Return of ‘V’?

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

Remember V? The sci-fi show with allegorical references to fascism and Nazis? Looks like it may be coming back.

Even with Marc Singers way-too-tight-pants the show was enjoyable. Heck, any show that provides a platform for gunpaly, resistance movement tactics, and cautionary tales of government evil can’t be bad, right?

And, of course, Sybil Danning was just icing on the cake.

Unfortunately, televison shows that fit into the ’specialized interests’ of you and I havent fared very well. I enjoyed ‘Jericho’ quite a bit and was disappointed at how it changed in the second season. Other shows like Freedom, V and, quite probably, Sarah Connor Chronicles never seem to last very long.

Still, I’ll be interested in seeing how this ‘reboot’ of ‘V’ turns out. Be nice if the keep the hamster-swallowing scenes in it.

Star Trek tech

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

Remember the Star Trek movie with the whales? Scotty and McCoy need to build a holding tank and they find a manufacturer who can build it for them and in the process is given the instructions for ‘transparent aluminum‘? (Scotty – “How do we know he didnt invent it?”)

Turns out its real. And being played with by the Air Force.

I know that theres been some movement in the development of transparent concrete, but I thought transparent aluminum was just going to stay in the realm of Star Trek for the forseeable future.

Mmmmm…a helmet visor made of the stuff would be pretty swell. To say nothing of using it as a coating for solar panels.

Grocery savings, economy, salt

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

Local college newsrag had an article on saving money while grocery shopping. Their reporter (journalism student, actually) went to a half-dozen supermarkets around town and compared the prices on particular items. Hands down, the winner in about 90% of the cases was WalMart. In some cases the difference in prices was over 100%.

Some people give WalMart a ration of crap because they pay their people poorly, don’t offer benefits, eat babies, and kick puppies. I genuinely don’t care. If you work at WalMart and feel you’re getting a raw deal, go work somewhere else. Me paying an extra $3/# on chicken to their competitor isn’t going to help me or them.

Anyway, it was good to see that what I’ve suspected all along was right – I have been shopping at the cheapest place in town. Money saved means more food on the shelves, more fuel in the tank, more money in the safe, more ammo in the bunker. I’m not ashamed to say that I try to save as much money as I can on purchases.


I continue to watch the market like everyone else. There seems to be no middle ground on this one…people either see this as the beginning of the end or they see it as being overblown by a media that feeds on panic and alarm. As usual, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Is it the end of the world? Objectively, no. Subjectively, maybe. Me and the girlfriend will probably be just fine. We don’t have a lot of money in the market, our debt load is quite manageable, we have plenty of everything we need, and we don’t live a life of expensive frivolity. For us, this isn’t the end of the world…if anything, its confirmation that we’ve made some smart lifestyle choices. There may be a stretch or two where we’ll gripe about heating costs or food prices, but we should come out on top.

The fella that spent too much on his house, owns a $45,000 truck, has two kids and a stay at home mom, $25k in credit card debt and just got laid off? He’s screwed. Its TEOTWAWKI for him in a big way. Stand clear of him ‘cause when he goes he’s gonna go hard and he’s gonna go loud.

If I were a gambling man, a betting man, an opportunistic man, a visionary man, a calculating man….I might think that this is the time to buy into the market and sit on the acquisitions for a few years. After all, we buy stuff when its on sale, right? Think of this as the big after-holiday sale you normally see at the mall. Wanna buy some GE, Ford, IBM, Sears, FedEx and DuPont? Might be the time. Certainly gold and silver have been acting…odd.

No one seems to have any real quantity of precious metal (PM) on hand. Demand is high, supply is, apparently, low…so the prices….don’t go up? That’s not the economic theory Ive known. And yet…the prices of PM’s continue to NOT reflect the current economic situation. Go figure. If you’ve ever wanted to sink a few bucks into the stuff, now might be the time…assuming you can find some.


Right now, I’m sinking money into the basics.

Food – stuff the girlfriend and I eat that normally keeps for quite a while. Canned and jarred food. Dried mixes and food. Meat for the freezer when its on sale. Canning supplies. Toiletries.

Fuel – Gas continues to drop. Cheapest Ive seen here in town is $3.23/regular. I’ve another two fuel cans to fill. When that’s done I’ll feel satisfied in our potential to have mobility if needed and electricity if we ever get a generator. Winter is coming and we still have plenty of kerosene for the heaters and lamps..the result of seizing a buying opportunity about five years ago.

Ammo and guns – even if the economy were perfect right now, Id still do this. Its an election year. Guns, mags, ammo in that order. (Because the guns get banned first, then the magazines for those guns to cripple the existing supply of them, and the ammo is usually last) Plus ammo prices have done nothing but increase. Dollar-cost-average it out and buy a couple boxes a week.

