Mountain House letter re: #10 cans

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

This showed up in snail mail today:

This is an update on Oregon Freeze Dry’s #10 can situation. Because sales remain high, we continue to be unable to meet all #10 can needs. OFD is allocating as much of our Production Capacity as possible to this market segment, while still allowing us to meet requirements in other markets.

Unfortunately, we cannot open sales to all previous dealers, nor are we accepting new dealers. We continue to sell allocated quantities to our long-time, largest customers/distributors.

We expect this situation to remain through most of 2009. At this point, we are not able to predict when we can open up sales to all dealers.

In addition, we feel as a company we have not been strict enough on dealer requirements, and it is important dealers are only established Preparedness Market and/or Camping related Businesses. We also intend to have a stronger Suggested retail Pricing Program to eliminate ongoing discounts. Due to these concerns, OFD will implement two new programs:

  • Wholesale Delaer Requirements
  • Minimum Retail pricing Program

Prior to re-activating each account, new and Current Dealers will be required to re-qualify based on the new program requirements.

Read into this what you will, folks. Some people say this is because .gov has ordered a huge purchase of food from these guys. That seems awful unlikely since .gov already has long-term food ordering programs in place for their MRE contracts. What this is is OFD seeing the opportunity to make some big bucks in a hurry by eliminating some discounts and getting rid of the nickle-n-dime dealers that made small orders. Nothing wrong with that, its just good business to them. What it means to you is that the natives are restless and if you havent gotten your needs squared away in this department you better do something about it soon before this stuff is unavailable at any price.

LDS cannery trip – cont.

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

And 60# of Hard Red Wheat later, we are back…

Smaller crowd at the cannery this time, but thats cool by me. I stick out less that way.

Out of sugar, but wheat was to be had and I took a dozen #10 cans of the stuff. Also grabbed a can of apple slices to incorporate into my next wheat cereal cooking adventure. This is my third trip and each time I try to make a good impression with the volunteers running the place so that at some point I may be able to come by unaccompanied. This time I was actually given some ‘literature’ to take home. I like to think this means they think well of me.

Turns out they do, as I suspected, have a couple smaller electric can sealers that they let members check out for their own use. Hmmmm. This would be exceptionally handy for thos times when I want to can something that they do not normally can up there. (And they wont let you just bring in a 50# sack of whatever to can.) Be nice to have some of the dried whole corn canned. Same for some pasta and other dried foods.

So…still likin’ the Mormons.

Signs of the times, food – continued

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

When it comes to storing the rather large quantity of food that has been acquired, space and safe storage becomes an issue. Im sure theres optimal ways to do things and methods that are better than mine but I’ll tell you what I do.

The absolute best thing I have found so far, for my needs, has been the adjustable free-standing wire shelving that you would see in most professional kitchens. CostCo usually has them somewhere…about $80 for a 6’ unit that comes with wheels and six levels of shelving. I find these things to be excellent for the task. The wire shelving lets air circulate between layers, keeps stuff high enough off the floor to keep moisture away, each shelf is adjustable for height, and the wheels let me move the unit around if I need to shuffle space in the bunker. If you buy two of these units you can share a set of legs and have a unit three shelves across. Three units gets you a run of five shelf widths, etc, etc. Extra shelving, as well as some interesting accessories, can be found here.  The most valuable accessory are ‘S-hooks’ these are, as you might guess, S-shaped pieces of metal that hook onto the shelf edge and let you hang another shelf from it. For example if you had two freestanding shelves, these hooks would let you hang another shelf between them. Where they really shine are for making your shelving run around corners or for making ‘T’ intersections of shelving. They’re cheap and add a huge amount of versatility.

Originally I fabbed up some shelves using 2×4 and plywood. They were cheaper, no doubt about it but they were not nearly as versatile. It’s a pain in the ass to have to cough up money up front for the wire shelving but its versatility makes up for it in a major way. I have a bunch of these things and love ‘em.

The lowest level shelf is a few inches of the floor because the name of the game here is airflow and moisture-free. I try to space everything so that theres a bit of airflow so packaging doesn’t deteriorate from moisture, mold or damp. I usually store the 5-gallon buckets on the lower shelves since they are the most resistant to environmental concerns. Even if there were a foot of standing water the buckets would be okay and as an extra layer of insurance the contents of the buckets are in sealed Mylar bags. So…most durable packaging goes on the lower shelves.

