Friday, 4 September 2015

07:37 – If you ask preppers what they’re preparing for, most will have a primary or even a sole concern. Not that it really matters much, because if you’re prepared for one specific type of emergency you’re almost by definition prepared for other types of emergencies. The essentials are always the same: water, food, shelter, sanitation, medical, communications, and defense.

If someone asks me what I’m preparing for, my standard answer is a zombie apocalypse. Anyone who’s prepared for that is prepared for anything. So we stock water, food, and the other necessities, including of course anti-zombie guns.

But my real primary concern is the same as it has been for years: societal breakdown and violent civil unrest. Not all zombies are the walking dead. We have plenty of live zombies in Winston-Salem. They’re also known as underclass scum, and they’re at least as much threat as real zombies. More so, because they’re just as violent as and a lot faster than those shambling things in the TV shows. Fortunately, they’re not any smarter.

The so-called Black Lives Matter movement was serious enough. It’s resulted in rioting, looting, and arson in cities and towns across the country and a lot of ambush shootings of whites and cops. But it’s nothing compared to the calls from racist black demagogues for blacks to stalk and murder white people and cops. An unfortunately high number of young black men seem to be responding to that call. Predictably, LEOs nationwide are concerned about being ambushed, which of course makes them more likely to shoot first. Their attitude is increasingly better-safe-than-sorry, and who can blame them? Police recruiting is down by 50% or more in many departments, and many career cops are taking early retirement or simply resigning. Again, who can blame them? But it’s not a good omen for society to watch the people who are supposed to defend us instead giving up and looking for other means of earning a living. If the government can’t or won’t defend us, we’ll just have to defend ourselves.

Our relocation search is going much slower than we’d hoped, but we’re patient. We will get away from Winston-Salem to a small town, eventually. If we’re overtaken by events, we’ll just have to deal with it, come what may. If rioting, looting, and arson comes to Winston-Salem, we’ll be as ready for it as anyone can be.

Most of my time this week was devoted to working on science kit stuff, but here’s what I did to prep this week:

  • I bought a hundred feet of paracord and a pack of ten snap-buckles, to be divided between our car emergency kits. I got the real made-in-the-US stuff, not that cheap and cheesy Chinese garbage they peddle at Home Depot, which isn’t even real paracord.

Otherwise, we’re in pretty good shape. I do intend to pick up more pasta on our next Costco run. It’s cheap, stores forever, and it’s useful to have a lot of it on hand.

So, what precisely did you do to prepare this week? Tell me about it in the comments.

Posted in weekly prepping | 23 Comments

Thursday, 3 September 2015

08:08 – The morning paper reports that a company called RealtyTrac has released its 2015 U.S. Natural Disaster Housing Risk Report, which evaluates the natural risks facing US counties. As far as I can see, it’s completely bogus. It ranks the county where we live as high risk overall because we are supposedly in danger from hurricanes and wildfires, which we aren’t, particularly. Certainly no more so than the counties to our west, north, and east, all of which are rated as lower risks. Give me a break.

Work on science kits continues. All of the biology kits we have in stock are now spoken for, so I need to build more today.

More interesting stuff. The racist demagogue scum Farrakhan calls for 10,000 volunteers from his black muslim scum followers to stalk and kill white people. Interestingly, there have been no calls from white people for 1,000,000 volunteers to stalk and kill black muslim scum. H/T to OFD.

Posted in news, science kits | 71 Comments

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

07:54 – With Barbara retiring at the end of the month, I need to get us covered under Obamacare by then. We need to make a lot of decisions about what level of coverage we want, trading off monthly premium costs against deductibles and out-of-pocket amounts as well as issues like which doctors and hospitals are part of the network on different plans. I’ve already look at small-business Obamacare plans, which look like non-starters based on monthly costs alone. So we’ll start looking at individual plans in more detail. Then we’ll need to do it all over again when I become eligible for Medicare in three years and Barbara in five.

Work on science kits continues. We’re low-stock on all of the kits now, which we’ll have to address this weekend by building more.

12:26 – Well, isn’t this interesting? A call from a terrorist for open season on killing white people and cops, presumably of any skin color. Something tells me that this asshole is not alone. If he or any of his like-minded terrorist buddies show up around here, they’re likely to get a surprise. H/T to Nick.

Posted in personal, science kits | 48 Comments

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

08:36 – The final countdown commences. Barbara retires in 30 days, at the end of this month. I’m sure she’s looking forward to it, as I certainly am.

