Beating the clock, tornado martyr

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

I was jawboning with a fella the other day and he mentioned something that I thought was amusing enough to repeat. He’s been wading in the shallow end of the preparedness pool for a few years, but only in the last year or so has he jumped into the deep end with both feet. He’s definitely of the opinion that he’s working against the clock on this one. Anyway, when Bin Laden was killed (or not killed, depending on if you have the shiny side or the dull side of the tinfoil on facing inside your hat) a friend of his called him up with the usual opening line of “Have you seen the news? Quick, go turn on your tv!”. He said at that moment he thought his buddy was calling him to tell him that the end of the world had started and all he could think was “Dammit, I’m not ready!” as every little detail he had unfinished came to him in a moment of perfect, clear recall.

I hate those moments.

I had them 1994 when the Assault Weapons Ban went through and I instantly had a mental image of exactly how many ‘high capacity’ magazines I had. And I thought to myself, “I’m not ready for this!” Fortunately, these moments dont happen often and when they turn out to be ‘false alarms’, as in the case of the fella in the first paragraph, it gives us a ‘whew!’ moment where we think we avoided a disaster and maybe we really should put off the vacation to the Grand Canyon this year and sink the money into freeze drieds and solar panels.

Everyone has a different idea about what flavor the apocalypse is going to be. The superstitious say it’ll be based on some religious prophecy (and, hey, howd that work out lately?), the Peak Oil crowd say its happening right now and we all need to go buy mules and leather harnesses for plows, the Scientologists (really a subset of the first group) figure its the Warth Of Xenu, and guys like me figure its a slow economic descent into a Soviet-era style of toilet paper lines and entropic failure. All of them, though, figure that its happening soon.

I’ve been kinda sorta waiting for something to happen for…mmmm…well, quite a while. Sometimes things that I’d think were catalysts for TEOTWAWKI turn out to be nothing, and sometimes stuff I never even considered comes outta left field and makes me think “hmmm…hadnt thought about that”.

So if you got one of those phone calls tomorrow, and you had that momentary flash of insight where all the things you have left undone and on the ‘to do’ list suddenly pop into your head, would you also think “I’m not ready” or would you think youre ‘ready enough’? I’d say we’re not as ready as we could be, but probably ready enough for most situations. There is, naturally, room for improvement.
Speaking of room for improvement:
Man sacrifices self to save wife in tornado.
This fella is being lionized as an ideal husband who sacrificed himself to save his wife and is a role model that all husbands should emulate.
As my wife would say: WTF?
Lets assume for a moment that the role of the husband in the marriage is indeed to protect the family. Personally, I’m not a big fan of rigid gender roles in a relationship, but your mileage may vary…..however, lets say for the purpose of this discussion, it is the role of the husband to protect the family.
So, did this guy live up to that responsibility? Well, technically, yes. But if he was really going to protect his family, why didnt he take the steps to protect them from the predictable threat of a tornado? Sacrificing your life to save your family is noble, but it shouldnt be “Plan A”. His wife, I’m sure, wishes that his duty to protect her would have been fulfilled by having a stocked storm shelter where she could yell at him later for building that ugly thing in their yard, but at least he’d be alive for her to yell at.

Sure, maybe sometimes theres simply no other options but it sounds like if these people had a small storm shelter to retreat to theyd both be around today.

CostCo GoalZero promo

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

Was wandering around CostCo yesterday. Every week it seems that some manufacturer rents a little floorspace up there and brings in someone to demo their products. This week, surprisingly, they had some gal there pimping the GoalZero line of 12v/solar stuff.

Selection was limited to about a half dozen of their ‘flagship’ items. Prices were about 1/3 off of MSRP which seems okay but several of the products could be found a few dollars cheaper than that at other sources, however shipping charges might be involved in those cases. For you local LMI who have Costco memberships it might be worth taking a look. She’ll be there until next Sunday. (The Sunday after tomorrow.)

Escape 150 – $129.99
Light-A-Life – $33.99
Luna LED Light – $7.99 (I have one of these plugged into my monitors USB port for late night gaming use so I can see the keyboard in a dark room)
Nomad 7 portable panel – $63.99
Boulder 15 panel – $99.99

It’s interesting stuff. Is it a value? I’m not sure. People more savvy on this subject than I will probably point out that you could buy a simple marine battery and charge controller/charge combo for less than $129, and the $/watt ratio on the panels isnt as good as if you parted one yourself from other sources. On the other hand, for someone who wants to just write a check and have some emergency lighting and device recharging capabilities, this could be attractive.

One thing I found awesome was this:

The saleslady had it sitting around to demonstrate how to charge devices off of the Escape 150. It has no less than TEN different plugs on it for just about every handheld device you can imagine. I asked her how much. She said it wasnt for sale. The comapny handed them out to the sales people for demonstration purposes. Think Geek has a similar product , I’m sure, but I cant seem to find it at the moment.