Each shelving unit, by the way, is about 4’ wide so its not that hard to come up with 4’ of wall space somewhere to store it. Many people say that they just don’t have the room to store any large quantity of food…I hate to make sweeping generalizations, but I think if you’re serious about being prepared you’ll find the room. Just use common sense: store away from heat and cold (no uninsulated garages), away from chemical contaminants (don’t store it next to the bug killer), away from damp and wet (don’t store it in a hole under your garden shed). Wheres that leave? Closets, under bed, topmost layer of kitchen cabinets, finished basement, etc, etc. It really doesn’t take up that much room. (All the other crap we accumulate to be prepared, well, that’s another matter altogether.) Although they cost more, the shelving is also available in 12” rather than 18” deep…for where space is really tight.

Like I said, I prefer the steel wire shelving but if you don’t wanna spend that kinda money just make sure to store your stuff in such a manner that its off the floor (imagine a pipe break or sump pump failure), not contacting the walls, and arranged to let air circulate.

A few other things to think about:

Think about weight and stability. Putting the 1-gallon glass jars on the topmost shelf might be a bad idea if things get knocked around a bit. The wire shelving I use comes with ‘guardrails’ so stuff wont fall of the ends of the shelf. Think about it…. Ground tremors, hasty movement of contents on shelves, etc can all wind up knocking things off. Arrange accordingly.

Anything not in a can, bottle, or heavy duty packaging needs to be repackaged. I use heavy plastic locking storage pins for the cardboard/paper packaged stuff. This keeps it all in one place and keeps everything dry and safe if theres an environmental issue. (‘Environmental issue’ is shorthand for ‘stuff in the air like [water, rain, snow, mist, moisture, dampness, dust, dirt, etc.]’)

If you worry about people seeing your stash, or just want to keep it protected to keep light and dust off it, covers are available to complete cover the shelf and its contents. You can make your own, obviously, or you can buy them ready-made complete with zipper access.

In short, if you can free up a 48”x18” (or even a 48”x12”) footprint somewhere then you’ve got room to sock away at least several months worth of food.

Your mileage may vary, of course, but Ive been quite pleased with the wire shelving.


Article – Uncomfortable Answers To Questions On The Economy

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Fascinating article Uncomfortable Answers To Questions On The Economy. A very nicely laid out article explaining, as best I can tell, the current economic situation and generally saying that, as if we hadnt figured this out, its gonna get worse before it gets better. Some highlights:

Something has clearly gone wrong with the economy. But how bad are things, really? And how bad might they get before better days return? Even to many economists who recently thought the gloom was overblown, the situation looks grim. The economy is in the midst of a very rough patch. The worst is probably still ahead.

Job losses will probably accelerate through this year and into 2009, and the job market will probably stay weak even longer. Home prices will probably keep falling, shrinking household wealth and eroding spending power.


The fate of the economy now rests on the shoulders of the American consumer, whose spending amounts to 70 percent of all economic activity.

When people go to the mall and buy televisions and eat out, their money circulates through the economy. When they tighten their belts, austerity ripples out and chokes growth.

If the economy is counting on my spending to help it out of the current situation, I think theyre in for a disappointment. My goal right now is to spend as little as possible, convert it into inflation-proof goods, and play it very, very close to the vest. And I know Im not alone in that plan. I don’t think theres anyone in this country who isn’t of the mind to check their purchasing. Let-the-good-times-roll spending is what created this situation and now we’re told spending will get us out of it?

Anyway, its an excellent article, two pages so its a short read, but I think its very informative and I recommend you take a look at it.

Signs of the times, food

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

I don’t pretend to understand exactly whats going on in the economy. I understand that the value of the dollar declines and foreign goods become, to us, more expensive. I understand that fuel prices increase and prices of other good increase accordingly to reflect the higher shipping. But, really, much of this is abstract. Its just something you read about. What drives it home for me is that as I putter around town I see more and more businesses closing up and buildings going vacant. In some areas its like a ghost town. That seems much more ‘real’ to me. It’s a bit disturbing…I see new businesses come in and a few months they’re gone. Someone’s dream of prosperity and success chucked into moving truck and the rest into a dumpster. The ‘For Lease’ sign goes back up and its someone elses turn. I suppose it’s a form of economic Darwinism, but its still a bit gloomy to see all these empty commercial spaces and Going Out Of Business signs. It does absolutely nothing to diminish my pessimistic outlook and my desire to play it safe.


