Friday, August 23, 2019

What's up with commenting?

Comments have stopped working on a number of blogs such as Eaton Rapids Joe. The only commonality (other than I read them) is that they're all Blogger blogs.

I've tried different browsers. Disabled add-ins. Downloaded one browser and used it fresh. Nada. I've tested my blog and they're still working as they should.

Any wisdom from the crowd?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

What do you call it?

What do you call it when there is simply nothing that moves you to write? I'm not talking about writer's block, where you have a subject but simply can't get the words out. This is more along the lines of...I don't know. It isn't burn out or a lack of motivation, exactly. There is simply no subject that is goading me into writing right now.

I suppose that's one of the differences between us hobbyists and the "professionals". Professionals gotta eat, so they learn to write something of acceptable quality about something on a schedule. I'm retired-what is this "schedule" of which you speak?

Maybe I can go over some of the stuff that's been going on around here. Nothing is earth-shattering, it's just the stuff that lives are made of. But some may find it interesting.

This morning, I've been on the evil Amazon again, managing my "Subscribe and Save" list. I understand that some people see Amazon as part of a growing Technology Axis of Evil, and I suppose it is. It's also what makes living in smaller towns easier and less expensive. I noticed they have the Keystone canned meats on offer now. I've signed up for a couple of cans every month. Yes, I'm sure it can be gotten cheaper by the case, but if I manipulate the system correctly, I get it for 15% off Amazon's price, I can bump all my other stuff from 5% to 15% off and it's shipped free. I also get to buy it in more budget friendly sized chunks. This will let me slowly expand the pantry again. After kids moving out, we've let the pantry contract, because 2 of us don't eat what 4 did. Pantry space is limited, so in addition to stocking staples, such as soups, pastas and the like, I'm starting on things that will store better. Happiness is a full pantry.

You might remember my tiny little step into solar power. One thing I noted was that the light wouldn't turn on when plugged into the panel. Well, a couple of weeks ago I had to finish mowing after dark. Putting the "tractor" up, I needed a little light, So I tried this thing out in full darkness for the first time. I found out two things. First, it really is a little light-you get just enough to see. It's about like the moonlight setting on a lot of flashlights. Second, it worked while plugged up. Apparently, if there is any power on the incoming feed, it won't work. Not sure what odd choices were made for it to work that way, but now I know the answer to one of life's mysteries.

I'm still slowly cleaning/reorganizing the garage and basement. Several loads have went to the Salvation Army and a couple to the dump. More await for both destinations. However, I'm finally getting some things organized where I can find them, tools especially. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do with all of those extra sockets....

I'm starting to cycle around to ham radio again, and Mrs. Freeholder and I have had some conversations about the need for antennas. She objects to the idea that her house is going to look like this:

I've assured her that I'm not after that. No way I have that much money. :-)

Actually, I wouldn't want it either. It's simply too obvious what I'm up to. The 6m-2m-70cm beam is small and looks rather like a TV antenna. And while some nice beams for HF would be great, I don't care for everyone who drives by to know I'm "that radio guy".

At first the plan was for a couple of end-fed long wires, but with no reasonable anchor points, I was going to have to put up some sort of poles for them. I figured she'd hate the poles, but it's the actual wires she objects to. So after some discussion and the display of many photos, she decided that she would be OK with some sort of vertical, as long as it didn't require too many guy lines.

I looked into the subject, and while I can fund it now (sold the Subaru), I didn't really find anything I warmed up to. Too expensive and I was concerned about functionality. ARRL, you need to test more antennas.

During the looking, I enlisted YouTube. Did you know YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world? I've been using it a long time to learn about various things, so I figured why not antennas. During the search, I found the DX Commander. Rather than the usual vertical design, this is a fan dipole turned on its end. I like that it can be installed in a secure but non-permanent manner. It's a resonant antenna, which is good both from performance and price reasons (no remote tuner needed). Even more, I like the price, which is around 20%, perhaps a bit less, than what I was anticipating spending. Most of the parts that could wear or break are replaceable. Heck, from the descriptions on Callum's site, I bet you could rig one of these up yourself without too much trouble. It's on the way via slow boat (keeps the shipping costs down). When it arrives and the weather cools off, I'm going to dive back into things and get it and some other ham projects handled.