Not that “retires” means she won’t work any more. She’s retiring from the law firm but will be coming to work for our own company, to which we’re both looking forward. What this really means for Barbara is that she’ll have control of her own time. She’ll work when she wants to, or when we need her to. She’ll take time off to do her own thing when she wants to, whether that means taking a long weekend to go to a craft fair with one of her friends or taking a couple weeks off to go on a bus tour with another friend. But mostly she’ll be working for our own business.

All of which got me to thinking about what an odd concept retirement is. The idea that at a certain age, one simply stops working and takes a multi-year (or multi-decade) vacation. Our parents’ generation was the first in human history to take the idea of retirement for granted. Before then, most people worked until they dropped. Everyone who wanted to eat had to work for their food. People who were too old to do hard physical labor worked at tasks that were less physically demanding, like watching children or shelling peas or darning socks or sharpening tools.

When the first Social Security checks were issued in the 1930’s, they were to retirees aged 65, who could be expected to continue living and drawing checks for a couple of years. And those checks were just enough to keep the retirees from starving or ending up on the streets. They were intended to provide only a basic supplement to whatever the retirees had saved on their own. Nowadays, it’s common for a retired couple to draw SS checks of $50,000/year or more. Our children are paying for that, and they can’t afford to do it. The American population over 65 is bankrupting our young people, who are just barely able to support themselves, if they’re lucky. We’ve gone from about 30 working people minimally supporting each retiree in the 30’s to a ratio much nearer to one worker supporting one retiree in style in 2015. That’s simply not sustainable. It never was, and it never can be. That’s why Barbara and I will never really retire. We’ll keep the business active as long as we can physically do so.

Posted in Barbara, personal | 51 Comments

Monday, 31 August 2015

08:52 – Barbara and I have been watching series five of Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime streaming. We’ll watch the last episode tonight. There’s supposed to be a series six, but with the way things are going in the UK I wonder how much longer they’ll be turning out series like this.

I’m still working heads-down on science kit stuff. I want to be ready to roll out several new science kits for 2016, including at least two or three classroom kits. When we started this business, we intended to focus exclusively on home schoolers. We’ve been surprised at the number of kits we sell to public and private high schools and even to colleges, universities, and government departments. So right now I’m working on expanding that part of our business. There’s a lot of room to grow there, but there’s a lot of work to be done to get there.

Posted in personal, science kits | 79 Comments

Sunday, 30 August 2015

08:34 – We’re doing the usual weekend stuff. I finished the laundry yesterday. Barbara is cleaning house this morning. She tells me that I need a haircut, so that’ll be first up.

More science kit stuff for us this afternoon.

Posted in personal | 42 Comments

Saturday, 29 August 2015

08:08 – When I opened the morning paper, I was surprised to see a full-page color spread devoted to emergency preparedness. I’d forgotten that September is officially National Emergency Preparedness Month. Of course it was the usual inadequate 3-day list that FEMA pushes, with no mention of being prepared to defend yourself, but it’s better than nothing. The sad thing is that probably 90% of the American public aren’t prepared even at this level.

Of course, that percentage varies with circumstances and region. Right now, for example, a much higher percentage of the population of South Florida is preparing to hunker down to await the arrival of a hurricane. Before long, though, it’ll be back to business as usual for them.

More science kit stuff for us this weekend.

Posted in news, personal, prepping | 51 Comments

Friday, 28 August 2015

07:33 – Who would have believed even a few years ago that the European financial crisis, which remains an existential threat to the EU, would turn out to be a mere sideshow? The real threat now is the invasion of Europe by millions of undesirables, mostly muslims. Americans who are rightly concerned about the invasion of the US by millions of Mexican undesirables should thank their lucky stars. Sure, a disturbingly high percentage of those Mexican wetbacks are murderers, rapists, drug dealers, and other scum, but most illegal Mexican immigrants want nothing more than a better life, albeit at taxpayer expense. The muslims who are invading Europe have no intention of assimilating. They intend to make Europe theirs, another outpost of their perverted so-called culture.

And Europe has even fewer controls on illegal immigration than the US does. As of now, Europe has essentially no national borders, and would have no way to defend them against such an invasion even if it did. Even the UK, Europe’s last bastion of semi-sanity, has already been invaded by upwards of five million who were born outside not just the UK but the EU, and Merkel is currently attempting to force the UK to accept hundreds of thousands more of them. Per year. Will there always be an England? Not the way things are going now.

