Friday, 19 December 2014

08:05 - When we got up this morning, Barbara announced that she’d gotten angry at me in a dream because I’d bought fifty boxes of Wheaties cereal. I told her that I understood her anger, since I don’t eat cereal and she eats Wheaties only occasionally.

Not that buying fifty boxes of cereal would be outrageous for many preppers. That brownish plastic-y material they use to wrap cereal, crackers, and similar items is actually pretty effective at preserving them. I assume it’s some form of thick BO-PET, which provides a good oxygen/moisture barrier. The last time we bought crackers at Costco, I noticed that the best-by date was 2.5 years out. In reality, that means they should be just fine for at least 5 to 10 years, unless rodents get to them. The same is probably true for packaged breakfast cereals. And if you repackage them in 7-mil foil laminate bags with oxygen absorbers, their true shelf life is probably 100+ years.

Other than for fresh meat, eggs, dairy products, baked goods, and similar items, the whole concept of “best-by” dates is imaginary anyway. Up until about 1970, canned goods and other preserved foods weren’t dated at all, because the (correct) assumption was that they remained good essentially forever. The same is true today, but best-by dates are used by manufacturers to encourage turnover. And, as a result, Americans throw out literally billions of dollars worth of perfectly good food every year, simply because it’s passed those imaginary best-by dates.

Posted in prepping | 31 Comments

Thursday, 18 December 2014

07:31 - I see that Sony has announced they won’t release The Interview to theaters, which is no surprise considering that no theater is willing to show it because they fear the terrorist threats made by the Norks. The $24 million they’ve invested in this movie is sunk, and it’s obviously time to write it off. If I were Sony, I’d write it off by releasing the movie without copyright on every file-sharing site in the world. Make sure that a billion copies are out there so everyone in the world will have a chance to see it. And, although the movie is by all accounts a complete piece of crap, perhaps the US government could take a cue from it and actually assassinate that chubby little dork Nork.

Posted in news | 47 Comments

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

09:39 - Kit sales have definitely tapered off. We shipped only three kits yesterday and had only two orders come in overnight. If orders for the rest of today are typical, that means we’ll probably ship only four or five kits today. And even that’s a strain. We’re down to two dozen total kits of all types left in stock: an even dozen of the forensic kits, half a dozen biology kits, and another half dozen chemistry kits. As soon as I post this, I’ll be building more.

Posted in science kits | 32 Comments

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

10:37 - I’m still frantically building science kits, although orders have started to taper off. I’m not sure if that means people ordered earlier in the month than usual or if we’re going to get a boatload of orders over the next few days. Only one so far today. Saturday is the last day for mailing Priority Mail packages for kind-of-guaranteed delivery by the 24th, but my guess is that most mailed Monday and some mailed Tuesday will make it in time for Christmas. If they can possibly do so, USPS actually delivers on Christmas day if something looks like it may be a Christmas gift.

11:39 - Hmmm. Someone just sent me a link to this video of Nathan Fillion. He may be kidding about being a Zombie Apocalypse prepper, but somehow I don’t think so.

Posted in prepping, science kits | 4 Comments

Monday, 15 December 2014

09:26 - I’m still so busy building science kits that I haven’t had much time to do anything else, including work on the prepping book. There’s just no way I’ll have time to set a Santa trap this year, but I do have a Cunning Plan.

No Anti-Santa Gun this year, nor nets, nor poisoned milk and cookies. I’m just going to put up a large sign on the roof to announce that Santa and all his reindeer are eligible for amnesty under Obama’s plan to legalize illegal immigrants (like Santa), and that he and all his reindeer should sign up inside. Heh, heh, heh.

As part of the research for the prepping book, I’ve been ordering stuff from WalMart on-line. I’ve now placed several orders with, and I don’t recommend them if what you’re ordering is even slightly fragile, like say canned goods. They just throw stuff in a box, without any attempt to keep it from being damaged in shipping.

USPS showed up yesterday with a box from I was standing with Colin in Kim’s front yard when the mail truck pulled up outside our house. The USPS carrier was obviously having trouble carrying the box up to our door. Barbara walked down to Kim’s house and said we’d just gotten a box full of dented up food cans, with the bottom coming out of the box.

Amazingly, everything that was supposed to be in the box was still in it: eight cans of Campbell’s Chunky Soup, four cans of Dinty Moore Chicken & Dumplings, three boxes of 100 Melitta #4 coffee filters, and a 3-pound can of Crisco butter-flavor shortening. There was no packing material in the box. Of the 13 cans, 9 were dented, several badly, but at least none fatally. Oddly, the four cans of Dinty Moore were supposed to be 24 ounces each, but were only 20 ounces each. I’m not sure why Dinty Moore makes two sizes so close to each other, or why shipped me the 20-ounce versions when I ordered and paid for the 24-ounce ones.

Incidentally, although we sometimes have chunky soups and similar canned foods as quick meals, the real reason I stock up on them is as extenders for bulk foods like instant mashed potatoes and white rice. Those are pretty unappetizing by themselves, but one can make up a few pounds of mashed potatoes or rice, mix it with one can of soup, and end up with a reasonably tasty meal for half a dozen people.

