Lamps, health care, vanishing businesses

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

Was cruising through the ‘second hand/junk/antique’ shops the other day with a buddy and while most of the stuff in those places is useless crap I did come across a couple goodies. In addition to the cheesey decorative oil lamps I found a pair pf Aladdin lamps..a Model C and a Model 12. $45 each, but I’ve no doubt I could shave a few bucks off them if I took the pair.

I have a couple of the Aladdin kerosene lamps and I’ve been pleased with them. They don’t put out as much light as a conventional 60-watt bulb but they put out far more light than those ribbon-wick decorative lamps you see out there. A nice side bonus, at least during the winter months, is that they produce a healthy amount of heat as well.

For my needs, the Aladdin lamps work best with a lampshade to diffuse the light. It’s the difference between a bare bulb hanging from a ceiling and a normal light fixture. One is much more stark and harsh, the other more pleasant and even.

There are brighter lamps out there, mostly the pressurized ones. But I find them noisy and they require more attention than the simple non-pressurized lamps. Kerosene, a terrific fuel for storage, is the obvious choice for us since we have the lamps, heaters and stoves.

Although I really appreciate the kerosene lamps that I have, they really may not be the most efficient alternative to normal lighting. The advances in LED technology really make LED’s the first choice for simple indoor emergency lighting. Aladdin sells a conversion unti that screws into the oil lamps to let them use electricity and a bulb. I wonder how hard it would be to convert one of those to a few high output LED’s and rechargeable D-batts. If I could get a comparable amount of light and runtime (one D-batt equaling one filled tank of kerosene or some similar ratio) then it would make sense to head in that direction.
The current suicide charge by the Obama administration towards universal health care reminds me of a WW2 movie where fanatic Japanese run up the hill into machine gun fire. Troops fall away until theres only a handful of guys at the top of the hill, the original formidable force reduced to a handful of survivors who have no chance now that their numbers have been thinned. Same thing here…theyre stripping away parts of their plan and patching in others in a desperate attempt to get it passed. The final version wont look anything like what it started out as. And the notion that congress is holding it up to get gimme’s for their votes is, to me, reprehensible. Someone who voted against it initially suddenly changes his tune when $200 million in highway finds gets funneled to his state. That is just blatantly corrupt. If you thought it was a bad idea on first face, why would you suddenly think it’s a good idea after getting a load of cash parachuted into your state?

Fact is, though, the administration has hung their hat on this issue and if they don’t pass it they’ve squandered a huge amount of political capital. Thus, it has to pass at all costs. Will it? I hope it won’t, but I think it will. I’m sure that there are briefs being prepared as we speak to challenge all sorts of things in this plan if it passes.

What does this have to do with the price of Glocks in Montana, you may ask? Don’t look at the health care plan itself. Look at how it’s being ramrodded through, instead. They have the ability and the determination to make this legislation into law and they are willing to do anything to make it happen. Theyre cutting back room deals, handing out taxpayer money, granting favors, making threats, and adopting an ‘at any cost’ attitude. Now, imagine if the bill wasn’t about health care but about, say, reclassifying your AR as a destructive device…or a nationwide handgun registration scheme…or national ID card…or mandatory DNA recordkeeping…or a national sales tax…or any other issue that you and I feel strongly about. Theyre showing that if they feel strongly enough on an issue they will do whatever it takes, throw whoever they need to under the bus, spend as much money as they want, demonize whoever they need to, to make it happen. Imagine that same energy and ruthlessness directed towards an issue you feel strongly about. Scary stuff.
I read an article today about a trucking company that vanished. Drivers were hauling loads and suddenly found their gas cards cut off and messages telling them to turn their rigs in at the nearest terminal or dealership where they would be given a bus ticket home. It had a very “Atlas Shrugged” feel to it. Im sort of unsurprised, I’ve seen local businesses that folded in the same abrupt manner – employees show up at work on Monday morning and find a note on the door saying that the business is closed for good. I cant even begin to imagine what goes through someones head at a moment like that. We’re all familiar with the oft-touted statement that the average American is only two paychecks away from living in a cardboard box. So here you are, thinking you have a job, you don’t have any real savings, you have a car payment due and you need to get groceries…and when you arrive at your place of work you find the lights off, the furnishings gone and the phone disconnected. Now what? A sign of the times.