I'm still working on the pickup I mentioned buying. It has been even more sweltering than North Carolina summers usually are, and I've not done much outside on this or anything else because of the heat and my body's seeming inability to deal with it as well as it once did. I've got a few small things left to do, such as hooking up the halo lights (finally), replacing the jounce bumpers (think suspension stops) and checking the fuel pump pressure. But due to the departure of the unneeded and unloved Subaru, I can now finance some professional work, so the seats are going to get new foam and upholstery. Then I'm hoping to draft Son-In_Law for some assistance in installing the new stereo and my ham radio (and possibly a CB-die purists!). I may even get his paintless dent repair buddy to handle 2-3 of the most egregious cosmetic defects.

I've found someone very local who can supply me with firewood by the log. The price is good and I'm not paying for the bucking, splitting and stacking. We may not burn wood this winter, but we will be next winter and for another few years. This is something that really gives me some comfort. Happiness is also a full woodshed.

The Greensboro Gun Show is this weekend. I'll be looking for a couple of guns if I can find them at a price I like. I also want to see if there are any signs of panic in the gun market. That could signal a selling opportunity for some of my excess. Plus ammo is always a thing to look for.

There are near-endless other things going on, but you get the drift by now. It's just life for the time being. Yes, there are Big Things on the horizon that could cause trouble. But for now I'm sort of moving quietly along, doing the things I think need doing as best as possible. And I'm good with this.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The last run

(I've been trying to finish this for days, but the gun nonsense has kept me busy elsewhere. If we can get the Leftists to stop "ululating against gun violence" (a great turn of phrase) so my blood pressure will stop boiling, I'm going to get this done,)

It's a tenant of the prepper faith that a list minute run to the bank, grocery store or other place likely to be overwhelmed with desperate people in the event of Bad Things Happening is a Very Bad Idea. We've seen enough pictures of looted of stores after various natural disasters that, coupled with other stories about the behavior of the populace in general after such occurrences, we have put 2 + 2 together and reached the answer 4.


Let's consider that the situation is somehow different. Perhaps some supernatural agency gives you an hour advance notice. Maybe your Spidey-sense tips you off. Or you've heard about the Bad Thing Happening, but the panic hasn't yet occurred in your area. You decide that you're going to cautiously try that warned-against last run. Where are you going, how do you do it and what do you load into your shopping cart? For the purposes of this, also assume that you have to go alone.

I'm going to the grocery store. My reasoning is simple-you can never have enough food. I wouldn't care if I had 10 years worth, I'd still want more. I can make do without a lot of things, but I've never figured out how to make do without food.

I have a particular store in mind. It's in a small strip shopping center that has no other store that should draw a crowd for this sort of trip. It's a smaller store, and the clientele is such that, even if word gets out while I'm there, it hopefully won't get slammed quickly. This has to do with both the age and economic makeup of the customer base.

Distance wise, I'm pretty much equidistant from all grocery stores where I'd consider attempting this. This one does have the drawbacks of the above-mentioned neighborhood plus having to cross over an Interstate and pass a gas station and the county prison to make the trip. Nothing's perfect. Driving time is around 12 minutes each way.

Another good thing about this store is the ability to reconnoiter the place from a short but significant distance. So let's say I've arrived and things look pretty much normal-word has still not gotten out. In we go, parking away from the doors and in the open. Back in or pull through, but don't get stuck having to back out of a parking space.

Grab a buggy. While I'd happily fill as many buggies as I could, managing one, managing your mental list plus trying to keep an eye on things will pretty much take up all of your mental bandwidth.

So what are we buying? I'm after stuff that cooks easily, to save fuel. I'm filling up holes that I know I have and adding to what I already keep. I know the layout of the store pretty well, so I'm starting at the right and working my way left across the store. My task is simplified by avoiding anything that needs refrigerated or has to stay frozen.

First stop is the salad dressing/condiment aisle. I'm grabbing mustard, ketchup, Texas Pete, worcestershire  and Tabasco sauce. Your menu is going to be limited in variety, and these things help keep things interesting. I'll get 2-3 of each, probably in larger sizes.

Next up is the canned meats/canned chili/canned beef stew and so on. I'm going to load up a good bit here. We normally don't keep much of this because Mrs. Freeholder doesn't care for it, but this time I don't care. If it's still in the flats, I'm getting a flat of Spam, canned chunk chicken, chili, beef stew, corned beef hash, potted meat and vienna sausages. Otherwise I'll have to get individual cans and stack them in the cart.