Ground up some wheat in the superblender the other day. I tell ya, that VitaMix is living up to its hype around here. Since I have a good bit of wheat tucked away I figured I’d try some cooking with it. In this case, I was interested in a breakfast cereal-type grind. So…dump in a cup of wheat and grind it up to about the consistency of pretzel salt. Recipe calls for 3:1 water:wheat with a little salt. It was interesting. It took about 15 minutes to cook and the result was a chewy, extremely filling cereal. I added a bit of brown sugar and it was quite good. Very satisfying. I figure if I throw in some dehydrated fruit it would make an excellent breakfast. In terms of economics its about…mmmmm…about a dime….for the rather large serving I wound up with. (I used 1/3 cup wheat and 1 cup water and had plenty of cereal..plenty…) Next up will be grinding a much finer grind and mixing it with dehydrated eggs to make pasta dough. After that, we’ll move on to the baking portion of the program.

The local Mormon cannery offers wheat in #10 cans, 5# Mylar bags or in 25# sacks. I have mine in 15-gallon blue barrels but I think next trip I’m going to see if I can get at least a dozen or so cans. I may also pick up another couple blue barrels and load them up as well. Couple hundred pounds oughtta do the trick.

At this point in time, Im fairly content with the amount of food I’ve got squirreled away. It may get boring at times, but I’d say at the very least we’ve got nine months of food put back and, in reality, probably closer to 12-15 months depending on the menu planning. It aint all rice and beans either…theres a goodly amount of rice, to be sure, but theres also pasta, meat, eggs, canned vegetables, MREs, potatoes, etc, etc. Just from a mathematical standpoint the wheat I have on hand right now could, at the rate mentioned in the earlier paragraph, provide breakfast for about a year. Shake it up a little with scrambled eggs, fruit compote, hash, and a few other traditional breakfast foods and I’d say we’ve got The Most Important Meal Of The Day covered for about 14-18 months.

I want to point out that this sort of thing isn’t exclusively an End Of The World stockpile. Very often if theres a product we eat that has a good shelf life and winds up going on sale at a very good price we’ll pick up a rather large quantity of it and rotate it through. The advantage there is that it saves a lot of money and, if things get weird, we have that stockpile sitting here. Its sort of a buffer… Lets say you like canned chili. You use one can a week and its normally $2.79. One day theres a sale..dollar each. You pick up four cases. You now have 96 cans of the stuff. When you want your weekly dose you pull one can from your stash and then replace it with a new one on your next shopping trip. Each week one old can gets used, and one new one gets added. If things turn bad, you’ve got those 96 in reserve.

Of course, this sort of thing only works with stuff that has a decent shelf life but you’d be surprised whats stuffed into a can or retort pouch these days. (Esp. meat…check the canned meats section at your local megamart sometime. Theres some amazing stuff that’s getting put away into room-temperature packaging…shrimp, chicken, turkey, beef, pork…the whole gamut of animal flesh.)

Unfortunately, when you have a mountain of food sitting around its not as simple as just letting it sit there and forgetting about it until you need it. How do you store all this stuff? More on that later….

