Life musings

Dropped off the docs to the tax preparer today. I make very little money and even *I* hate the way the tax system screws me over. I’d hate it even more if I actually made big bucks. i really do think we need a simple flat tax. 15% oughtta do it. It wouldn’t be so bad except that the tax codes aren’t even about rasing money to run .gov…it’s gotten into social engineering. They want people to own houses, since that presumably makes for a more stable and docile population, so they jigger the tax code to encourage you to own a house. Or to give money to approved charities. Or whatever other thing .gov wants to ‘encourage’.

Some Treasury secretary once opined, “What this nation needs is a tax system that looks like it was designed on purpose”. And it’s true. The tax code is the Winchester Mystery House of regulations. They never take anything out, they just add and modify whatever is already there.

I’ve been studying accounting and taxes for a few months now and let me tell you what I’ve learned: cash businesses rule. Seriously. Go open a car wash, pizzeria, adult bookstore, video game arcade, laundromat, or newsstand.

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Springlike weather has been going on here and i suspect that we *might* be done with the snow. This winter was a spectacularly annoying one. Not because it was harsh or anything, but rather because it kept doing a snow-thaw-refreeze cycle over and over. It got old real fast. Time to put air in the bike tires and get back to rising my bike around town.

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Saw Leupold’s new thermal imager today. It’s interesting but I wasnt terribly impressed. I was inside one of those big box stores and was playing with it. You could read residual heat signatures on objects, which was neat, but the effective range at which people registered as bright blips was a little short. I suspect it’s because the temperature in the building was a bit warm. Outside, at night, when it’s cooler the temperature contrast would be more pronounced. However, I could see this being a handy device for tracking wounded game or scanning your immediate area to make sure no one was laying in wait for you. It would probably also do a bang up job of seeing if a vehicle had been recently driven.

Interesting and would definitely be fun to explore, but not for the price. Resolution of the digital image was horrible, but I suppose that’s to be expected at this price.

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Also got to handle some newer guns….the CZ Bren rifle looked real nice, and I got to handle an MP5 clone from Zenith firearms. At $2k MSRP for either one, I’d probably stick with the AR15 for my .223 needs. The MP5 copy was cute, but for that price I could get three CZ Evo’s that would fill basically the same role. But…there’s just something so ’80s about the MP5….

Article -Student stranded for 5 days near Grand Canyon grew desperate

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A Texas college student stranded for five days near the Grand Canyon says she was making farewell videos for her family as she grew desperate for help.

Arizona authorities say 24-year-old Amber VanHecke was well-equipped and did everything right after getting lost in a remote area during a solo road trip.

VanHecke said in a Facebook post that she was heading to a hiking trail but was led astray by her maps app and wound up in the middle of nowhere with an empty gas tank.

How ‘well-equpped’ are you if you’re relying on apps to figure out where you are and where you’re going?

It seems like more and more of these stories reference people placing their faith in their technology to guide them. Look, I love me some GPS as much as the next guy…but I always look at a real map beofre dumping myself into unfamiliar terrain. And I take a compass and a copy of that map with me. And I establish baselines to keep me within certain areas.

I’m also a little unclear…if she tried to chase down a truck, that means she knew where a traveled road was, right? So youldn’t you just head to the traveled road and walk it until more traffic came along? Clearly the road must have been within walking distance since she was able to see the truck on it. Lotsa details here are missing, but I’d be interested in more.

This is another of the very few cases of didn‘t stay with the car and things turned out well. However, the article seems to imply rescuers found the car first and then the girl.

Mail Call

This showed up in todays mail:

20170320_120014A few posts back someone mentioned in the comments that they thought it was a book i might find interesting and, surpise, they sent me a copy. Dang nice of ’em, if ya ask me. Much thanks. I’ll post about it when I get done reading it!

I suspect it will be a case of seeing in print a feeling or ideal I’ve always had but had never been able to fully articulate. We shall see.

Link – Air Force Testing Anti-Drone Shotgun Shells

Three left.
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This is kinda interesting…….(and, yes, clever name)

The Mi-5 shells are anti-drone rounds and contain a five-foot wide capture net. When fired, five tethered segments spin and extend to create the net which travels towards the targeted drone, wraps around the frame, and brings it down, according to pcmag.com.

The only damage caused will be from the impact with the ground, which should offer a chance to inspect and collect evidence from the drone.

The types of drones these shells can target are classed as Category 1 & 2 by the Pentagon. They weigh up to 55 pounds and typically fly at heights of no more than 3,500 feet….

They must be fired from a rifled choke barrel. You can buy them on the web in three packs for $20 each.

I had no idea that there were specific ‘anti-drone’ shotgun shells. To my way of thinking, virtually any shotgun shell is ‘anti-drone’. You see someone floating a drone 80′ over your hot tub one evening, why screw around with specialty ammo? Whatever is sitting in the 870 will probably do the job just fine.

Also, I’ve yet to meet the shotgun shell that has a reach of 3500 feet. If such animals existed, we’d have a lot less geese.

But, it does segue into a larger issue – how do you secure your little slice ‘o heaven against such intrusions? I mean, all the systems I’ve seen…shotguns, jammers, trained eagles, etc, are all active systems – someone has to be directing the action at the time of intrusion. There needs to be some sort of passive ‘electric fence’ sort of preventative. I suppose you could set up some sort of powerful jamming system that is on all the ime and rotates through the most popular known frequencies for these sorts of things. You know, come to think of it, I’m kinda surprised this hasn’t come up on The Walking Dead yet.