Following this is the soup aisle. I'm grabbing chicken noodle, tomato, potato and crème of celery/mushroom. Again, a flat of each or the equivalent.

Next, vegetables and fruits. Flats of green beans, pinto beans, corn and vegetable medley. As many peaches as I can cram into the kid seat. Maybe some pears.

At this point, the buggy is getting heavy. I have three more aisles to hit.

The health and beauty aisle. Acetometiphen and ibuprophen, both in tablet/gel caps and kids' liquids. Allergy meds, especially diphenhydramine and fexofenadine. Gauze pads and rolled gauze plus antibiotic ointment. This stuff is small and will go in the cracks in the buggy.

Next is the baking aisle. All-purpose flour, sugar, vegetable oil, corn meal and dry milk get piled onto those flats. Salt, pepper and a few useful spices as well.

All the while the cart is getting heavy and you've trying to keep your head on a swivel. If your phone dings you look to see if it's breaking news telling you it's time to hit the checkout. Nothing yet, so on to the last aisle.

Cat food in bags. Canned if there is any room left. Maybe some cat litter, but we're usually well stocked on that, and it's big and heavy anyway.

Crap, I need bottled bleach. The kind with no smells added. The stuff only  keeps 6 months at best, and we don't use it with a septic system. And this buggy is getting seriously unwieldy,

Time to hit the checkout. Here is where buying things by flats comes in handy-it's easy to get it out and back in the buggy quickly. If you couldn't buy flats, then this may take long enough that Things Start To Happen. I'll bail if anything untoward gets started. Ignoring the looks of other shoppers and the hired help, I just want to get it and git.

Now, it's out to the parking lot. I'm armed, but I may not be as heavily armed as I might like. Chances are the supernatural notification came when I wasn't at home. Eyes open to be sure that the word hasn't leaked to the general populace.  Since I drive a pickup, drop the tailgate, slide it all in as quickly as possible and go.

Hopefully the 12 minute drive home is uneventful, but that's asking a lot. By this point, I'm bound to be out of that hour of advanced warning. I have to go through one not great neighborhood, past the county prison, cross the bridge over the Interstate and get past a gas station. No, I'm not stopping for gas, no matter what. Or anything else for that matter.

At home, it's going to be getting all that into the house without the neighbors seeing. I like my neighbors, but I can't feed them and I'd rather not wind up shooting them.

Sound relatively easy, doesn't it? In the real world, even with advance notice, it wouldn't be. This is why we have the prepping advice to avoid such places when things go pear-shaped. Still, it's a fun mental exercise.

If it were up to me, our house would probably look like a WWII submarine, loaded to the brim with food, fuel and weapons. You'd have to turn sideways to get down the hall to the bedrooms. But the real world isn't going to let 99.99999% of the people do such things. We have to make constant decisions about how much of this or that we can afford and store. Mrs. Freeholder is a tolerant sort, but she won't allow me to replace the sofa with a sofa-shaped stack of Mountain House with a nice quilt over it.

This is why we have had and will always have the temptation to make one last run to the grocery store. And it is and will be a bad idea.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Something to take the sting from today

(Via the Woodpile Report)

Old movies, seen as they were meant to be seen. Amazing stuff.

And while the GOP is giving away your rights for their political purposes

The Left wants you dead.

Time to wake up and get ready.

Time to put some steel in the GOP's spine


Bearing in mind that this an MSN article, it appears that the GOP is willing bow to the gun grabbers. As they ever have, when the heat is on, they soften and bend like pot metal.

It's time for us to step up and put some steel in their spines. We can't count on the NRA to help this time. They're too occupied with their own internal war (although I firmly expect begging letters in the next couple of days).

I'm hitting up my Representative and both Senators this morning. What are you doing-today-to protect your rights?

This is the message I'm sending:

Subject: Help stiffen the GOP's spine

I'm reading some very disturbing stories in the media that the GOP is going to roll over on our Constitutionally protected gun rights in the aftermath of recent spree murders.

Being someone who votes on a single issue-the Second Amendment-I'm asking you to help put some steel in the spines of GOP legislators in Washington. I don't care about "political realities" or any of the rest of the crap they feed us when this has happened before. I care about my rights.