The current economic situation is a sad thing, to be sure. Folks are losing their jobs and businesses are going under. But, like new growth after a forest fire, when the economy turns around I think you’ll see tremendous opportunity and potential. Retail space will be a buyers market, the number of businesses vying for sales in many markets will have thinned, new businesses will generate new business, quality employees will be available and eager to work, etc. The trick, of course, is to still be standing once the battle is over so you can take advantage of the ‘new era’ that will follow. That’s going to be the big challenge.

It won’t all roses and light, though. I think everyone is going to be amazingly cautious. Like death camp survivors who spend the rest of their lives never wasting food, I think that once the current economic crisis is over everyone, people and businesses, will be extremely cautious in their spending. It’s to be expected, I think. A business survives by the skin of its teeth so theyre not going to be in any hurry to suddenly take on new loads of debt…in fact, I’d think they’d try to keep their debt load as low as possible while stockpiling as much cash as possible to keep them afloat in case things go south again. Contrarily, some businesses (and individuals) may see the end of the crisis as a perfect opportunity to snatch up things at bargains…businesses, real estate, overhead, inventories, etc, etc.


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

I need boots. I bought a pair of Danners about, oh, six or seven years ago and they served me well. Excellent product. But, as time went by, they wore out and I’ve never found another pair that I liked. I really like the Danners, theyre excellent boots, but as I looked over their selection it seemed that the majority were made in China and if possible, i try to buy US made….or at least from non-Commie countries.

So while in the local sporting goods store today I discovered that theyre having a sale on Danners. I want a good pair of hunting boots. Real rough-n-tumble, end-of-the-world, march-to-hell-and-back boots. Danner does make an American made pair that seem to fit the bill. Oddly, they are called ‘Canadian‘….so not necessarily made by communists, but still with a socialist flavor….

Anyway…MSRP is $315. But theyre on sale for $198….1/3 off. Way I figure it, if I wear them in hunting season and in the uber-crappy weather and snow here they should last me at least four or five years.

Now I just gotta figure out how to come up with $200 to get these things before a) they sell out of them in my odd size and b) before they go off sale.

But, oh, nice nice boots.

Cold musings

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

Oy. The botom fell out of the thermometer the other night. I believe it was around -5 that morning with not much improvement forecast through the day. Those of you in the warmer climates will shudder at the thought, coming from a place where 50 degrees is considered ‘cold’ and a half inch of snow shuts down the roads. Honestly, once you get below five degrees or so, it pretty much feels the same.

Cold weather like this means two things to me: time to defrost the freezer (since I can simply set the contents outside while the freezer defrosts) and time to test cold weather gear.

Over the years I’ve found, through trial and error, things that work for me. All that stuff you hear about wool being great for cold weather, continues to insulate when wet, etc, etc, etc? Mostly true. Wool is some great stuff and the sheep deserve a round of applause. The truly fabulous thing about wool is that it was the material of choice for most of the worlds military forces when it came to cold weather. You can pick up a surplus catalog like Sportsmans Guide HQ (not the regular Sportsmans Guide, mind you) and find all sorts of wool pants, wool shirts, wool coats, wool gloves and wool hats at ridiculously low prices…and they work very well for keeping you warm. A friend of mine gave me a pair of surplus military wool pants that didn’t fit him anymore and they were warm, warm, warm. Wore them hunting this year and they performed wonderfully.

On the other hand, wool has a few minuses. Its scratchy as hell most of the time. You really need to wear something under it. Some folks are allergic to wool and I feel bad for them…theyre shut out from all this cool, cheap surplus. Wool is heavy. New wool is expensive. (The Filson coat I want is about $300…on the other hand, it will literally last a lifetime) However, if, like me, you need to keep close watch on the pennies then surplus wool is the most bang for your buck when it comes time to keep warm.

