Soap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canned stuff musings

Another glorious day here in paradise. My local Albertson’s is having a sale on canned goods and I picked up a couple of flats of canned tomatoes and corn. Funny thing is, I had just gone to CostCo earlier in the week and bought some canned tomatoes…and they were more expensive than this sale. So the moral of the story is – you can’t always assume the warehouse store will be cheaper. Now, arguably, they’re not the same product….CostCo’s offering was ‘organic diced tomatoes’ and we all know ‘oganic’ means virtually nothing except a higher price. (And the only reason I picked them up was because CostCo didnt have any other kind of canned diced tomatoes.)

Speaking of CostCo, after a hiatus of a few months they appear to have the canned¬† Kirkland Roast Beef back in stock. Normally, I turn my nose up at canned meats….they all look and smell like cat food once the can opener punctures the can…but the Kirkland roast beef, once you toss it in a pan for a few minutes, turns out to be darn good. So, why wouldn’t I grab a few of them to put on the shelf?

When it comes to storing all this canned stuff, I usually go with steel wire shelving (also available at CostCo).

IMG_0520

I tlooks good, handles the weight, and is configurable to allow me to have it follow walls and corners. Yeah, it runs about $100 for a six-shelf unit, but pick up a bag of S-hooks and you increase the versatility and get better value out of your existing sets of shelves.

I like these little can organizers from Shelf Reliance. They’re plastic and link/stack together so you can just run ’em along the length of shelving. If you’re truly hardcore, or have a huge enough family that #10 cans a re a mainstay, they also make a similar product for #10 cans. Thats when you konw you’ve arrived.

Of course, any goober with some plywood, a saw, and a screwgun can fab up a similar product on his won but I’m kinda lazy and rather enjoy the consumer experience…so I just buy this sort of stuff.

The sale at Albertsons is for another few days so I’ll see if I can scrape up another few bucks to get some more flats. I’m very painfully aware that food I buy now may someday be all thats standing between me and being hungry.

Panic buying

It occurred to me, as I was talking to someone about the still-present situation regarding .22 ammo, that any lulls that we’ve experienced in the panic buying over the last year or so are going to be pretty much wiped out by the fact that next year is an election year.

The Clintons, Slick Willy or/and Hillary, are hardly friends of gun rights. They aren’t even friends of friends of gun rights. And as you hear Clintons name bandied about more and more as the nomination process approaches you’re going to see more and more panic buying going on.

Then, once the nomination process is on, it’ll continue as the election comes closer closer. Finally, depending on who is elected, it might start to calm down around March or April of 2017.

This stuff is actually highly predictable. The four stages of gun panics, as far as elections go, are:

  • Right before the election
  • Right after the election
  • Right before the inauguration
  • Right after the inauguration

Don’t take my word for it, your own life experiences should confirm what I’m telling you.

thNow, I’m not nearly as stupid as I look (I couldn’t possibly be), but even I learned a long time ago to buy what I needed as soon as possible, as much as possible, so I could ignore this sort of thing.

“But, Zero”, I hear you cry, “I am a survivalist of limited resources. I can’t possibly get all my guns, ammo, and magazines before the election. I need both those kidneys!”

Well, that’s true. It’s a pretty intimidating list. That’s why you need to prioritize that mofo like no one’s business. Let’s look at it from a historical and hysterical standpoint – in the last, oh, say thirty years, what’s been regulated out of the realm of ownership by us simple peons? Chinese guns, Chinese ammo, steel core 5.54×39, steel core 7.62×39, imported rifle barrels for ‘assault weapons’, magazines that hold more than 10 rounds*, pistol grip stocks on semi-auto rifles*, bayonet lugs*, etc.

What else could come down the pike from the twisted gnomes in Washington? Well, almost certainly a magazine ban, assault weapons ban, and some restrictions on ammo. That whole wrist brace issue is living on borrowed time, IMHO. I expect there’ll be some fundamental changes to the DIY/80% receiver market and possibly some restrictions on mail ordering the other parts you need to complete your AR. (And before you say that ATF can’t regulate gun parts that aren’t serialized receivers, go try to import some AK barrels and let me know what happens.) And I fully expect there to be some restrictions on body armour coming along as well.

So, man of limited resources, where do you put your money to get the most bang for your buck in a world where political expediency directly challenges your ability to own thundertoys? Guns, mags, ammo, in that order. Since it is reasonable to expect that as we slide further and further down the timeline prices will go up and availability will go down, it would seem to make the most sense to purchase the most expensive and least available items first. Actual guns are outnumbered by magazines and ammo, so get the guns first. After that, get the magazines. After that, ammo. For every AR, there are probably hundred of AR mags, and thousands of rounds of .223….so get the guns first.

Stripped lowers? Sure, if you can’t afford the actual complete gun I’d grab as many stripped lowers as I can. I suspect that at some point the upper receivers and what not will be regulated as well but until that time you’ll at least have the serial numbered part sitting away waiting for you to complete it…or use it as trade for other stuff.

Magazines are simply a buy-as-many-as-you-can item. For those of us who remember the ’94-’04 ban, we can tell you youngsters stories about $750 BetaMags, $100 Glock mags, and $30 AR mags. It was a time of great chaos, and great(!) profit making. Even if you don’t have the gun, get the mags.

Unless you’re on fire or swimming, you can’t have too much ammo. Any surplus ammo still coming into the country, as well as the Russian stuff, is probably first in the crosshairs of those who would do evil to us. While we all have a magic number in our head about how much ammo is the recommended amount per gun, the truth is that you really can’t go wrong with buying as much as you can afford. If you don’t think so, look at the the folks who are sitting on thousands and thousands of rounds of .22LR right now. Or cases of old Chinese 7.62×39 when it was nine cents per round.

At this point I’m sure there is some genius hitting the comment button about to say something deeply profound like “It’s because of idiots like you encouraging all this hoarding that I can’t find .22LR ammo, and when I can find it it’s at ten cents a round!” Actually, it’s not because of me..it’s because of basic economics, laws of scarcity and demand, and federal asshattery. (How many ‘t’s in asshattery, anyway?)

Having been to this dance before, I’m pretty much immune to a bunch of it. I already have a goodly amount of guns and mags stashed away, and ammo is always on the shopping list anyway. But it is my opinion that if you’ve been waiting for prices to ‘return to normal’ or for ‘availability to return to normal’ you’re going to be left with a full wallet and empty shopping cart. As the political season heats up prices are going to go up, availability will go down, and today is going to be looked back upon as the day you’ll wish you had started shopping.

* = yes, that law sunset and we can now enjoy normal-capacity magazines and ‘evil features’. But do you really think they’re gonna make that mistake again?