Article – A Brief History Of American Survival Guide Magazine

Ah, I remember the heyday of ASG. Sadly, I also remember the neutered “No guns on the cover” version that was it’s final incarnation. But, for those of us who remember ASG fondly, here’s an interesting link:

When American Survival Guide magazine was resurrected from its ashes four years ago, the publishers could have only hoped it would become as popular and widely read as it is today.

One of their objectives was to produce a “new” magazine that feeds the core interests of its readers, whatever their personal goals of survival preparedness happened to be. However, it may be surprising to some that its roots were firmly planted 37 years ago by an eccentric motorsports enthusiast who wore cowboy boots and white suits and kept a pet cougar in his office.

A real live cougar. In his office. To promote his motorcycle parts supply house, AEE Choppers, Tom McMullen started a magazine for motorcycles in 1969 called Street Chopper, which found a successful niche with enough of a toehold start a publishing empire with his wife. In 1974 they were divorced, and in the settlement she got the parts company and he got the publishing company.


Upcoming Friday Of Color

Black Fridays Matter!

This time next week we’ll all  be hungover from the Friday Of Color sales. Most advertisers will start pimping the sales early, but I fully expect my inbox to be jammed with spam from Stag, Rock River, Kifaru, Augason Farms, Cheaper Than Dirt, CDNN, and all the other usual suspects.

But this time…I’m gonna be ready. I’ve tucked away a a small bit of coin in case something really awesome turns up. (A big ol’ Glock 10mm would be nice.)

I trust that all of you are doing the same…keeping an eye open for a stupidly good sale on that piece of gear you’ve been having your eye on.

Avenues I use to keep on top of the sales include:


The left-leaning, class-warfare types will no doubt get their panties in a twist about ‘consumerism’ and that sort of nonsense. But thats usually the outrage of people who are simply jealous because they can’t partake. Me, I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of…I like cool gear and if I can afford cool gear then, by Crom, I’m gonna buy cool gear. Getting it on sale is just a bonus.

Oh..and there’ some holiday next week too. But, yeah, I’m all about the gear.

Those little things that mean so much

I haven’t commented on it in a while, but there are a few people who have been tossing a few bucks in the tip jar and I wanted to say thanks. There’s one fella who actually does a recurring transaction every month and donates, which is damn nice if you ask me.

Anyway, just paid Bluehost for another year of hosting and figured I’d say thanks to those of you who kicked in some spare coin to make sure I can have a venue to butcher the English language and display terrible judgement.

(Its the thing in the upper right sidebar that says “Bunker Equippage Fund” with the DONATE button.)




Adding value to yourself

There’s a rallying cry that the left like to use about how WalMart doesn’t pay it’s employees enough to live on , and thus the welfare expenses created by these employees are directly attributable to WalMart. Evil corportaion, 1%, blah, blah, blah.

Never mind that, because of minimum wage laws, the same could be said of EVERY business that pays a similar rate as WallyWorld. So, I said to the person who was carrying on about this, that those welfare costs would be even higher if WalMart didn’t give them a job at all, and that if you don’t like what Walmart pays you perhaps you should make yourself into the kind of employee who is worth more than what WalMart pays.

You can imagine the response to that.

But, it’s true. Case in point – I’m doing an internship program at a corporate HQ here in town.One of my duties is to reconcile a list of customer deposits against payments received that month. Normally, this process takes about 12 hours of cutting/pasting/comparing against two separate spreadsheets. After doing this a few times, I said to the boss “Would you mind if I tinkered with these spreadsheets? I think I can come up with a way to make this work faster.” *** They said go ahead, just experiment on copies of the files rather than the originals. As they were saying that I was bouncing the idea around in my head coming up with a solution and by the time they said “And we’ll pay you for your time” I’d already finished the formulas in my head.

After a half hour of tinkering, I had a workable solution. After a couple hours at my computer that night before bed, I had a more refined and elegant solution. I turned a 12 hour job into one hour. When I demonstrated it the next day to the guy above me, you’d have thought I’d discovered plutonium. But, it makes sense…I just gave them 11 man-hours to put towards other projects and duties.  Thats an example of how you create a value that other people are willing to pay for. If they have to cut the payroll down, who is more likely to get the pink slip…the guy who comes in, does his work, and leaves at 5:00:01, or the guy who comes in ten minutes early, stays until the job is done, and actively contributes to improve the processes and efficiency of the business?

There are far too many people out there who don’t realize that every human being is not worth the same as another. Sure, it’s a lovely egalitarian thought but the guy who sweeps the floors in the warehouse is not as equally valuable as the person running the product management system in the office. Sad, but true. Some fellow traveler comment about how the CEO makes 75 times what the lowest paid employee makes. There is nothing wrong with that….that’s how it should be. You know why the CEO gets paid 75 times more? Because I can walk out the door and find someone qualified to sweep the floors and scrub the toilets in about four minutes, but I can’t walk out and find someone qualified to manage and run a billion-dollar-a-year company in four minutes. Ben and Jerrys, the ice cream socialists from Vermont, made a big fuss years back about how the highest paid person in their company would not earn more than five times what the lowest paid person made. Try to imagine the results of trying to find someone who has the talent to run a multi-million dollar company for less than $150,000 per year. B&J quietly abandoned the policy when no one would come work for their corporate positions.

