Saturday, 16 August 2014

12:16 – Barbara is helping Frances and Al finish cleaning out their rented storage site this morning. I’m doing kit stuff, of course. This afternoon and tomorrow–between yard work and house cleaning–Barbara will help put more kit subassemblies together.

The main reason we joined Sam’s Club is that they carry stuff that Costco doesn’t. For example, our Costco doesn’t stock much in the way of canned soups. Periodically the supermarket has a sale on canned soups, 10 for $10, and Barbara picks up 10 cans of Campbell’s cream of mushroom or whatever. But Sam’s carries shrink-wrapped 10-packs of Campbell’s COM soup for $8.28, so we pick up a case or two or three each time we go there.

Both the Costco and Sam’s web sites carry a lot of long-term storable food, which apparently is a big seller nowadays even among non-Mormons. It seems that more and more people fear that we face a dystopian future, and are stocking up food and other essentials against emergencies.

Sam’s carries a much wider selection of long-term storable food than Costco does. A lot of it is outrageously expensive freeze-dried stuff, which is also very space-inefficient to store. But some is reasonably priced and useful. FedEx just showed up with my first order from Sam’s on-line, including four #10 cans of dried whole eggs (after rehydration the equivalent of 24 dozen whole eggs). They cost $16/can, the equivalent of about $2.67/dozen. I also ordered a case of six bags of dried cheese/broccoli soup mix for $16. Each bag makes a gallon of soup. We’ll use this mix for making casseroles.


27 thoughts on “Saturday, 16 August 2014”

  1. It seems that more and more people fear that we face a dystopian future, and are stocking up food and other essentials against emergencies.

    Stocking up on food and essentials won’t make much of a difference in the long term if civilization collapses. Being properly armed and having good general survival knowledge will be more important. A stock of food will help in the short to medium term disaster. In this corner of the map, it’s likely to be an earthquake or volcanic eruption. In other places it might be hurricanes or other weather related disasters. Civil unrest is possible in any large urban area.

    How many of us have the wherewithal to survive the collapse of civilization? Heinlein enumerated his list of necessary skills in his “Specialization is for insects” quote. I have many of the skills, but not all of them.

    Rick in Portland

  2. I have all of them and a lot more besides, but I’m 61 years old. And, admittedly, it’s been a long time since I butchered a hog (a deer, actually) and my sonnets suck. (There was a young lady from …) But I know stuff like how to take down a bridge or build a Claymore or manufacture lots of useful drugs, and none of it is just from reading books.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t expect some kind of catastrophic collapse, but I do expect a gradual slide into dystopia. I also expect society to fragment, and I don’t want to be anywhere near large urban areas when that happens. Well, hell, it’s happening now, but I don’t want to be around urban areas when it reaches critical mass.

    Meanwhile, all I can do is take reasonable steps. Those include things like accumulating a surplus of food, etc. They also include getting Continuing Education credits in wizardry, because wizards are very useful people when things get tough. Hell, even a bunch of Southern Baptists would probably tolerate an atheist with my wizard chops.

  3. “…and my sonnets suck. (There was a young lady from …)”

    That would probably not be a sonnet; lines that start like that are commonly limericks.

    For dystopian variations: in even normal quiet times, take reasonable steps in case of storms, power outages, weather extremes, etc. Same stuff our families did when those of us who were kids in the 1950s and 1960s.

    I think that at the minimum times will get tougher for most people in North America and there will more outbreaks of mass civil unrest and draconian police-state responses. Even if we keep our mouths shut and maintain very low profiles, we are just tied into so many networks now, government, financial and social, that to break out or break loose entirely is nearly impossible. We will see how they deal with those of us who won’t STFU as time goes by. And how they deal with a heavily armed populace.

    All bets are off, however, in the event of enough major catastrophes as to bring about the civilizational collapse rick mentioned, and/or the destruction of the industrialized West. At that point, stocking a cellar full of Campbell’s Tomato Soup and fifty-pound bags of rice ain’t gonna cut it anymore. But by then, guys like Dr. Bob and me will be well into our sixties and seventies and basically down to making our last stands at home, wherever that may be. We’re not gonna be in shape, speaking for myself, of course, to go rampaging across the countryside in Green Beret mode and hunting and butchering deer and caribou on a weekly basis.

    The best we can probably hope for at our advanced age are gigs as Wizard or in my case, Bard. Roaming nomadic bands and rustic villages always appreciate a good story, and I know how to construct a sonnet….

  4. Well, rats. That means my favorite sonnet isn’t. (it’s about a guy taking his girlfriend, Ruth, for a ride on his motorcycle, and concludes, “At 65, he hit a bump, and rode on Ruthlessly.)

    Which reminds me of my favorite biker t-shirt. On the back, it says

    “If you can read this, the bitch fell off”

  5. RBT, you’re obviously an unreconstructed neanderthal if you think that’s funny. The sensitivity police will be calling soon.