Money – Yeah, its devaluing as we speak. Then it stops devaluing and goes up. Then the fed dumps a few billion in new money into the market and it devalues some more. But its still handy to have, so I try to stick what I can in a corner of the gun safe. If I had enough to spare, Id dump some of it into silver. There is absolutely no logical reason I can think of to keep it in the bank. None whatsoever. I’ll trade 1.25% interest (at an official 4% inflation rate) against 24-hour/7-day ‘bank holiday’ proof access.

Wanna know a secret? This is stuff you should do anyway even if the economy were roaring like a freight train on the golden tracks to prosperity. Especially then…when the cost of preparing is more easily borne. Keep debt to an absolute minimum, live within your means, stick something away for a rainy day, prepare for a rough patch…stick with that program and you’ll probably never know a true crisis.


 I’m minding my own business, when the girlfriend tells me were outta salt. Salt? Yes, salt. The white crystally stuff we sprinkle on eggs…salt. Well, its just as easy to buy a 25# bag of the stuff as it is to buy a 1# cardboard container of it. Soooooo….picked up 25# at CostCo, broke it down into 5# servings, filled five vaccuum sealer bags with it and sealed it up. Labelled and dated ‘em, slapped a label and GammaSeal on a new 5-gallon bucket, put it all together and it now rests in the bunker with the sugar, corn, wheat, rice, eggs, etc. that are all bulk packaged. Given the rather cheap price of salt, it doesnt make sense to not have alrge quantity of it around…its uses include the usual seasonings, scouring, making saline solutions, preserving meat, use as a dentrifice, etc, etc. “Alas Babylon” goes into it at some length…and if youre in a warm climate where you can work up a hellacious sweat in the summer youre definitely gonna want to have some salt laid back. So….we now have a decent supply of the stuff.

This is how you run out of storage space………

MH group buy update

Well, my bank called me last night and asked about some ‘suspicious activity’ and did I really authorize a $4500 transaction? Checked my balances this morning and , sure enough, $4500 is marked as having gone to Oregeon Freeze Dried (aka MH). So….MH is paid in full and they said it should ship Monday whcih means Im gonna say the stuff should be at the shop by the end of next week. It appears we are quite on track and things are going as planned.

Further updates as warranted.

Fiction rambling

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

I kinda sorta fancy myself a connoisseur of post-apocalypse fiction. With one or two exceptions I’ve pretty much read them all. As of late I’ve been reading a few different ones but I always find myself drawn back to “Alas Babylon”. I hadn’t given it much thought, but that’s the one book of the genre that usually finds its way to my nightstand more than any other. I think the reason is because if you look at 99% of the fiction out there its just one long shoot-em-up after another. “Alas Babylon” has one major shootout and it isn’t nearly as detailed as contemporary ones, where every characters gun is lovingly described in the most painstaking detail. (Does it matter if the bad guy is shot with a ‘revolver’ rather than a ‘six-inch Metalifed Colt Python’?) I understand that the majority of readers of this genre would happily identify themselves as ‘gun nuts’ (although I prefer the term ‘Ballistic-American’) and therefore theres going to be a certain amount of ‘fan service’ in the form of major gunplay. However, I think many times it detracts from the story. Every so often, to amuse myself, I’ll pick up a recently published book and count how many pages I can randomly turn to before I find one that doesn’t have the word “gun”, “ammo”, “shoot”, “rifle” or some other firefight boilerplate in it. Not easy.

Some books pretty much dispense with the pretext and just generally devolve into gun pr0n. The classic example is Ahern’s “The Survivalist” series which was a lot of fun to read in my teens but now comes across as just formulaic pulp.(But I do admit to re-reading it sometimes for nostalgia’s sake.) A worse example (or, more accurately, a better example of worse behavior) would be Johnstone’s monotonous “Ashes” series. I genuinely believe each book was identical with only locations, names and ‘threat of the month’ being changed from book to book. Its end was unusuaully unglamorous and the authors new works didn’t seem to have anything new except a bizarre and uncharacteristic religious overtone. The only truly notable thing about Johnstone’s book was its promotion of a political philosophy that for a while had some rather devoted followers.

The end of western civilization will certainly have its violent moments, no doubt. However, I don’t think it will constantly be a day-to-day gunbattle with roving biker gangs and UN/federal/foreign troops as suggested by most contemporary fiction. I’ve become more interested in the more mundane aspects of preparedness and like to see how they’re handled in fiction … lack of refrigeration, medical care, fuel shortages, etc, etc.

Now, before anyone calls me a hypocrite, I freely admit to having some modest amounts of firearms and ammo tucked away. I may not believe the end of the world will be one long running gunbattle but I figure it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared in case I’m wrong. While we’re on the subject of fiction, Im going to recommend a book that isn’t necessarily TEOTWAWKI but still has some value – Starship Troopers, by Heinlein. The book has almost nothing to do with preparedness per se, but does give much food for thought regarding why we fight and sacrifice, live within codes of conduct, etc, etc. For the love of Crom, don’t think the book has anything to do with the craptacular movies of the same name. Read the book. Skip the movies.

MH Group buy

Ok, there was a minor delay as I had to let some checks clear, but the ball is in play. Order should ship out Monday and I am told there does not appear to be any backorders. Keep in mind, this can change as they actually put the thing together, though.
Updates as they happen.