Hint to Europe: the only way to respond to such an invasion is to use armed force. These aren’t “refugees” or “immigrants”. These are invaders, and the proper response is to slaughter them wholesale until they realize that they aren’t welcome in Europe. If Italy had any sense, it wouldn’t be using its navy to rescue these invaders. It would be cordoning off its waters with gunboats with orders to sink any boat or ship attempting to enter their waters illegally. If the UK had any sense, it would block its end of the Chunnel with military forces with orders to machine gun anyone attempting to enter illegally. Haul the bodies in garbage trucks to the sea and toss them to the sharks. Because that’s what these invaders are: garbage. Men, women, and children. None of them belong in Europe, let alone the UK.

Truth be told, it’s too late for continental Europe. It’s toast. Even if it had the will, which it doesn’t, it no longer has the means. The barbarians are not just at the gates, but among them. The muslim invasion has succeeded. But the UK at least still has a chance, albeit a small one, to stem this tide and fight off the invaders. But I’ll be surprised if the UK takes any effective measures to defend itself. The British government isn’t what it once was, nor is the RN, the RAF, or the British Army.

I finished season one of Jericho (2006) on Netflix streaming. This is my third time through. Barbara and I watched it once on DVD soon after it ran originally and then I convinced her to watch it a second time on Netflix streaming a year or so ago. It gets better and less confusing with multiple viewings.

This time through, I’m appreciating more just how nuanced the plotting and writing are. I could have done without the terrorist plot thread that runs through the whole series. I’d have preferred they just deal with the aftermath, its effects on a small community, the personalities, and how they deal with it, but that’s a minor nit. Within the limitations of a network TV series, they did an excellent job. Sure, there are quite a few minor issues with it. For example, a month or two after the EOTAWKI, they have a group gathered in someone’s home, with the room illuminated by literally dozens of candles and battery lanterns. One would think that at that point they’d be trying hard to conserve candles and batteries. And the writers seem to think that barricades of old cars and wooden pallets will stop bullets, when of course they won’t even slow them down much. But again, those are minor nits. The situations and scenarios are realistic, as is the behavior of the many characters. I wish it had run for more than a season and a half.

If you’re at all concerned about the state of things, I’d strongly recommend that you binge-watch this series. Watch it two or three times, and think about it. Think about how you’d deal with the issues that they bring up. It’s fiction, not a non-fiction preppers’ manual, but a key part of prepping is mental preparedness, deciding what you’ll do if a particular thing happens. For that, Jericho is excellent.

Nearly all of my time this week was devoted to working on science kit stuff, but here’s what I did to prep this week:

  • I bought a case of two dozen 12-ounce cans of Harvest Creek Pulled Pork from Costco. I wanted to compare this product against the Keystone Meats pulled pork, which Barbara thinks is just okay in barbecue sandwiches. If she likes this stuff at least as well as the Keystone product, we’ll standardize on it for pulled pork. I’d been paying Walmart $3.59/pound for the Keystone pork in 28-ounce cans. The 12-ounce cans of Harvest Creek pork are $3.33/pound, and are also a better size for us than the 28-ounce cans. Keystone pork is available in 14.5-ounce cans, but at a noticeably higher price per ounce.
  • I bought another case of two dozen 11-ounce cans of Crider Chicken Bologna from Costco. I tried a can of this mechanically-separated chicken. It’s okay, if a bit bland, but it is cheap meat protein at under $2/pound. It can be sliced for sandwiches or cut into chunks for stir-fry, stews, casseroles, etc. It’s basically just chicken meat.

With what we already have, that’ll do for now in terms of shelf-stable meats, other than periodically replacing what we use. If we ever do need to eat solely from long-term storage, our diet will be considerably lighter in meat than it is now, but we’ll have enough to get along.

So, what precisely did you do to prepare this week? Tell me about it in the comments.