Are there other options than wool? Absolutely. And like everything else, theres some tradeoffs. Goose down is pretty much the last word for insulative clothing but its rather expensive and does nothing for you when wet. Plus any tears in the fabric shell makes you look like youre molting. Synthetics are doing a great job these days and they work when wet but they also tend to be expensive. To me, the ideal would be a two- or three-part layer system: a windproof/waterproof/rugged outer shell capable of being worn alone, a middle insulative layer capable of being worn alone or integrated with the other layers, and perhaps a nice lightweight base layer. Im sure theres such clothing out there but Im also sure that it’ll cost upwards of several hundred dollars. On the other hand, whats it worth to be warm and functional when its -15 out?

I can’t say enough about a thick pair of wool socks except that wearing a cotton sock under them makes things a bit more comfy. When its been outrageously cold and snowy I’ve worn GoreTex socks, then wool socks under that, then cotton socks under that. Warm and dry but you better loosen the laces on your boots.

The best things I’ve found for the hands are wool mittens and then a waterproof/windproof shell over them. Outdoor Research made the overmitts that I keep in my bag and they are terrific. One of the surplus catalogs had a sale on vinyl-type overmittens a few years back and I bought a few dozen pairs. Pulled over a pair of cotton or wool mittens they do an excellent job of keeping things dry and warm…best part is that they were so cheap they can be regarded as disposable.

The single most versatile piece of cold weather gear I’ve ever encountered is the polypro neck gaiter. I got mine from Brigade Quartermaster over twenty years ago. Its just a tube of thick polypro fleece about a foot or so long. You wear it as a neck gaiter but you can also wear it as a hat, hood, headband, facemask, etc, etc. It is the most useful piece of cold weather kit I’ve found and I try not to be without one. There are other brands and whatnot out there but I stick with the “SAS Headover” from BQ just out of nostalgia’s sake.

Cold can be pretty debilitating if youre not geared up for it. Having to change a tire when all youre wearing is a business suit or casual clothes can be quite the ordeal. Once the cold weather kicks in I throw a stuff sack in my backpack with my ‘extra’ cold weather gear. I’ve posted pictures and descriptions of it in the past but, essentially, it’s a utility pouch containing wool mittens, overmittens, scarf, neck gaiter, thick watchcap and a couple hand warmers. I also usually stuff an extra hat and mittens in there ‘just in case’ anyone with me is lacking. The whole thing stuffs down into a package about the size of a 2-liter pop bottle but it has come in very handy on those days where the day started out at 50 degrees and ended with wind, snow and ten degrees.

I won’t go on about keeping a blanket and other cold weather gear in your vehicle because that’s pretty much Winter 101 and you should have taken care of that already. When we upgraded our down comforter in the bedroom the old one got relegated to emergency duty in the truck. It gets stuffed into an old pillowcase and sits behind the seats. And, because Im a suspenders-and-a-belt kind of guy, theres also one of those great surplus military wool blankets back there as well. They take up little space and will make a tremendous difference if we ever have the misfortune to get stuck along the side of the road. (And, yes, theres other gear back there for that too.)

Power outages, at least in this neck of the woods, are more common in the cold months than the warm months. In the warm months the problem is usually a forest fire eating the transmission lines. In the winter its usually ice weighing down the wires, people careening into power poles, or some other weather related mishap. The good thing about the winter outages is that usually the refrigerated and frozen foods will be just fine if you set them outside. The bad news, of course, is that if you cant heat your house the pipes will burst and you might freeze to death.

When the power does go out around here, it’s pointless to try and heat the whole house. Pick a room and make that your primary living space. We have a few small propane heaters but the main thrust of our BTU supply are the kerosene heaters. We have two. One is to keep in the basement to keep things above freezing so the pipes don’t burst, the other is for whatever living space we’re in. We have a goodly amount of kerosene and propane on hand so that we should be able to muddle through the average outage. In my years here the longest one we’ve had was maybe eight or ten hours. However, we live in the second most populous city in Montana…infrastructure here is a bit more high priority than it is in, say, Wolf Point or some other middle-of-nowhere place. There are plenty of folks we know who live in places where if the power goes out you can figure the time to restoration is measured in days, maybe even weeks.