If this passes, I will withhold my vote from every GOP candidate from the least local office to the office of President. Yes, I'll stay home and let the Democrats win. Why? Because either way my rights will be abridged. It's just a question if it happens quickly or slowly.

I can't count on the NRA to help in this fight. As I'm sure they're aware, they've got internal issues that is going to pretty much sideline them. I have to count on my elected representatives in the Congress to do what people like me elected them to do. You'll get a lot of pressure from the other side, because they smell blood. Don't give in.

It's gut-check time for the GOP. If they fail the test, it's going to be a dark day for our freedom.

(Edit, 8/7/2109, 1143)
This is what I get back from my Congressweasel. I've wasted my effort, but I felt like it had to be tried. Is the fix in already?

August 7, 2019

{My name and address}

Dear {me},

Thank you for the taking the time to write regarding the two shootings that occurred over the weekend in El Paso and Dayton. I appreciate you reaching out on this front.

As you may already know, the shooting in El Paso, which left 22 people dead, was declared an act of domestic terrorism by the US Attorney for the Western District act of Texas. In the coming weeks, law enforcement and the Department of Justice will work together to determine whether to bring forth federal hate crime and firearm charges, which carries a possible death penalty sentence. I think it's also worth mentioning that the El Paso shooter posted an anti-immigrant document online twenty minutes before the shooting on a platform called 8chan. It was the third shooting this year where a shooter posted on 8chan before an attack. This cannot happen again, and I plan on looking for ways to help law enforcement identify and prevent these types of threats in a swifter manner. Additionally this weekend, in Dayton, Ohio, a gunman fired dozens of shots leaving nine people dead.

In your letter, you ask me to take action to prevent shootings like these from happening again. In that vein, I plan on working with my colleagues in the House in advancing realistic solutions that will address the root issues behind the violence we saw this weekend. For example, I am a cosponsor of the Mass Violence Prevention Act which would reduce the flow of firearms into the black market, where violent criminals often buy weapons and circumvent background checks. This legislation would directly combat firearms-related violence by dedicating new resources that could be used to implement proven strategies. Additionally, the Mass Violence Prevention Act would create a fusion center at the FBI dedicated to preventing mass violence. This new FBI fusion center would improve coordination between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, which is something that law enforcement officers have said needs to be addressed. While bills like these don't get a ton of coverage, I think it's critical we target the black market for firearms and this strikes me as a good bipartisan way to start looking for ways to address this violence.  

If you have further questions, please contact my Legislative Aide, Sam Shumate, in my Washington, D.C. office. He can be reached at 202-225-4531 and is happy to discuss this issue further if you'd like.

Thanks again for writing and take good care.

Ted Budd
Member of Congress

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Notes from around the blogosphere

Taking it somewhat easy today and doing a little blog reading. Here are some gems.
Enjoy your Sunday.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Other ideas on prepping for old age

(Via Gab)

Here are someone else's ideas on "Preparing For Old Age". Some good stuff in there; some I've already put into practice, such as paying off debt. I'm going to need to think about some of the others, such as "What if I can't drive?" That one is a tad uncomfortable to consider, but it pays to have considered these things before they become a thing.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Do we really need to say it again?

The headline in the Sacremento Bee blares:

4 dead, including shooter, during attack at Gilroy Garlic Festival. 6-year-old killed

Yes, another disturbed individual has decided to pursue his 15 minutes by killing people he didn't know and who were no threat to him. This was done in spite of California's:
  • "Firearm Safety Certificate" program
  • Firearm registration
  • Assault weapons ban
  • Standard High capacity magazine ban
  • Lack of "shall issue" concealed carry and laws against open carry in incorporated areas
  • Ban on NFA weapons without a state license
  • Waiting period for purchase
  • Background checks for purchase
  • "Red flag" law
  • And coming soon, an ammunition control law

This guy cut his way through a security fence (a crime) so he could shoot and kill people who are disarmed and kept disarmed by legislative fiat (more crimes). They only thing that saved the situation from going to hell in a handbasket was the presence of armed law enforcement (that some ultra-Leftists in that state want to disarm as well), who made him DRT.

So yeah, I think it does need to be said again. You can pass laws against guns, violence and violence with guns until your eyes bleed. Criminals don't respect laws.  

So, leftists, don't tell me I need to give up my guns because your fairy tale world never works. Not happening.