Sure, the economy may be doing somewhat better these days but being prepared for economic uncertainty includes making myself into the sort of person who, when the ax starts falling, is put at the back of the line.


*** For those who are curious, I simply cut/paste all the payment, invoice, balance, date data (four columns) into a table, and then VLOOKUPped against the data in my other spreadsheet and wherever a payment was found, I had the invoice, date, payment, and amount values moved into their respective places through a series of IF and VLOOKUP formulas. Yeah, it was formula soup but it works. (And, yeah, macros would have helped bu we’re not allowed to use macros on the corporate machines.)

Food observations

 I was tooling around YouTube this afternoon and came across a few videos on food storage. One of them showed a guy who was unboxing some rice he put away six years ago. It was in a mylar bag, vacuum sealed, and tucked into a five-gallon bucket. I admire that approach, but I gotta say….my experience has been that rice is pretty much the only food that you can store “poorly” and still have something edible. I have, literally, a 15 gallon blue barrel of rice from Y2k that has had nothing done to it except being poured into a clean barrel and had the lid screwed on. Thats it…no oxy absorbers, no nitrogen flush, no nothing…and it stored just fine and seemed to cook up and taste fine ten years later.

Does that mean that was a good way to store it? Of course not. But it does show that some foods can have a more…casual…approach and be just fine. I would imagine that because of my climate (arid mountain region with very low moisture) I can get away with that sort of thing. I wouldnt want to try it in Louisiana or similar environs.

I mention it because I’ve been going through some of my stored stuff and taking stock of how it has fared. I’ve not run across anything I’d discard except for some MRE cookies that tasted quite rancid. Other than that, most everything seems to store just fine, although I store it in the classic “cool dark place” that is the classically optimum environment for food storage.

I’ve come across a couple canned goods, over the years, that didn’t last the way they were supposed to but they are pretty infrequent. Food poisoning (the real kind…not the I-let-the-ppizza-sit-out-overnight kind, I’m talking about the botulism kind) is not something to mess with and even if that bulging can isn’t loaded down with botulism you’ll still probably get so sick you’ll wish it had killed you after all. So…screw it…it’s a $2 can of tomato sauce..chuck it. I guarantee you, when you’re driving the porcelain bus at 2:30am you’d happily pay $2 to not have spent the last 40 minutes doing intestinal somersaults.

The changing of the season from fall into winter always puts me in the mind to go play amongst the stored food and supplies. Dunno why, it just does.

Wire shelving and S-hooks

Someone pointed out the shelving in a previous post.

For storage of food and household goods, I use the wire shelving units found at CostCo. They’re about $90 and you get four uprights, six shelves, and four wheels. What a lot of people don’t know is that you can buy a cheap little force multiplier that really opens up a world for your shelving plans. These little jewels are called “S-hooks”.

Imagine that you buy a shelving unit and set it up. You have one rack of six shelves, yes? Now, lets say you bought a second unit. You set that one up. You now have two columns of shelves next to each other. Ah, but if you had the s-hooks you could have three clumns of shelves, using those same two units. The s-hooks allow you to hang a shelf off the edge of another shelf. And since you can put the s-hook anywhere along the edge of the shelf, you can make L-shaped shelving arrangements to co around corners, or even T-shaped arrangements.

Here’s an example:

thumbnailNotice that the run of shelving on the right butts up against the row running along the back wall. Where they meet, thats where the s-hooks are…thats why theres no upright at that inside corner.

958e05b7b00fc0c6e6f8fdbf6cacc9da-mediumI get my s-hooks from these guys.

Also, note that when you buy wire shelving make sure the shelving has a reinforcing rib running down the middle of each shelf. In the first image you can see a rib that is just like the one running around the edges of he shelf. You don’t want just a piece of wire running the length of the shelf, you want an actual rib. Anything else and the thing will sag and not hold weight well. I’ve been using the wire shelving I got at Costco for over fifteen years and never had a problem with it. Yeah, it’s made in China but there’s not a lot out there in American-made wire shelving that meets my needs.

Anyway, I highly recommend the wire shelving for your food/gear storage and if you do decide to go that way, definitely get the s-hooks.…they will make the shelving so much more versatile.


Despite what you see on The Walking Dead, decent hygiene can make a big difference in a crisis. Ignore, for a moment, no one wants to be squeezed into a pickup truck with six sweaty guys in multicam who smell like the towel bin of an NFL locker room. Think about this, after a long day of sweating, getting dirty, possibly getting some bodily fluids of all sortsa flavors sprayed on you, and the infrequent application of bugspray/sunblock, etc, you wind up getting a decent size cut or abrasion  on you. In TWD our sweaty, grungy heroes carry on effortlessly. In the real world, you’re setting yourself up for all sorts of nasty infection-y badness.