Sunday ramblings

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

The gun show was fun, as always. And, also as always, a bit interesting. Gun shows during an election year are always fascinating because you see alot of purchasing habits that normally aren’t present during a non-election year. Now, couple this with the general feelings of unease that many people have regarding the economy and the current state of world affairs and you have a recipe for some good people-watching.

It was nice to see the return of the Saiga-12 shotguns…for a while they were pretty tough to find. There was even a 20-rd drum available for it. That was…tempting.

Ammo was expensive, as usual. Wolf ammo was represented and non-Wolf .223 was largely absent except for small amounts of Fed and Win.

AR mags were in decent supply as were AK and HK mags. ARs and AKs were present in slightly less-than-normal quantities.

MRE’s were completely absent.

I saw all the usual faces (and some of the usual guns) and had a nice time.

After that, it was a trip to the local gold/silver shop. Wanna buy silver? Wanna buy gold? No one seems to have actual physical possession of any salable quantity. THat means if you walked into the shop and said ‘gimme 100 1 oz. coins’ the dealer would most likely say ‘three weeks’. Demand is quite high…so high that apparently theres a premium for immediate delivery. So…demand is high, supply is apparently limited and the price….remains low? Thats not the economic theory I grew up with. Quite obviously something I dont understand going on there.

Then I open todays paper and theres a full page article from some travelling metals merchant saying he’ll be buying scrap silver, gold, coins, etc. at a couple local venues. Hmmmm.

And then there is this gem: A 90 year old woman shot herself when her home went into foreclosure. She survived. Fannie Mae, now owned by .gov, which had her mortgage has forgiven it. This is respopnsible government management of a mortgage agency? Emotional blackmail gets you a free pass on your mortgage? They just paid off this womans mortgage with taxpayer money out of some sense of …guilt? No wonder theyre going broke.

Buckle your seatbelts, its gonna be a bumpy ride.

Bulk mags, gun school, auto shotguns

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

Here’s how you can tell its an election year:


People start ordering AR mags in cases of 200. And, yes, those are orange anti-tilt followers.


I was chatting with someone the other day and we were discussing shooting instruction. I’ve been to a couple classes by Pat Goodale and I recommend him without reservation. Not only will he teach you whatever you want (”Ok, we have some extra time..who wants to learn team tactics?”), he’s an exceptional value and a terrific instructor. When Ive gone, the price of the ammo we shot off was more than the cost of taking the class. He usually runs classes in VA and MT, but if you get enough people together for a class, he’ll come to you. Unlike some instructors, he’ll teach the tactical military/cop stuff to non-military/cops which is rather nice. Heres his website: Practical Firearms Training


Gun show this weekend and its nice to see the Saiga-12 shotguns are starting to show up again. Not only were the guns and the 10-rd mags available there was also a 20 round drum there as well. Many years ago, before ATF got their panties in a twist, I had a StreetSweeper and came really close to buying an USAS-12 at a gun show in Helena. Unfortunately, the arbitrary actions by the nosebleeds at ATF kinda put the damper on the hi-cap, semi-auto shotgun market. There were a few half hearted magazine conversions for pump guns but thats not really the same thing. For sheer volume of lead, the Saiga-12 with a drum looks like the way to go. With one of those and a couple drums I could put more metal into the air than NASA. However, a little research shows that turning the ’sporter’ Saiga-12 into a more practical gun isnt simply a matter of swapping furniture. Apparently to accomodate the ’sporter’ stock, the trigger is moved back and restoring a pistol grip would require moving the trigger forward…a bit of work. Still….the girlfriend and I are both very covetous of this cannon and it wouldnt surprise me if we wind up with one at some point.

Linkage, bailout, gun show

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

Well, first order of business today is some linkage. Someone posted in comments a post or two back and linked to their homepage about food storage. I went and perused through it and was extremely impressed. So, lemme share:

Lotsa neat info and, more importantly, lotsa recipes using food stoage – with photos! This is a big deal to me because its to easy to pick up some book and have it spell out recipes using food storage and you wonder what its gonna look like and will it look anything like stuff made using non-storage food. Wonder no more! Book mark this one and read through it. Big thumbs up! Further evidence the Mormons are still the Shaolin masters of Prep Fu.


Im watching the news about the its-not-a-bailout bailout. Apparently what started as a grossly expensive but fairly simple bill has now become an obscenely expensive and terribly long pork-laden bill. Shades of the Patriot Act.

There is a mighty rumbling from the public on this one and it may be too much for the politicians to ignore.

Some people opine that even if this bill passes it merely prolongs the inevitable. This is the ‘correction’ we’ve heard about it. Better we should deal with it now rather than later. Mmmmm….maybe. I like to think this is a wakeup call to everyone who has been living fast and loose witht heir money and hope maybe they’ll start thinking like responsible adults but whats the chance of that happening?


Gun show this weekend. Must. Not. Spend. Money.