My own needs for emergency power are pretty low. I need to run some emergency LED lighting, charge AA batts, and run a radio. Thats pretty much it. (The freezer is a whole other story.) Those needs can be addressed with a fairly minimal system. I do like the small ‘pocket’ panel charger for cellphones. That has some utility and I might wind up with one of those.

Anyway, you local LMI who have an interest may wanna head up and check it out.

“Falling Skies” series on TNT

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

Well this looks interesting. Sort of a cross between “V” and “Jericho”. Sadly, I predict that like other shows that seem to be in this genre, it probably wont last more than a full season. Still, looks like fun.

Actually, come to think of it, “V” ran for more than one season and spawned a couple made-for-tv movies, so I guess the potential is there. But other than that I cant think of any end-of-the-world, dystopic series that went more than a full season. Jericho was cancelled at the end of season one, as you know, and only brought back for half a season by popular demand and it was nowhere near the same series as the first season. Walking Dead is coming back but they didnt have a full first season, they only did six episodes.

As I type this, my memory starts to correct me. “War of The Worlds”, back in the 80’s, was similar in scope (and suffered the same fate as other series, namely tremendous canon changes from season to season), “Earth:Final Conflict” (which actually ran for an amazing five years despite being a nightmare of cast turnover and plot rewrites), Invasion (2005, one season), Freedom (another one season dystopic series), and a few others, also tried to feed at this particular trough and died young.

Nevertheless, I’ll watch it. I’m always up for a post-apocalyptic, humanitys-last-stand, sort of show.

Trailer for “Falling SKies” looks good, though. Perhaps as CGI costs come down series like these will be more affordable to network television.


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

When I go wandering around the boonies, go fishing or hunting, or otherwise meander off the beaten path I usually take a small first aid kit with me. Since I have some time on my hands this week (the missus is off at a class for her work) I’m using the opportunity to restock, and perhaps upgrade, the first aid kits. First thing is to find a suitable container. I like softside containers because they’re easy to stuff into a pack, can be clipped to the outside of a pack with a carabiner, and are a bit more flexible to use than a solid container. The drawback, naturally, is that they do not offer the protection of a hardcase. However, the kits themselves are small enough that I can just drop one into a ziploc bag if I need to keep it waterproof (usually not that big a consideration since when its buried in my pack its pretty well protected from the elements). The case I’ve been using is this one from Maxpedition. It manages to hold the usual assortment of gauze pads, bandaids, tape, antibiotic cream, rolled gauze, pain relievers and still have room for an Israeli combat dressing and one of these nifty Trauma Pak kits. And, since one is none, two is one, and three is two (I guess) I put together several identical ones. And, just to be weird, each one is a different color.

Maxpedition actually makes a couple of pouches/organizers suitable for this sort of thing. The main one that I use is this one. It’s nice, but a bit on the bulky side. It holds a decent amount of gear, although it is definitely designed more for ’serious’ injuries rather than your usual simple first aid. I say that because the most easily accessible parts are the parts designed to hold large objects like rolls of gauze, compress bandages, etc, while the small things like bandaids, antiseptic wipes and small stuff like that is in a fairly tough-to-access pocket. However, I’m of the opinion that if your injury can be fixed with Bactine and a bandaid then, well, youre not really injured. Im more concerned with the stuff thats going to take stitches, Dermabond or staple gun to fix.

By the way, that FR-1 pouch has a band of velcro for attachment of name tags, etc. I picked up a blood type patch and a first aid cross patch to put on it. I got them here. These guys have an excellent selection of those sorts of things and the quality is quite good. (And, yes, I did get this one for the BioWeapon.)

The three kits that you see at the begininng of this post will wind up being the ‘extra’ ones kept around. You know, the ones for when your heading out the door to go fishing and you think “Hmmm…I better grab a first aid kit just in case…”. I expect they’ll get bounced around and used for roadtrips, range trips, dog adventures and the other episodes where I (or the missus) are not normally carrying my Bag O’ Tricks which already has a kit in it. And, as we say, one is none etc, etc, etc.

I’m sure someone will ask in comments what the contents of the kits are. Its one of those things that Im just not really going to get into because no matter what I list someone will chime in with “But, you really should have this…” and before you know it you’ve turned a fairly compact package into something the size of briefcase loaded down with all sorts of things. First aid kits and bugout bags, man….two things that no matter how you put them together someone will always say youre doing it wrong because you dont have [item] in it.