Preparedness is about prevention. You’re stopping problems before they happen. You know how in the winter season we’re all told to wash our hands frequently to prevent catching colds? We all agree that’s a good idea. Well, a shower or some other form of bathing, with soap, on a daily (or more frequent) basis is just as good.

Soap is awesome stuff but it’s a mild pain in the butt to store. I like to use Ivory soap because I can use on my skin, in my hair, and even to clean clothes. It’s sort of a Swiss army knife of soap. Problem is, it is fabulously hydroscopic. Don’t believe me? Go grab a paper-wrapped bar of Ivory soap and peel the wrapper off. I guarantee you the wrapper will be damp, moist, or adhere to the soap in a manner suggesting a high moisture content. And if you leave soap exposed to air too long…it turns into a rock. (Which seems counterintuitive since you would think that if it absorbs moisture it would turn to mush.)

I mention it because while I like Ivory soap, I hate paying for it. Surprisingly, I found a deal on Amazon for 100 bars for $40. (Requires that Yuppie Survivalist luxury – Amazon Prime) Well, a hundred bars oughtta last me a while. So, I ordered ’em up and they arrived today.

thumbnailSo now that they’re here, and we’ve established that they fossilize after long enough time exposed to air, what do we do? Stop exposing them to air. Break the vacuum sealer out of storage and repackage things.

thumbnail2This is one of those situations where a vacuum sealer is great for a task other than storing food. Seriously, if you think they’re just good for putting food away and not much else, you really need to think more creatively. Go get one. You’ll never regret it.

A few years ago I came across a slightly better deal at my local grocery store. Three bars for a buck. I wound up picking up all they had and I packaged them the same way I’m packaging these. I finally used up the last ones last month and they stored just fine, I suppose it’s possible that with enough hot water and scrubbing, the dessicated bars of soap might work, but why take chances?

thumbnailSo, I’m set for the next couple years on soap and can keep myself clean and smelling awesome after a long day of looting burned out police cars, manning roadblocks, and fending off zombies. Or, more likely, I’ve simply knocked off one of many things on my logistical checklist for the next several years.

thumbnail4But, point is, if you’re going to store large amounts of things like food, ammo, toilet paper, and batteries you should also go just as deep on the personal hygiene stuff as well. Being stuck in Katrinaville (Or San Juan, I suppose) is no time for skin infections, bad teeth, conjunctivitis, ear infections, and that sorta thing. Floss, toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, deodorant, washcloth,  toothbrush, talc, a comb, razors (Ivory works for shaving foam), and some hand sanitizer will give you pretty much everything you need to prevent the kinda funk that knocks your efficiency down when you need it the most.


I was at the bank today, and I was complimenting the tellers on their costume choices. One was a Star Wars stormtrooper, which wasn’t really done very well…but the other gal dressed up as Link from the Zelda video games and really nailed it. They asked me what my costume was and I told them I was a serial killers since “they look just like one of us”. One of them said she was fascinated by serial killers and I asked her if she had heard of Missoula’s very own serial killer, Wayne Nance. I’d met Doug Welles, the fella that cancelled Nance’s birth certificate, years ago and heard a little about it from him, and a lot from people who knew Welles. So i told them what I knew and it turned into some sort of ghost story scenario, these three bank tellers raptly leaning over the counter listening.

Then I told them the details of cannibal child-killer Nathan Bar Jonah (famous for serving children to his neighbors at potlucks). Turns out the guy who runs the coin shop across the street from me is the retired cop who arrested Bar Jonah. Again, he told me all the inside details and creepy stuff that was found (and suspected) in Bar Jonahs apartment. As I recounted it, the tellers just stood there, eyes wide, hanging on every word.

Interesting that Montana had a couple serial killers within such a short time. To be fair, though, Bar Jonah was an import (or, more accurately, an export) from Massachusetts.

Over in Idaho, the equally despicable child killer Joe Duncan came to light when he hammered a family to death and stole their kids. Unfortunately, he’s still alive because no one did the reasonable thing when his actions became known.

If you’re into the macabre histories and body counts, two extremely notable serial killers are Ed Gein (the inspiration for Norman Bates of ‘Psycho’ fame), Albert Fish, and H.H.Holmes. If you want to read a fictional thriller about chasing down a Victorian era serial killer, ‘The Alienist‘ was an enjoyable book. (And, I hear, on its way to becoming a movie.) And if you want a movie, I highly recommend “Manhunter” (1986), which introduced Hannibal Lecter to the world. (The book, Harris’ “Red Dragon”, was extremely good.)’s Halloween. Best not to dwell too closely on what a human being can do when he’s got a couple crossed wires.

Human beings are fabulously dangerous critters when they want to be. Sometimes you get one who has a couple wires crossed, or someone who has been so damaged by life that they just aren’t safe to be around decent folks. They’re out there….working in furniture stores, passing you on the street as they walk to work, filling your prescriptions… never can tell.

Which is why we have hollowpoints.