STG 556, UTM

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Went down to the GunPimp today to just say hi and see what was new. Surprisingly, they actually had something that got me a bit excited. I’d been reading about the new USA-made Steyr AUG clones but gun magazines always review stuff that we never actually get to see in the market place. Gunvaporware, I suppose. Well, this time they had two of these AUG-knockoffs…designated STG 556. One had the integral scope, which I heartily dislike, and the other had the now ubiquitous picatinny rail. Because the gun is a bullpup design theres a good portion of that barrel that’s actually stuffed way back into the receiver. The result is that a 16” barrel sticks out the front of the gun a lot less than 16”. The end product is an extremely short gun. This thing was in the rack next to an assortment of CAR-15’s and M4geries and this gun was easily about 4” shorter. Its pretty much right at the legal minimum overall length limit. This is not a true copy of the AUG…one major difference that left me scratching my head was an AR-style forward assist. The gun does retain some cool AUG features such as quick detachable barrel (which really doesn’t add much to compactness since the thing is so short already), ambidextrous ejection, and fold-up foregrip. It appears that while the mags will work in original Steyrs the reverse is not true so it’s a pretty proprietary mag. Obviously, I didn’t get to shoot the STG 556 but it handled very, very nicely. Its definitely a one-hand gun. I could see it being an extremely nice package for vehicle use, in tight confines, and other situations where a short barrel is useful. Price tag wasn’t cheap…$1700~ for a .223 is a bit much, but an original AUG will go for about twice that and you’d still be stuck with the kludgy integral Steyr optic. If I didn’t have a footlocker full of AR’s I might give one of these things a go, but at this stage in the game I am not adding another magazine into my logistics table. But, if you’ve got the money, it might make a fun addition to the gun collection and turn out to be a very nice shooter. If nothing else its not another M4-knockoff like you see everyone at the range with these days.


I was cleaning my rifle today and, as I sometimes do, I took the opportunity to play with the mil-reticle ranging system. Theres a building a few blocks away with a roof access door that I can see from my shop. Well, I measured my own door which turned out to be an even 36” across (1 yard, right?). I figure the door on the building I was looking at was probably the same width. I ranged it through my scope at about 3 mils. So, the formula is [size of object in yards] x 1000 and then divide that by mils to get range. So: (1yardx1000)/3mils=333.33 yards. Now, how to check that distance. This is where it gets interesting. I use my GPS to take the coordinates of where I was and the coordinates of where I was glassing. Then, using a little Pythagorean math come up with the distance. Here’s how:

(a^2) + (b^2) = (c^2) is the formula

Heres the short version:

Take your position in UTM coords. You get two numbers, your x and y axis. Take the coords of your target, also in an x,y format.

Example: your location is xxx,yyy your target is aaa,bbb.

Subtract xxx from aaa, call that number N

Subtract yyy from zzz, call that number P

If the numbers wind up being negative, ignore the negative sign. We just want the difference between the two numbers.(Meaning if you get –1542 just call it 1542 [Number freaks will remind me that the negative is irrelevant since squaring a negative will always result in a positive])

Now the easy part: (N^2) + (P^2) = LASTNUMBER

Find the square root of LASTNUMBER and that’s your distance in meters.

So, I entered the coords of my shop (where I was cleaning the rifle) and the coords of the building I was scoping and wrote a quick spreadsheet to do the calculations. Result? 348 yards. Off by about 45 feet (15 yards). I attribute that to the difficulty of holding the rifle steady and the crosshairs dancing, also the door is located at the center of the buildings flat roof, not at the edge of the building and the edge of the building is where I stood to get the coordinates…so theres a bit of offset in there.

My point here, however, is that if you use the long/lat coordinate system on your GPS its a lot harder to tell the actual distance between two points. UTM is much, much easier to do math with..unless you can tell me what the difference in miles/yards is between 2 minutes and 32.879 seconds in a hurry.

Its an extremely easy bit of work to come up with a fast spreadsheet to cover the math.

Defence, self defense and those rogue elements

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

So here’s a link to an article about the Brits kinda sorta re-legitimizing self-defense. The article in itself isn’t anything noteworthy. It’s the usual soundbites and domestic politics that you’d encounter in pretty much any First World country. What is interesting, however, are the comments that are posted to the article. More than one subject says how that by legitimizing a homeowners violent actions against a criminal intruder they are ‘escalating’ the arms race and that criminals will now feel a need to be armed when they commit their crimes. “Peace for our time”, indeed.

If taking violent action against criminals results in future criminals feeling the need to arm themselves then your response wasn’t violent enough. Someone bent on breaking into your home and killing you for the coin jar on your dresser should be made to feel that even showing up with a bazooka wouldn’t be enough to keep them from landing on a morgue slab.

No, read the comments and see for yourself the difference in mindsets and attitudes that exist there. On the one side are the Neville Chamberlains willing to give everything to appease and on the other side are the genuine honest-to-god Rambos who think shooting is too good for ‘em. My own opinion is, naturally, somewhere in the middle.