The best strategy, by the by, for surviving intense cold weather and blizzard conditions? Stay home. Call in to work, say youre not coming in, turn up the thermostat, fix some tea or coffee and sit in front of the computer until it’s over. This is the same strategy for pretty much every emergency: don’t be there.

Like everything else, cold weather isn’t a problem if youre prepared for it.


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

So I’m in the kitchen, minding my own business, making a bowl of cornflakes. Milk? Check. Corn flakes? Check? Sugar? Uh…hmmm…the sugar container is only about 7% full. I sprinkle some sugar on my corn flakes and then ponder the options. I could gear up, head over to Albertsons and pick up some sugar. But its 9:30 PM and about 2 degrees out. Not appealing. I could mark ’sugar’ on the shopping list for next time and hope I make a shopping trip before any large quantity of sugar is needed for something.

But thats for other folks. The unprepared. The sheep. For me, I simply pull up the stepstool, climb up to the high cabinets in the kitchen and open up one of them. Lo! Behold! Several 5# bags of sugar in vacuum-sealed bags to keep out the moisture and bugs! Pull one down, crack it open, refill container and life goes on.

See, this is exactly how preparedness pays off in a non-EOTWAWKI way. I remember wandering through Albertsons a year or so ago and they had an endcap that was just a pallet stacked high with these 5# bags of sugar like they were sandbagging against a flood. I think it was $2 per bag so, naturally, I grabbed 50# worth. Each bag was vacuum sealed against moisture and bugs and tucked away. Some were stuck in the kitchen for use like today’s situation, some were stuffed into sealed 5-gallon buckets, labeled, dated, and stockpiled with the other food.

But more importantly, this sort of lifestyle is keeping me from having to go out in 2-degree weather at 9:30 PM when I really dont feel like leaving the house.

Preparedness FTW!

Russian absurdities

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

Russian Military Analysts are reporting to Prime Minister Putin that US President Barack Obama has issued orders to his Northern Command’s (USNORTHCOM) top leader, US Air Force General Gene Renuart, to “begin immediately” increasing his military forces to 1 million troops by January 30, 2010, in what these reports warn is an expected outbreak of civil war within the United States before the end of winter.

(Note: original page linked to went 404. hmmm.)

Why, oh why, would anyone take anything the Russians say seriously? Yet this bit of ‘news’ is getting some serious play in the preparedness blogs.

By “the end of winter”, in my opinion, would be about, oh, March. You really think that in four months you can train, equip, stage and manage a million troops, domestically, in a country where every 12-year old has a cellphone and video camera and that this will somehow be a secret?

This article tries to sound reasonable but it plays every tinfoil hat card there is – UN, Peak Oil, gun control, etc, etc.

The notion that Obama will rotate troops back from Afghanistan to use for domestic operations against US citizens? C’mon, really? You genuinely think that some guy who has spent a year in Afghanistan, ducking mortars and roadside bombs, feeling like he’s stuck in a hopeless situation, is going to come back the US and be eager to roar around Main Street USA in his hummer intimidating the civilians because the guy who gave him an all-expense vacation in Afghanistan told him to? srsly?

Let me tell you the far more likely outcome of “the end of winter”: exactly like today except the unemployment, debt, homeless numbers are a little different…maybe up, maybe down. No civil war. No ‘peacekeeping’ troops rolling down US streets. No ‘Red Dawn’. No armband-wearing armed civillians waving their Gadsen flags atop the smoking rubble of Washington DC.

However….if you are the creative type, this sort of thing is wonderful fodder for some book idea.

Good grief, man….its the Russian ‘news’ for crying out loud. How familiar are you with Russian media anyway? For all you know this is their version of “The Onion”.