Posted in culture, news, weekly prepping | 65 Comments

Thursday, 27 August 2015

07:56 – Many of the alternative news sites are claiming that the shootings in Virginia yesterday are identical to the Charleston church shootings a couple of months ago, a racist shooter killing people of another race and then posting a long racist manifesto. The white shooter in Charleston was described by MSM reports as a white racist targeting innocent black people simply because they were black, which is an accurate summary. The black shooter in Virginia was described by MSM reports as a troubled man who targeted former co-workers in an incident of workplace violence, and then posted a long racist manifesto. The implication is that the Virginia murders were not racially motivated, or at least not exclusively so, and that while the Charleston shooter was an evil racist, the Virginia shooter was merely mentally ill. There’s a kernel of truth in that, because the Virginia shooter didn’t go out and shoot up a bunch of random white people but instead targeted two specific white people who were known to him. But the effect is the same, regardless of the two shooters’ specific motivations. Charleston gave ordinary black people yet another reason to mistrust whites; Virginia gave ordinary white people yet another reason to mistrust blacks. As if either group needed that.

I received the following email from a long-time reader, and am posting it with his permission. I think it provides a valuable perspective on prepping.

Hello Bob!

If you are willing to share, I would love a copy of chapter one of you next book. I think your openness about your writing process, in addition to the work you do in general, is one of the things I admire about what you do.

I am slowly working at building my stocks of useful supplies, food, weapons, medicine, etc. It has been on my list for several years now.

My life took a serious slide sideways five years ago, when my wife, Karen, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She passed away a few months ago, at 48 years old. I am rebuilding everything, almost from scratch, with a new house and what we had in storage. At the end of 2011 we sold our home and eventually moved into my sister’s house to afford medical expenses. About the only thing I gained from the last year Karen spent in hospice care were the medical supplies. I have bandages and medicines by the crate full.

I am sharing this, not for sympathy, but as an anecdote on how preparedness can help, even when disaster is limited to immediate family. It is a bit of a ramble. My apologies.

A few months before Karen was diagnosed with cancer, I was explaining to my daughter, then about ten years old, how even though we have a nice home and I have a good job, there is no guarantee that will always be true. We could lose the home suddenly, and may need to live in a way very different than before to survive. It turned out that we did.

Preparedness is not just about what you have in the cupboards. It is also communicating with your family, your dependents, about what could happen, and what you might do about it. It may not be a written plan, but a form of awareness and expectations. It is about being able to have reasoned discussions about possibilities, and not get stuck in a “this could never happen to us” frame of mind, thereby denying conversation. I avoided unsustainable debts, and now that our circumstances have changed, I am able to afford a home again. That took awareness and planning, and a family that realistically accepted the situation. There were tears and complaints, but no denial. We could always discuss issues freely, and make reasoned choices, even when we had no certainty on what might happen in a week or even the next day.

I’ll leave out my gripes about health care insurance.

Interestingly, my daughter, soon to be sixteen, is now fully onboard with “prepping”. She told me yesterday she is interested in being more comfortable with different guns and how to be a better shot. She already has basic self-defense skills, and various martial-arts weapons, which is nice. She also likes that we are building our food stocks and even suggested we have a practice weekend using only stored supplies. This was not from direct prompting by me, but her realization that it makes sense should the world change around her. I think our experience was a lesson, and she learned from it. Another good thing, I guess, to come from an unpleasant time.

I am also hoping I can un-pack my lab gear soon, which I mothballed. Cancer sucks.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and for doing what you do. It is inspiring.

Posted in news, prepping | 36 Comments

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

08:45 – The morning paper reports that a woman was killed Monday evening by a dog, which of course was described as a “pit bull”. Another woman who came to the first woman’s aid was also attacked. Fortunately for her, a cop arrived just in time to shoot the dog as it was attempting to drag her from the car in which she was trying to take refuge. The dog had apparently escaped from the owner’s home during a thunderstorm by climbing out of a window. No charges have been filed.

World stock markets are still in turmoil, with mixed results yesterday. The Chinese market was down yesterday by more than 7%,for a total loss of more than 20% over the last four days. The US market was down again, but only by about 1.3%. A few markets showed small gains yesterday, but the trend this morning is down. As I said, the real indicator will be the market closes this coming Friday. If the markets haven’t started to recover by then, things could get dire. Apparently, the hope is that investors will be bargain-hunting and start to scarf up these stocks. The problem is, equities are still way overvalued, so there still aren’t many real bargains to be found even at current prices. I make no attempt to predict the stock market. As far as I’m concerned, J. P. Morgan got it right about predicting the market, so there’s no point to wasting time reading predictions by so-called experts. What’s going to happen is what’s going to happen. We’ll all find out when it actually happens.

Posted in news | 82 Comments