Defense of self? That’s a given. Someone tries to do violent physical damage to me then I have no doubt that anything other than a violent response is warranted. I’d really, really prefer not to but I prefer being in a hospital even less.

Property is another issue. If I look out the window and see someone trying to steal the truck do I prop the AR in the window and shoot them? Probably not, they aren’t threatening me. Do I trot outside with the AR and try to convince them that maybe theres a better career choice for them? Absolutely. If they flip me off and drive away do I send bullets down the road after them? Absolutely not.

On the other hand, theres only a couple circumstances I can forsee where deadly force comes into play regarding property. (And this is my own personal belief paradigm, your mileage may vary.) First is arson, someone tries to set fire to my house I’m going to shoot them. End of story. No ifs ands or buts. If Joe Anarchist is out there with his Molotov martini screaming about “Capitalist swine” and is winding up to take a throw at my front porch, well, then I don’t think anyone would think that shooting him was a bad idea. (Although shooting the flaming bottle in his hand might be more satisfying from an irony standpoint…but I’ll take the easier target, thanks.)

Under normal circumstances I’d say arson is pretty much the only property crime I’d think warranted a bit of trigger time. What about abnormal circumstances? Much trickier. Theres probably guys pushing up daisies in Louisiana who tried to steal a generator out of the wrong garage or who had the misfortune of meeting the owner of the car they were siphoning gas out of. If the property that’s being threatened is property that is critical to my well-being, then I think it might be worth violent defense. They wanna take the garden gnome in the yard? Have at it. They wanna take the stockpile of 5-gallon gas cans? Not so fast, pardner.

Unfortunately history has shown that predations against the prepared do not come exclusively from the ‘normal criminal element’. Sometimes those predations come from people operating under what we have come to call ‘color of authority’. That’s the noble way of saying “A guy with a badge is demanding all my [gasoline/food/shelter]”. Katrina, the defining disaster of recent history, showed police and other ‘authorized personnel’ engaging in behavior that, were it not for the badge on their uniforms, would have almost universally been met with gunfire by most people. The unfortunate truth is that, by and large, no one gets into a violent confrontation with the police and gets away with it. If the cops kick in the door to the gun shop and say they’re taking the guns ‘for safekeeping’ and the owner says ‘no way’ and points a gun in their direction how do you think that’s going to end? The chief of police walks in, sees the uniform guys on the floor and says to the shop owner ‘sorry about that, we were gonna fire these guys anyway’? Nope. The cops bring more cops, there may or may not be a fatal fusillade, and the result is the shopowner, if he’s lucky, gets a few years in jail instead of being taken out in a bag with the local gendarmes shrugging and saying ‘we were just trying to do a job and the guy went nuts’. Part of staying safe is knowing when to pick your battles. Probably 99% of the time its better to smile and say ‘yes sir’ than to dig in your heels and face a virtually certain (and probably final) defeat. But wait…hows that different than those Neville Chamberlains in the comments to the article mentioned above? They want to give up the goods to the criminals to prevent a nasty consequence…isn’t that what your advocating? Hey, if Im being hypocritical then tell me… If Im walking down the street and someone points a knife at my belt buckle and says ‘gimme’ then, yes, we’re going to have some exciting moments. Unless, of course, the guy with the knife has three of his friends standing behind him idly playing with their lengths of pipe and baseball bats. Then its “I don’t want trouble. Here you go.” Im no dummy, and Im betting you aren’t either. When you think the odds are on your side, you fight. When the odds are against you…well, different story. (And, sure, there are times the odds are against you and you’re still probably going to’ll lose, but maybe that’s better than not fighting at all. Winston Churchill [who would probably slap the face of the average Brit politician if he met them today] has a rather famous quote that is somewhat applicable.)

Under threat from ‘rogue elements’ of the local PD (or military, or .gov) you really don’t have much choice except to go to ground and stay out of the way…(unless you have a very, very large amount of armed friends on your side who are willing to go all the way on this). Theres a bloody good reason Im not keen on ‘the authorities’ knowing what I have socked away for that Rainy Day…because I don’t want them showing up on my doorstep ‘requisitioning’ my stuff. I believe it was in Massachusetts a while back when they had some nasty blizzard and massive snowfall. Owners of four-wheel drive vehicles had their rides ‘commandeered’ for the emergency. As you would expect, some cars took a while to get returned, some had damage, and some never got returned. (Same thing in Katrina, by the way, car dealerships lost a lot of stock and the cops had some mighty nice rides. Hmmm.)