Ammo usage for 2009

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

As the year comes to a close, it’s interesting to note what did and did not get consumed. Ammowise, this was a very light year…not surprising since the theme for the whole year was to hoard and conserve ammo rather than expend it. However, practice and social gatherings (which tend to oft be the same thing) do require a bit. Rough numbers look like this: .22 LR about 4,000 rounds. 9mm about 1500 rounds, .45 about 300 rounds (I hardly shoot my 1911 these days), .223 about 300 rounds (I practice mostly with the .22 conversion kit in it), about 200 rounds through the AK, .308 about 200 rounds (again, .22 kit for most practice), and about 400 rounds of .38/.357. 12 ga., maybe 50 rounds. So, by Montana standards, I never got out the range at all this year.

So could you argue that the amounts shown above are all I would need for a ‘years supply’ of ammo? Well, you could argue that but you’d be quite wrong. Those numbers reflect what amounts to casual shooting and not much else. In the classic End Of The World scenario I would imagine I’d have expended less ammo since the idea is to save every round possible and avoid drawing attention to yourself with gunfire. Of course, the numbers above don’t indicate what ammo may have had to be abandoned, gotten confiscated, shared with friends, used to trade for items, hidden away at a secondary location, etc, etc. So, really, the numbers above are fairly useless except to say that for my particular needs, this particular year, there was enough to go around.

I normally get out to the range two or three times a month in the less brutal weather. Often I’ll grab a pistol, a rifle and some targets and that’ll be it. I hate gun cleaning so I try not to bring six guns out the range at a time. But one trip it’ll be the Glock and an AR, next trip a .357 and the Marlin, next trip the Glock and the PTR-91, etc, etc. Eventually everything gets shot and familiarization is maintained.

So how much ammo should I be keeping around? Well, I have the numbers of what is in storage. The missus, who is in a position to know this sort of thing, remarks that we have more ammo than the 100-man police department does. Always a nice strategic advantage, that. Obviously, .22 ammo is the thing we go through the most. It’s cheap(er) and everyone has a gun chambered in it. Having 20,000 rounds on hand isnt expensive and can last quite a while if a fella is careful. We have a bit more than that but thats because every time we go to WallyWorld, regardless of what we have at home, we always pick up two bricks of the stuff. As a result, when the current ammo crunch hit and Federal .22 ammo became tough to get we could just shrug and ignore the entire situation.

Same for 7.62×39..I bought it when it was $75 a case. Bitched when it went to $95 but kept buying, got loud and rude when it hit $135 a case but kept buying. Nowadays its north of $225 a case, and I havent bought any in probably five years. But when it was $75-135 a case I bought enough. So, we dont generally worry about that stuff either.

In fact, I don’t think we’ve bought any bulk ammo at all since early 2008.

Anyway, the point I’m not making here is that stocking up on the ammo has paid off in regards to not really cutting into my shooting habits and has saved us, compared to todays prices, quite a bit of money. The .22 kits for the AR and the PTR-91 (Made by CMMG and HK, respectively) also made a huge difference. In fact, I need to get a .22 conversion for the Glock so I can really practice on the cheap. (The PTR-91 conversion, by the way, was first shot exactly one year ago today. Coincidence! That kit wasn’t cheap, but at a price difference of $.03 per round versus $.50 per round it only takes two bricks of .22 to realize the savings.)

Any plans to pick up more ammo for 2010? Well, always if theres a deal out there. Certainly I’ll do more reloading to keep the ammo levels topped off and I’ll still try to hit WallyWorld for Federal bulk when they have it. But I think we’re at that very pleasant stage where, ammo-wise, we can buy it if we want more it…we don’t really need more.

But, I dont have to be a fortune teller to guess that I’ll still be buying more anyway ‘just in case’.