Posted in prepping, science kits | 52 Comments

Sunday, 14 December 2014

09:12 - Barbara is cleaning house at the moment. This afternoon, I’ll help her get up the last of the fallen leaves and then we’ll go back to working on science kits. We’re still filling and labeling bottles and making up subassemblies for a new batch of 60 chemistry kits.

Posted in science kits | 33 Comments

Saturday, 13 December 2014

10:21 - Kim and Mary are in Charlotte this morning, attending Jasmine’s graduation from UNC. I met Jas when she was nine. It seems like only three or four years ago, but it’s been twelve.

When I searched for local prepping groups, I came across this post. What a fine idea. Sign up with a group of people you don’t know and pay them lots of money to join their group. There are lots of groups like this out there. They’re usually organized by one guy or a small group of people who almost invariably have a military background and believe they’re qualified to run things. Essentially they’re a small group of chiefs looking for a bunch of volunteer Indians who are stupid enough to pay for the privilege of being dictated to by a self-proclaimed leader. At least they’re up-front about it.

We do not run our organization like a commune or home owners association —but more like a corporate or quasi-military organization. If you are looking for a pure democracy with extended deliberations and a vote on everything while progress is measured at a snail’s pace… pass us by.

Unless your goal is to submit unquestioningly to a dictatorial leader, run far away from groups like this. In fact, as our Founding Fathers understood well, it’s a mistake to put the military in charge of anything. A military operates properly only under absolute civilian control. When the military itself is in charge, things inevitably degenerate quickly into a dictatorship.

Not that I’m opposed to prepping groups. Far from it. I think a prepping group is essential, but the ideal group is one that is loosely organized and informal and made up of people who already know and trust each other. Family first, then friends and neighbors, then perhaps friends of friends. But the sine qua non is trust. I’d much rather have someone I know and trust, even if that person is completely unprepared, than someone I don’t know and trust, even if that person is prepared out the wazoo.

Posted in friends, prepping | 41 Comments

Friday, 12 December 2014

08:21 - Winston-Salem had our first Ferguson protest yesterday. It was peaceful and uneventful, although protesters did block a couple of downtown streets for a short time. There was no violence and no property damage. Protesters ignored police orders to clear the streets and move to the sidewalks, but no arrests were made. As Barbara said, the protesters were simply exercising their Constitutional right to peaceable assembly. I do wish they wouldn’t block streets. The Constitution guarantees them the right to protest; it doesn’t give them the right to force anyone else to listen, and it certainly doesn’t give them the right to inconvenience others.

I did a Google search yesterday for local prepping groups. There’s apparently a fair amount of activity. One meet-up group based in Walkertown, just down the road from us, has 225 members. Since preppers tend not to be joiners, that tells me there must be many thousands of active preppers locally.

Interestingly, a year ago a local TV station tried to get members of that group to agree to be interviewed on camera. All but one of them declined, and the one that did volunteer to be interviewed didn’t give away any details of his own preps during the interview. So they did a short interview with him, and then talked with a business owner over in High Point who sells $80,000 steel bunkers designed to be buried 20 feet underground. At one point, they asked her what her customers looked like and how they dressed, apparently expecting her to say that they all wore body armor and camo BDUs and carried assault rifles. She said they wore jeans and t-shirts and drove normal SUVs and minivans, just like anyone else.

Posted in news, prepping | 34 Comments

Thursday, 11 December 2014

09:23 - US news organizations have the attention spans of gnats, so it’s not surprising that they’re paying little attention to what may well portend the break-up of the eurozone. Greece is about to hold elections. The almost certain winner is the radical-left party Syriza, whose charismatic young leader Alexis Tsipras has already made it clear that the first thing he’ll do on his first day in office is tell the troika to get stuffed. He threatens to default on the $300 billion that Greece owes if the troika doesn’t meet his demands, and he’s not bluffing. Merkel believes that the eurozone has adequate firewalls in place to prevent contagion from spreading, so she’s very likely to call his non-bluff. If that happens, Greece exits the eurozone very messily, and Merkel finds out that her “firewalls” are worthless as the dominoes topple.

Speaking of gnats, it appears the MSM has completely forgotten about ebola. That’s natural enough. Most citizens of first-world countries don’t really care about ebola as long as it remains in Africa. It’s very sad for those affected, of course, but we really don’t have time to worry about something like that going on far away. We do get very upset about ebola patients being allowed into our countries because we don’t want ebola where we live. Which is a reasonable fear. The last thing we want is for ebola to make the jump to an animal host, such as bats, and become endemic in our own countries. So as long as the virus is kept restricted to Africa, most of us don’t much care. We have more important things to worry about.

Posted in news | 35 Comments

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

08:55 - With demagogues from Obama on down pandering to and stirring up the underclass, I wonder how long it will be before the lid blows off. One solution that comes to mind is to give the underclass what they’re demanding: withdraw police, fire, and other government services from the central cities and just let them go to hell in their own way. Use those freed-up police and fire resources to protect the middle-class areas surrounding the central cities, drawing a dead-line around the central cities. Tell the underclass to loot, riot, and burn all they want in their own areas, but make it clear that if they attempt to do so outside their own areas they will be met with deadly force, from both police and private citizens. Quarantine them.

Posted in news | 30 Comments