Anyway, back to the original paragraph – read the article and read the comments that are posted to it. Its an interesting example of different mindsets. While you’re at it, if you want to, give some thought to what you’d do when ‘the man’ shows up and asks why you’re the only house in the area with electricity and water and do you mind if we use your place as our command area? Hint: he’s not really asking, that’s why theres a couple deputies standing behind him on the lawn.

The Japs have a saying, the nail that sticks up gets hammered down. Sometimes you just need to know when to keep a low profile, have your gear safely hidden, and to look as uninteresting as possible.

Sure, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. More often though, the squeaky wheel is yanked off the axle, frog-marched out of the yard and made an example of to the other wheels, and then its place is taken by a nice, new, quiet wheel.

Stay off .gov’s radar as best you can and avoid the whole confrontation. Sure, volunteer for your local disaster services or something. Make a difference, learn some valuable skills, network a bit…but keep it under your hat that you’re better prepared than they are or you will get the visit someday when a flustered local ‘emergency management’ guy shows up on your doorstep and asks if maybe they can borrow your generator…and some fuel..and your truck…and that radio…..

Firefighting, Platypus, banking

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

The summer fire season that had been so quiet was finally made un-quiet with a large (several hundred acre) grass fire on the mountain on the edge of town. I live far from that area and there was never any threat at all to my own property, but it does make one think about fire issues.

Short of installing an in-home sprinkler system (which is actually done in some new construction) some sort of home fire-fighting setup may be worth investigating. Every yahoo has a hose bib and a garden hose coiled up in their yard. Im not necessarily thinking of external fire issues (which I’ve mentioned in the past) but rather internal ones…like your toaster oven setting your kitchen on fire, that sort of thing. It would be nice to take off a line from the water pipes and have a hose bib under the sink or in a closet where I could leave a small coil of compact, flat hose.

But, realistically, I need to upgrade the fire extinguishers both in size and quantity. We have the usual small fire extinguishers scattered around the house but I think I’ll upgrade to the larger, more ….capacitious… extinguishers.

The other thing I’d like to pick up are a couple of stirrup pumps. If you’re not familiar with these things you should take the time to check them out. They were popular in London during the blitz. They are hand-operated pumps that look a lot like a bicycle pump. You stick it in a bucket, theres a stirrup that hangs outside the bucket for you to stand on and hold the pump steady, and then you pump with one hand and aim the hose with the other. The idea was that when water pressure was down (or pipes destroyed) you could grab a bucket of water and pump the water yourself in a high pressure stream to where you needed it. Ideally, someone would grab a bucket and refill yours as you use it. Major Surplus used to sell these things all the time. I spent a bit of time Googling away and discovered that even the surplus ones are difficult to find and there are no newly manufactured ones. There are stirrup pumps used in boating for bailing out the boat, but they aren’t designed for high-stream pressure.

How hard can it be to find a firefighting stirrup pump, right? You just whip out the ol’ Google and let ‘er rip, right? Wrong. I found a couple military surplus ones but finding a new one was quite difficult. I found one source but its built in Germany and I haven’t found a US source yet. I would think that with a handful of Home Depot plumbing parts you could probably build one of your own.

The old Forest Service-style backpack system is still available and might be useful but the stirrup pump would allow you to simply move to another full bucket whereas the Indian pump would require you to refill its reservoir. Hmmmm..


Im still trying out the Platypus water bottle. In digging through the honeymoon pictures from Alaska it turns out theres a picture of me examining the ranger’s bottle. I’m funny that way, when I see a gathering of people in an outdoor environment I always wind up checking out their gear to see who has the WalMart made-in-China bags and who has the London Bridge stuff. Anyway, thus far Im pleased with the Platypus bottle, but Im still on the fence about how I like it more/less than the hard Nalgene bottle.