Rapture fail, Taurus Triad, shrinking circle of friends

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

Well, the world didnt end (surprise!). No boom today. Boom tomorrow. Theres always a boom tomorrow.
I see Taurus is bringing out a .40 S&W revolver. I suppose it makes sense on some level but it still isnt what Im after. Yeras ago Taurus announced their “Triad’ revolver. This would be a gun that fired .38/.357/9mm interchangeably. It isnt an impossible task, just a difficult one with some compromises. S&W made their 547 for a few years utilizing a unique extractor system that did away with the need for moon clips. The Medusa, later rebranded and aborted as the Colr Survivor, was supposed to be able to fire something like two dozen different .38/9mm cartridges but other than a few prototypes, including one that got loose and wound up on Gunbroker, the gun was essentially vaporware. Ruger, obviously, made the Blackhawk convertible in 9/357 but required a cylinder change. The idea of a gun that would shoot 38/357 and 9mm/380/38 Super (or a handful of other wierdness like 9×21,9×18 Ultra, 9mm largo, etc.) still seems to elude me. Why my interest? Well, obviously it would make a nice little gun for when youre not sure what kind of ammo youre going to come across. A gu that could digest 9mm, .38, .357, .380 and .38 Super would be a pretty easy beast to feed in a pinch. I suppose for the right amount of money I could get a spare cylinder for a GP100, have it faced to headspace on moon clips, and go that route but I dislike having to swap cylinders. Maybe with the current trend in firearms towards ’survival’ and ‘utility’ firearms someone will pick up the baton and run with the ‘all you can eat’ 9mm/38 revolver idea.
Unfortunately my group of local friends has taken a hit in he last couple years. One died, several moved….I’m running out of real-life friends. It isnt that Im hard to be a friend to (Ok, maybe a little) it’s just that theres so few people you meet who you can be friends with without there being a tremendous effort AND that share the same interests. I might have to do auditions or something.

Reminder – World ends tomorrow

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

In case you forgot, the world ends tomorrow. You obviously won’t need all that money in your PayPal account as you start your new life in [Heaven/the clouds/wherever] so if you really, really believe that youre going to be borne to the heavens tomorrow, please feel free to forward whatever is in your PayPal account to me at .

Article – Hedge Farm! The Doomsday Food Price Scenario Turning Hedgies into Survivalists

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

Of course, these are also the same folks who bought getaway places for Y2K and when it was over found themselves with a little egg on their face. Contraversely, if they held onto those Y2K getaway homes they’re probably exactly what the market is looking for now.

When asked if this is an end of the world scenario, the hedge-fund manager replied, “It really is. I tell my fiancée this from time to time, and I’ve stopped telling her this, because it’s not the most pleasant thought.’

The colloquial term is ‘food security’. The Chinese have been doing this on a grand scale with chunks of Africa.

Random brain droppings

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

Summerlike weather approaches here in western Montana. In fact, it’s so summery that there are flood warnings all over the place as rivers rise due to melting snowpack. Fortunately, our location is such that the town would pretty much have to be wiped off the map before we were at risk of flooding…moreso for my buddy who is up in the hills here. Most of this valley would have to be a lake several hundred feet deep before he had any problems. Unfortunately this also means that water-based recreational activities like fishing and teaching the dog to swim are going to have to get put on the back burner for a while. That’s cool, because it isnt like theres a shortage of things that need to be done.

In case you missed it, according to a superstitious bunch of..well…something, the world ends this weekend. I feel that if they really, really believe in that nonsense then they should have no trouble signing over their property and cars to me since, after the 21st, theyre not going to need them anymore. Anyone who doesnt would, of course, be branded an infidel for their lack of faith. I will happily wager with anyone that the world does not end this weekend. (For the purposes of this bet, the term ‘end of the world’ means a ‘rapture’-type event where a large percentage of population disappears in accordance with Judeo-Christian myth.) Heck, I’ll even give odds.

So far its looking more like the end of the world is going to be something along the lines of a slow slide into economic Third World-ism. The .gov, being denied an increase in the debt ceiling, says it will take to ‘borrowing’ from federal pension funds. Baby steps, there. First it’ll be ‘borrowing’, then it’ll be only from certain types of funds and then before you know it pensions will have to convert their assets into .gov bonds that will be redeemable at a later date….you hope. Under the current way things are done, I see no possible way this can end well at all. If it were me, I’d let others argue about who should be captaining the Titanic as I work on getting the lifeboat launched.

As the missus said to me, “I dont know why we keep money in the bank”. You know, other than the convenience of using debit cards theres no reason to keep money in the bank. Fees surpass any interest you can earn, it’s inconvenient when you want to get cash, and, really, who needs to help the bottom line of banks that treat their customers like crap? Throw the money in the bottom of your safe (or under it, if youre the really paranoid type) and go on about your life in a pleasant, bankless, undeclared cash kind of way. A million bucks in cash would fit in a 40mm ammo can with room to spare, so it isnt like storing large amounts of cash on hand is difficult.

Of course, it’s all academic for me. It isnt like I have two nickels to rub together. But, unlike many bloggers, I dont blame that on ‘banksters’, The Man, Big [name of industry], or even on .gov. Anything I’m deficient on is pretty much just my own fault and, accordingly, is remediable only by me.

Article – Crew finds body of man stuck in snow for months

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

Man, theres a lot of this going around……..


PORTLAND, Ore. – The body of a man was found in his pickup truck on a mountain road, along with a calendar he kept of his ordeal for nearly 70 days, authorities said Friday.


Stayed with the vehicle, but died anyway. Although, apparently, no one reported him missing so no one was looking for him.