I suppose the most logical, although not the easiest, method is to make sure that you don’t keep anything in the open that you wouldn’t want someone to see. It’s not my favorite option since, as I see it, I should be able to do whatever the heck i want on my property without having to worry about airborne peeping toms, but thats just not the world we live in.

Mike Rowe, of ‘Dirty Jobs’ fame and seemingly genuine great guy, had his own incident which he talked about in a podcast which turned into an impromptu advertisement for the Mossberg 500:

I might, just for giggles, pick up a tubes worth of these anti-drone shotgun shells just for the novelty value in rounding out my ‘specialty’ shotgun ammo selection. But, really, if I need to knock down something like that I’d imagine the cheap bulk shotgun ammo from WalMart will do just fine.

Organization

Wrapping it up. Four sets of mags left.
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You know, a big part of being a survivalist is simply being he manager of your own personal warehouse. Sure we have to learn skills, read a lot of books, practice various tasks, etc., but we also have to be curator to a stockpile of gear. Think about it, you keep gear in your vehicle, in your home, at work, at a friends house, buried at some middle-of-nowhere cache, etc, etc. And all that gear has information about it that needs to be kept – where is it, what is it, how much of it is there, when does it expire, etc, etc. It can be a major pain in the ass.

Someone I used to know turned me on to a program called Evernote. It runs on your desktop machine as well as on your phone/pad. I’ve found it to be exceptionally useful..more so than a simple spreasheet (although the data can be imported/exported through spreadsheets). Right about now there’s a contingent of people mentally screaming “No! Government sees everything on the interweb! They’ll know to come to your house for your guns and food!”.

Not worried. If you’re really worried about it, do your inventory management on your mobile device while youre snagging McDonalds free wifi. Or just don’t put your name and address in any of the files.

I find evernote most useful for tracking inventory of Deep Sleep stuff. For example, if a vendor emails me a deal on magazines I can pop into Evernote, bring up my ‘Mag’ notebook (or just search for ‘magazines’) and view my list of what I have on hand. Then I can make an informed decision about whether I need to sell the other kidney and buy more mags.

Another useful thing about Evernote is the ability to selectively share some of the data. For example, lets say you and your brother are planning on riding out the apocalypse together. You can have one notebook that is shared between the two of you. Say the two of you want to stock up on radio equipment. You might have a notebook named ‘Radio Gear’. You give him access to it. Now when he’s at some hamfest in Iowa he can check and see a live version of the list of gear and know what does or does not need to be purchased. Handy. Excellent for avoiding those awkward moments of “I didn’t know if we had [name of item] so I picked up three cases of it. I wish I’d know we already had plenty.”

Having said that, spreadsheets are still amazingly useful…especially if your Excel skills are good enough to take advantage of tables and conditional formatting. Again, it’s going to knock some people’s tinfoil hats off, but Excel is great for keeping track of guns. I also use it to keep track of the long term food storage… having those spreadsheets accessible to me was quite handy when I was up at the Mormon cannery a few weeks back. I immediately knoew what I did and did not need, which means whatever money I spent was spent wisely.

There’s that old saying that the first step to wisdom is knowing what you do not know. If you don’t know what you have vs. what you need to get then you’re not using your resources wisely. You’ll wind up with a hundred AA-batteries and five MagLites that take D-batteries. You can’t be your own quartermaster without knowing what the heck you do and do not have.

Between Evernote and Excel, the savvy survivalist can manage his resources wisely and make the most of their purchasing power. If you’re just going along with a clipboard and legal pad you are definitely doing yourself a disservice.

 

Those 10/22 mags…redux

The bad news: no more of the Butler Creek Hot Lips magazines. :( All gone. Those of you who got some from me know you got a smoking deal, right?

The good news: same vendor just dropped a slew of the Butler Creek Steel Lips mags on me. Obviously they are a bit spendier than the Hot Lips, but very much worth it.

$110 gets you ten (10) of them, including Priority Mail shipping. Email me for a payable invoice. If you want, say, 25 or more, we can do a tiny bit better.

Remember: Retail is for suckers.

Link – Mountain House pouches rated to 30 years

According to Mountain House’s website, their pouch products, which previously were rated for around seven years, should be good significantly longer than that.

Mountain House makes a pretty good product, and some of their stuff is pretty good. I’m still a little annoyed with them over their snubbing small-time dealers several years back. But…personal feelings have no place intruding into logistics planning.

I have cases and cases of the Mountain House pouches in storage. Their ‘Pro-Pack’ stuff is just the ticket for stuffing into a 72-hour bag or caching in a bucket somewhere.

I usually figured the product would keep well past the seven year shelf life anyway, it’s nice to see a little confirmation of that.

 

H/T to The Metals Pimp for bring this to my attention.

One is none…

20170303_111136Somewhere in a police station someone is saying “Wait..I thought you had the keys to the weapons locker.”

 

Local LMI ( you know who you are) hit me up for a smokin’ deal on some night-sighted G22’s in wonderful condition.

Leftovers

Cleaning up around the shop and found half a case of the .22 magazines.
Guess I’ll open up the link again in case anyone needs more. I thought I’d got rid of all of them but apparently my housecleaning is so bad that a slew of .22 mags can wind up hiding from me for a month.