater to Blue Fin. They were running across the street, jumping over cars, running into cars."

Minutes later, teenagers began fighting in front of Elkins-Johnson, who was sitting on the restaurant's patio. That's when the educator of more than 20 years jumped into action to try to break up the fight. A server at the restaurant jumped over the patio railing to help, Elkins-Johnson said.

Just briefly, let's run down the list:

  1. "Swarm" of teenagers
  2. Ignored a feeling of alarm
  3. Saw people running, apparently sat waiting to see what was happening
  4. Jumped into the middle of a riot
Numbers 1 and 2 should have led to her saying to herself "Self, I think we'll be eating elsewhere tonight." Number 3 should have led to her dropping more than enough cash on the table to cover the food and a tip and de-assing the AO immediately by the nearest exit that took her in the opposite direction. Number 4 is just stupid--you get hurt or killed pulling dumb stunts like that.

But the money quote is this, from Elkins-Johnson herself.

"You don't run to fights; you run away from fights," she recalled telling them. "A bullet does not have a name on it."

She really should take her own advice.

Do you blog? Have a Facebook account?

Then the Department of Homeland Security is probably going to be creeping on you.

I suppose I should apologize for all those times I made light of the concerns of those who said something about "being on the list". Then again, for me, what's one more list? DHS, welcome to The Freehold. You already know who I really am, so wave when you drive by the house. :-)

Friday, June 01, 2018

"Their safety equipment took the search out of search and rescue."

We preppers sometimes let ourselves go down the garden path thinking that prepping is about big emergencies like hurricanes or economic collapse. But stories like this one, about 3 guys who were rescued from a sinking fishing boat by the US Coast Guard in just over 90 minutes, should drive home the need to be prepared when ever we go out--or for that matter are just walking around our own yard. Sure, we can say "Hey they were out on the ocean, of course they should take all the precautions,", but you'd be amazed at how often you will need things "out of the ordinary" as you go through your daily routine.

Let me give you one to think about. It hasn't happened to me, but it's something that I've had to consider. I'm not going to sit around the house all day until someone comes home so I can do the "dangerous" stuff where having someone around would be a good safety precaution. Take running a chain saw for instance. Even with appropriate safety gear, a chain saw is a dangerous tool. You can quite easily amputate a limb.

So there you are, looking stupidly at the bleeding stump. You have a cell phone, but you're going to bleed out before the ambulance gets there. Not, however, if you can keep your head (admittedly difficult) and you have a tourniquet on you. You can, with just a little practice, put a CAT or SWAT tourniquet on yourself with one hand. It's called self-rescue. If you work with dangerous tools or carry a gun, it's one of those things you should practice.

Because at its root, prepping is about saving your life. And the lives of your fishing buddies on a dark night on the ocean, along with surviving other bad days.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Upgrades for your AR

(Via The Woodpile Report)

Practical AR Enhancements That Work

From practical experience, I can endorse reliability enhancements I, II and IV. I feel that III is to some extent a matter of personal choice once the lubricant is of sufficient quality to make the gun run.

As far as the accuracy enhancements, I'll support I with the caveat of "If you use an optic." I can make an argument for Joe Average not having an optic on his SHTF gun that goes along the lines of "normally will have insufficient training for effective use". I don't support II unless your AR is for competition. I'll have to take their word on III. I unfortunately don't get any opportunity for night shooting.

Low budget wind turbines

(Via Gab)

So the world has gone all Mad Max on you and you need to make some energy. You didn't stock up on solar panels, you don't have access to a stream suitable for micro-hydro (Who does?) and wind turbines were out of your budget before everything went to hell.

Could you scrounge up some blue barrels and plumbing pipe?

Be sure to catch Part 2 on Youtube, where he adds the actual power production, as well as the bigger 6 barrel version (before the gun grabbers think it's a firearm and start trying to ban it). Hackaday also has a lot of other interesting stuff scattered about if you have the time to go down that particular rabbit hole.

The comments on the videos are full of suggestions for improvements, plus the usual BS YouTube idiots.


Simply and succinctly, owned.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Friday, May 25, 2018

Reason #4,237 why we go armed in public

(Via the Drudge Report)

18-year-old wants-to-be-famous bad guy walks into a restaurant and shoots a mom and her daughter who are celebrating a birthday. On his way out the door, an armed citizen drops him, ending the problem permanently.

Thus endeth the lesson.

The inversion continues

I have tried to keep off of politics on the blog lately, with the exception of the gun thing, which I'll never lay off of. But reading this John Nolte piece on "How Donald Trump Killed Off the 1960s" just made that bell in my head go "DING!"

When you stop and consider it, the world really has turned itself upside down in many ways. No matter what theory of history, if any, you subscribe to, it's an interesting time to be alive.