Everyone’s friend and career scumbag Charles Schumer made a comment about the IndyMac institution a few weeks ago and, according to some folks, triggered a bank run that left the institution short of cash and a target of seizure by the feds. Chuck, whom I have actually listened to in person, dismissed the notion that he had any hand in the bank run and that if IndyMac had been playing straight this wouldn’t have happened. Hmmmm. Im not going to get into Schumers long history of camera-hogging sound-biting self-promotion, nor am I going to get into IndyMacs lending practices…all I want to point out is that a bank doesn’t have to be on the ropes to fail. All you need is to start a rumour or buzz that its about to fail, people line up for their money, other people see the lines and jump in also, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Do I think you should not use banks at all? No, I don’t. But I think that you may want to keep a good chunk of your money on hand in your gun safe so if your bank does shut its doors for a week you’re not screwed too badly. Besides, at 1.5% interest why would you keep your money in the bank anyway?

Doomed, Platypus, .22 mags

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

The more I look at the people in the world around me, the more I watch the news, the more I listen to talk radio, the more I peruse political discussion groups the more I come to the conclusion that I and people who think like me are truly doomed. We’re outnumbered and politically outgunned, it really does seem like the only recourse is to retreat to some enclave and self-govern. An American Taiwan, almost. (And, yes, Taiwan is actually an exclave, not an enclave.) There is no point even discussing things with the unaware..the people in adjustable rate mortgages with two cars and a jet ski who cant understand how they’re slipping into bankruptcy. The time to convince people to head to the lifeboats has passed, now its time to start thinking about how to keep them from swamping the one I’m in. Food prices are up, ammo prices are up, fuel prices are up, unemployment is up, theres a no-win election coming and theres a definite ‘negative vibe’ in the air. Is it any wonder I feel like the sky is falling? I’m pessimistic enough that I believe things are either going to remain the same (which isn’t all that great) or get worse. Get better? Sure, someday but not anytime soon. And, of course, you gotta make it through the bad times in one piece in order to make it to the better times. So…while my belief in the immediate future being better is diminished, my resolve for us to get through it comfortably is not. Just wish it wasn’t so darn expensive.


While on my Alaska honeymoon trip, I visited one of the many glaciers that were tourist traps. While looking around (I always check out peoples gear) I noticed one of the park rangers with a Platypus-brand flexible water bottle. I had seen beverages packaged in a similar manner and recalled thinking how cool that sort of thing would be for a collapsible canteen. As we all know, one of the problems with a rigid canteen or nalgene bottle is that when they are less-than-full they slosh. Sometimes you just don’t want that kinda noise following you around. Additionally, they take up as much room when they are empty as when they are full. The CamelBak-type systems take care of these problems handily but sometimes they are a rather bulky system. So…I picked up one of these Platypus containers and am trying it out. It quite obviously is not going to be as durable as the Nalgene bottles but it should hold up pretty well. The gal I was talking to at the glacier said she’d had hers for quite a while and had no problems with it. Even after just using it for a few days I can see some deficiencies. The cap is non-captive and can get lost…on the other hand, the cap off most 20 oz. Soft drink bottles seems to fit just fine as a cheap replacement. There is no attachment point for a lanyard, which is kinda annoying. Also, although it holds as much as a Nalgene bottle, it’s “footprint” is a bit bigger. Pockets designed to hold a Nalgene bottle may require you to squeeze and maneuver the flexible Platypus ‘bottle’ to get it to fit. However, I do like it. When its empty it rolls up into a compact package and can be tucked out of the way. This means that if you want to make, for example, an emergency bag in as small a package as possible you could keep a couple of these things rolled up and stashed away and then fill them when you need to. Coupled with a RolyPoly-type carrying pouch these might make excellent gear to keep in a ‘minimalist’ bugout-bag. Price, by the way, is about the same as for a Nalgene bottle.


Even with keeping my shooting down to .22LR, its still darn expensive to spend a day at the range. I have a decent stockpile of .22 ammo but Im determined to get more. Even the .22 ammo has gun up recently so there is no reason I can think of not to stock up on it now. Its going to cost more next year, so why wouldn’t I buy it now? If I could free up the cash I’d head to WallyWorld and grab a hundred bucks worth. Speaking of….buy your Ruger 10/22 mags now, kids. RamLine are good and, surprisingly, so are the inexpensive Eagle-brand mags. Usually $10 for the Eagles and they work great. Mag bans are not off the table, so lets be ready, mmmkay?