CostCo, gun show

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

Trip to CostCo today. Above the meat counter they have a board that shows the price for case lots of meat. Didja know that? Buy enough meat and you get a discount. Being the lazy type, I pulled out my Blackberry and took a picture of the price board rather than scribble down all the info. And that when I found out, from a slightly embarassed meat-department employee, that CostCo really doesnt want you taking pictures in there. Why? Who knows. Not sure if it was storewide or just a meat department thing. Maybe they didnt want someone sending pictures of the cutting area to the local health department. Maybe they didnt want corporate spies from Walmart having things made easier. Who knows? I apologized and said that I wouldnt take any more pics. I also asked him if they had a bulk price on the individually packaged boneless skinless chicken breasts. Turns out they did. Buy ‘em in the 65# case and its about $2.33 a pound. He asked if we were running a restaurant. “No, no…paranoid survivalists”, I replied. He nodded politely. So, Im gonna have to put together some coin and head up there and pick up a case (or two) of the stuff. Its easily the most versatile meat that I can get up there. And, parenthetically, me likes da chicken.

Top Secret info gotten at great personal risk

Top Secret info gotten at great personal risk

We also picked up another case of paper towels and toilet paper. By my casual math I’d say that, barring some sort of global intestinal flu or a sudden diet rich in Mexican food, we’ve got enough TP on hand for all of 2010 and perhaps a little beyond. Its relatively cheap, stores well if you keep the mice out of it, and substitutes are few and far between. Oh, sure…they’ll work but it just isnt the same, you know?

Of course, there were the usual massive uber-size packages of batteries, underwear, potato chips and other goodies at CostCo but the trick to shopping at a place like that is knowing when to say “Yeah, a five gallon drum of mayo is cheap but since it’ll go bad before I finish it, Im really paying this much money for only one gallon”. in short, just say whoa. Of course, for the non-perishables thats a whole other story.
Gun show in Hamilton this weekend. Saw only a couple things I really wanted. One was a nice pair of 8×30 Steiner military binoculars. Used, $100. Really came close to getting them but I just can’t spend that kinda coin wight now. Also saw a Ruger Mk II Competition slabside stainless that I really want but that was well over $300…so, again, no.

AR’s were prevalent as were AK’s, and magazines for both. Ammo, however, continues to be thin and expensive.

Not thinking I was wrong, stocking up, economy

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

It occurred to me that its been just a few weeks over a year since the Carter II victory. When this long national nightmare started I was pretty certain we were on the track to $1500 Ar’s, $40 magazines and those funky ‘thumbhole’ stocks. Thus far (and that’s the key qualifier here) it hasn’t happened. Sure, right after the election prices got pretty wild, and ammo is still a problem, but to be fair none of that has been the result of passage of any new federal legislation. In fact, even proposed federal regulations have barely gotten anywhere.

Does this mean I was wrong on my supposition that Obama would mean a return to the Clinton Assault Weapon ban years? Well, this goober still has another three years and change ahead of him, so it would certainly be premature to say he wasn’t an enemy to my gun rights. Before the comments start flying in, let me make it clear: I’m not saying he doesn’t have plans against me and you in regards to gun ownership, Im just saying he hasnt really made any serious efforts in that direction…yet. I do, however, remain convinced that there’ll be some sort of ‘reasonable’ gun control proposals thrown at us before long. (And before anyone posts the links, yes I know that Obama’s AG has said that they’d always been upfront about wanting ‘just a few’ gun control changes.)

A year ago I was telling people “In a year these magazines will be $50 each, these stripped lowers will be $200 each and complete ‘pre-ban’ style guns will be worth twice what they are now.”…and for a brief while that was true. But the panic buying dwindled and now mags are as cheap as before, stripped lowers are still reasonable, and complete guns are generally available at Pre-Obama prices. In that regard, I was wrong.

For now.

But I genuinely do believe that before this guy leaves office theres going to be a hard push to bring back some version of the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban. I really do believe that this very moment today, will, within Obama’s term, be considered as a ‘good old days’ period by you and I….access to affordable firearms and magazines and no new restrictions to inhibit our enjoyment.