Personally, I'd rather it was boring as hell, but that doesn't seem to be an option. Maybe it never has been.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

That statement, attributed to Rahm Emanuel, mayor of the gun-controlled paradise of Chicago, takes on new meaning in light of the news that Obama-ear Education Secretary Arne Duncan was emailing Emanuel for advice on pushing the gun ban agenda in the days following the Sandy Hook school shooting--literally before the victims funerals.

There's a reason we call it "dancing in the blood of the victims".

Sunday, May 20, 2018

As Michael Bane has said so many times, "The mask is off."

Okay, Now I Actually Do Want To Take Your Guns

This is what many/most/99% of anti-gunners want, and why even hypothetical discussions of alternatives run into brick walls on both sides.

Not as if it's a surprise, I guess. But I always have this foolish and unreasoning hope that humanity should be better than it apparently capable of being. Too much Star Trek as a kid, I suppose.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Yes, Virginia, you do need a gun

(Via The Woodpile Report)

Not that most of the people who stop by here need to be convinced of that fact. As we all know, you need several. And magazines. Ammo. Spare parts. Ammo. Training. Ammo. Friends with guns. Ammo--have I mentioned ammo? You need plenty of ammo.

Kurt Schlichter has a piece on Town Hall pointing out that if you don't have an "assault rifle" then you really need to get yourself to the nearest gun show or real gun shop and get yourself one, because the day may be coming where you need it.

Nothing to argue with there.

However, what I find most interesting is this. Read this carefully and then we'll do the math. Schlichter was in Los Angles for the Rodney King riots as an Army 2LT. He has this piece of wisdom from that event.

Being the new officer in the unit, I got put with the battalion commander as his assistant S3 (operations officer) so he could observe me and decide if I was worthy of getting a company command (I eventually got two). I went everywhere in his hummer because our troops were everywhere. And I was hugged by the residents because we brought safety to their neighborhoods – something they had not had even before the riots. All it took was two divisions, about six combat brigades, of soldiers and a bunch of Marines to pacify just one part of one city.

The Army currently has 58 active and reserve brigade combat teams. Again, do the math. The military will do its best, but the cavalry is almost certainly not coming.

So it took six brigades and some Marines. Let's call it 7 brigades to bring those riots under control. So if all of Los Angles had decided to go apeshit, it could in theory take the entire US Army's active and reserve combat force to bring it under control. If there are problems in Dallas, or Atlanta, or Charlotte, or insert the name of your least favorite big city here, well, they better hope there are a lot of Marines with nothing to do. After that, you're looking at the Navy, the Air Force and the Coast Guard, and the last I looked they're a little light on combat brigades.

We're not even going into the facts that our military is spread all over the world and it takes time to spin reserve components up to combat readiness.

You might want to add some more ammo to that buying trip.

The End of the World as We Know It will not be what we think it will be

(Via The Woodpile Report)

From a guy who has been there and collected most if not all of the "been there, done that" t-shirts, the 5 Deadly Mistakes Preppers Are Making.

Number 2 ought to sound rather familiar to anyone who has undergone formal self defense training.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Will this "Make You Go Hm-m-m"?

Jon Stokes claims to be a "gun industry insider", and claims he goes to church on Sunday with his 9 mm tucked inside his fanciest jeans. A quick Intertubz search tells me the first is rather a stretch and totally fails to confirm the rest. However, he's written a thought piece that should be given a read: A Gun Nut’s Guide to Gun Control That Works

Now, stop yelling. Yes, it's on Politico, so that's Strike One. Yes, he says "gun control", so there's Strike Two. Yes, when you read it and he goes on and on AND ON about those uber-deadly semi-automatic rifles and it becomes painfully obvious that the guy's never been to a SASS match in his life and seen what people can do with lever actions, well, that's Strike Three, and in any normal baseball game he's out.

We, my friends, are not in any normal baseball game. He points that out, although I believe he overstates his case. And while we appear to have once again beaten back our enemies this time; as has been often pointed out, we have to win every time and they only have to win once.

He's correct when he points out that "Our side faces a potent new enemy in the form of private-sector companies like REI, Delta Airlines, Citibank, YouTube and Reddit, which are taking an increasingly anti-gun stance." Add to that Bank of America, Yeti, Enterprise Holdings, Hertz, TrueCar, Walmart, Kroger, LL Bean and the list goes on. There are a lot of private companies out there who have not been against us before who are against us now. This does not bode well for us, at least at the moment. At best, we have some significant damage control to do. At worst, we've taken a significant hit that we won't recover from.

If it's the latter, then we had better consider a Plan B, because our traditional Plan A, otherwise known as "Because Fuck You!" isn't going to work so well for us.

While his proposal for a federal license for semi-auto long guns isn't something I can support, it might be something we could work from. Just for fun, what if they tossed in all NFA items plus national concealed carry reciprocity in addition to his proposal, then what would you think of it? A sort of one-stop license for all of it. Maybe we have to cough up semi-auto pistols to keep the other side happy. (Remember Jerry Miculek--we aren't giving up much).

Yeah, it gets a little harder to say "Hell No!" and be all Second Amendment Absolutist when the Giggle Switch comes into play, doesn't it?

Just sayin'.

But why would a business owner need to carry a gun?

When you're a part of a group that is being targeted for robbery and murder, it's an entirely reasonable reaction.

Chinese-American business owners in the Triangle area of North Carolina are tired of being unarmed targets, and they're doing something about it. They've formed the North Carolina Chinese Hunting Club (OK, the name's a little unfortunate) and they're learning how to shoot back.

Welcome to America, folks. I hope you enjoy your freedom to protect yourselves.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Time to ridicule the anti-gunners and anti-gun politicians

(Via the Drudge Report)

Yes, I know, this is something you'd never expect to see here. Ahem.

The weekend just past saw a gun show in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal except for the hard core anti-gun crowd, but OMG Parkland. How dare these terrible people have a gun show anywhere within 200,000 miles of these poor, traumatized children.

What a load of chicken feces. I have to wonder about the parents of the dead kids and the parents of the ones who are being used as shills. What the hell are they thinking? You're going to allow the memory of your kid to be used like this to advance the viewpoint of people who don't give a tinker's damn about you? You're allowing your kid to be paraded around and used as a meat puppet to spew out the opinions of the same cynical groups? Great Bleeding Ghu.

Deep breath...10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Exhale. OK. Blood pressure is out of the stroke zone.

Of course, said gun show went off without a hitch. None of the evil guns jumped up and shot anyone and no gun show loop holes were seen to be waving signs saying "Criminals! Buy guns here!" Blood still stubbornly refused to flow in the aisles as the crowd refused to start shooting over slights real or imagined. Funny how that works.

But for the Fort Lauderdale city commissioners, none of that is good enough. They want the gun show gone. For the families.

“I fully respect the right of people to own guns,” Mayor Dean Trantalis said on Saturday. “I just don’t feel we should have a gun show in the middle of Holiday Park, a playground where children play soccer, volleyball and baseball.”

So the mayor respects your right to own a gun, he just wants to make it more difficult for you to buy one. Because 7 weekends a year, reasons. OK, got that.

Fortunately, Mr. Mayor doesn't know when to shut up. Pro Tip: Politicians, learn when to shut up--it's a job skill.

On Saturday, Trantalis was stunned to hear that families were bringing children to the gun show, where firearms of all types were for sale, from tiny pistols to AR-15s like the semi-automatic rifle used in the Parkland shooting.

“Wow,” Trantalis said. “What can I say. I don’t know how to respond to that.”

Well, Mr. Mayor, your best move would have been to shut that gaping stupidity dispenser in the middle of your face. Failing that, you could have fallen back on your earlier “I fully respect the right of people to own guns.” Luckily for us, you let your true feelings came out. You're a liar--you no more support the Second Amendment than City Commissioner Heather Moraitis, who tweeted:

“When our contract ends this fall with Gun Show, I hope we never see the words Fort Lauderdale-Gun Show-War Memorial again. It’s time to think about different programming options at War Memorial in the heart of our city.”

The elected elite in Greensboro, NC recently tried this crap with the Greensboro Gun and Knife Show. The immediate blow back from the local gunnies shut that down fast. Here's hoping the Fort Lauderdale gunnies let their elected "betters" know that the way out the door will be paved with an attempt to close their local gun show.

Get up on your hind legs and fight, people. The other side isn't going to go away. There is no slacking off. The battle is every day, from now until forever.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

But for the grace of God, there go I

(Via the Drudge Report)

Over the years I've been blogging, I've written about finance, both macro and micro. I've also written about prepping in all manner of situations, including as you age. This combines both of those themes.

The story is of a man who once walked the corridors of power, and who now walks the streets. I don't really know anything about the people he worked with and for except Rudy Giuliani, and I only know the least bit about him to be honest. Perhaps this man is reaping what he sowed, perhaps he is the victim of his own poor choices and perhaps he is simply one more unfortunate person living a life of quiet desperation, waiting for salvation or the end.

For our purposes, he is probably deserving of a word of prayer if you tend toward such, and some consideration in light of your own circumstances no matter how you tend. I can tell you from personal experience that it is very easy to go from being on top of the world to on top of the trash heap, and it can happen all too quickly. You should devote some of your planning time to this concept, because it isn't as far-fetched as you might want it to be.