I still believe, quite firmly, that stockpiling for your anticipated firearms needs right now is a good idea. If you don’t have your guns, get the guns. If you’ve got the guns, get the mags. If you’ve got the mags, get the ammo. If you’ve got the ammo, get more guns.
I was mucking about in the deep freeze the other night and have determined that I’ve been a bad boy in regard to keeping the inventory levels where they should be. We’ve gone through a good bit of chicken and are down to the last 10# or so. A trip to CostCo is definitely in order. I’d like to have another 30# of chicken, 20# of beef, and a few other meats put back for mid-term storage. I like the CostCo chicken because it comes already packaged in individual sealed packages. I don’t have to pull chicken breasts out of a stack off of a Styrofoam tray and individually vacuum seal each one. Already been done for me. That convenience is worth the niggling few cents a pound more that CostCo charges.

In addition to the meats, I need to stock up on a few other household goodies. I had a cold for the last two weeks and put a pretty good dent in the Kleenex stash, so might as well go long and get another dozen or so boxes of tissues. TP never goes out of style, so at least one 36-roll pack is in the future. Soaps and detergents are also on the list. And bleach. Bleach actually will ‘go bad’ (What actually happens is it loses its efficacy) so may as well pick up a couple gallons and rotate out what we have….fortunately its pretty cheap stuff and is dandy for cleaning up the odd biohazard…and great for diluting and wiping down anything that needs to be bacteria free such as bathroom fixtures, cooking instruments, etc, etc.

It’s not unfair to say that part of the drive to stockpile is related to the economy. It’s simply good planning to buy when you have money against the day you might not. If, Crom forbid, we were hit with a bout of unemployment or severe cut in income it would be nice to be able to make whatever money we had last longer by not needing to purchase toiletries, paper goods, meats, staple food items, and other goodies. Plus, it’s a pretty decent long-term strategy for saving money if you believe inflation will be nibbling (or chomping) away your purchasing power.
What is going on with the economy, anyway? Sometimes it’s a bit daunting to try and make sense of what the various media says about the current state of things. The conomy is like the wind – you don’t see it, but you see its effects. I know little about economics, but I can see the impact of the current economy all around me…more and more empty storefronts, businesses with less employees, more people paying with food stamps, more people clamoring for benefits, unemployment figures hitting new highs, car dealerships with lots of new cars unsold, more people looking for bargains, etc, etc….each one of those little observations is fairly meaningless but taken as a whole they say that if the economy isn’t in trouble then theres a lot of people who sure think it is. And, regardless of the condition of your economy, if people think the economy is bad, then it’s bad.

While I used to put higher stock in the notion of a terrorist-induced EOTWAWKI I came around to thinking that it would more likely be some sort of economic upheaval. That shift in thinking was somewhere in the early years of 2000. It was pretty much a dead heat between terrorism and economic turmoil. (Fortunately the preparations for each are not necessarily mutually exclusive of each other.) As a result, while not immune to the ravages of the economy we aren’t as vulnerably exposed as some folks.

What Im curious about is the ‘survivors syndrome’ that will follow this recession/depression. Will it be decades before the people who went through it feel comfortable making the kind of purchases and taking on the kinds of debt they did before all this happened? I know of people who, after making it through the Depression, made permanent, lifelong changes to their spending habits. Or, once the crisis has passed, will people go back to their jet skis, borrow 115% of their equity, put nothing into savings, and pat themselves on the back for having dodged a bullet?

And, if the former, how will that affect any real economic recovery?

I was never exactly a big spender…I never really had the income to do so. But the last couple of years have certainly drilled into me that even if times are good, and the money and jobs are free for the taking, it might not be a bad idea to keep an eye on the horizon and keep an eye on the wallet.


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

A couple links that folks were nice enough to send me in email:

Concrete Mushrooms – (Trailer) What appears to be a documentary about Albania’s several hundred thousand leftover bunkers from its Communist era.

And I can’t tell if this one is real or not, but here it is anyway: Survival Condo – No……..

And finally, speaking of non-typical housing ideas: A picture of a sewer-pipe cabin. Definitely opens up some creative possibilities.