  6. Re: Krugman, he’s an asshole progressive–but I repeat myself–not worth responding to.

  7. I also love how Krugman assumes facts not in evidence. For example, in this story:

    “Smart libertarians have always realized that there are problems free markets alone can’t solve…”

    I’m a pretty smart libertarian–I consistently score 180+ on IQ tests (SD15)–but I certainly never realized that. Asshole.

  8. OFD, to the end of developing an income stream for you, can you perform any trades or crafts?

    I’m thinking in terms of running a business within the framework of the SCA – the Society for Creative Anachronism. Setting up a tent and booth and running something simple within the mediaeval or Middle Ages context. A lot of it, setting up, camping, competing to whatever extent you wanted, just the recreation side of things would be plain duck soup for you.
    You’re big, you’ve trained in weapons some of which would fit in that context (sticks/batons, knives (which you can extend to short swords), maybe archery and/or crossbows), you’ve got the entire historical side down pat, you could maybe do some entertaining with recitation (or even fake it and read) of sagas, songs, and epic stories, legends and ballads. You might even, as an interim step, set up providing a hostelry (NOT a tavern, I understand that, but a tent, squares of wood under the legs of army cots, a plank beside the bed, a folding table with a basin and ewer, a hanging line inside the tent).

    Your entire potential client base demonstrably is bringing nothing BUT discretionary disposable income to these affairs. What your wife does with her jewellery would fit right in, snuggle down and find a home. You could meanwhile sell for her durinng market-days, while she was off gearning more of the coin of the realm. A lot of what both you and she did could be simple showmanship, salesmanship, order-taking and measuring, work to be completed off-site and between festivals, using current-day equipment.

    So… what about you? Guard, armsman or sheriff, of course. Carpenter, cabinetmaker, cooper (they made amazing things from wood – not just barrels, tubs and buckets), smith, tinker, turner. Cutler, armourer, bowyer, arrowsmith, fletcher. You could probably get an ongoing income-stream just from making shields. People concentrate on breaking those, no matter how well you make them, then they need another. Endemic obsolescence – you don’t need to build it in. Pick a craft or trade that would be indispensable not only in terms of current-day SCA activities, but also if current-day society broke down; and one that other family members don’t already have covered. Take into account things which don’t demand too much of an aging body. Fill in some gaps with para-medic training. Realise that back-then master tradesmen made some money by being paid by their apprentices, apprentice’s families or municipalities to take-on the training of the apprentices and passing-on of trade secrets; and said trainees entered into a bond – became bondsmen or women – to work for the master for a period of time to repay their training – hopefully during which time the master’s beauteous young daughter became of marriagiable age.

  9. Yeah, I can see Dave doing that, and making a pretty damned good income while having a lot of fun.

  10. It’s less true now than it was even a decade ago, but I continue to be amazed by the number of really smart people who’ve been brainwashed (apparently) into thinking that being a traditional employee is the only realistic way to make a living.

    Nearly all bright, motivated people–which includes just about everyone who posts here–are better off working for themselves than for someone else.

  11. Strictly speaking, I usually have an employer, but that’s solely because of taxes, regulations, and other government abuse. I take a contract for a couple months to about two years with a consulting company, get paid on W-2 for hours worked with no benefits, and my “employment” ends at the end of the contract, with no obligation or expectation on either side. (Usually. Sometimes a contracting company pushes me to help them in one way or another, out of company loyalty or something. Questions about what loyalty they will show to me put an end to that discussion.)

    Fun fact: self-employed people making their income on 1099 for services rendered, with or without DBAs, are the most-audited individuals in the US. (Most-audited in terms of source of income, I should clarify. In recent years, political affiliation and criticism of the Ofuckyou administration can push you to the number 1 spot.)

    I’d rather still own my own corporation, but NYS is so hostile to small business that it’s just not worth it. Given that, I’m pretty happy with the way I have it going.

  12. But New York State is running commercials on cable tv channels stating that NYS is the best place in the USA to move your business to. Are they lying?

    My wife’s father is from the area around Binghampton. His older sister ended up with the family farm. She cannot afford the environmental permits required to to farm in NYS nowadays so the land has been lying fallow for over a decade now. That does not bode well for farming in NYS.

    I still cannot believe that 400K new jobs were created in The Great State of Texas in the last twelve months. I’ll bet half of them are building new homes and the other half are working in the oil patch.

  13. NYS leadershit is frantically scurrying to stem the bleed of jobs and working people to Texas, Florida, and the Dakotas. If that scurrying involves lies and payoffs, well, that’s just the way things are done in NYS.

  14. [snip] Which reminds me of my favorite biker t-shirt. [snip]

    Mine is the one that says “You never see a motorcycle in front of a psychiatrist’s office!” A few years back I had to order that one for a friend who was going through a bad time.

    [snip] Krugman assumes facts not in evidence. For example, in this story:
    “Smart libertarians have always realized that there are problems free markets alone can’t solve…” [snip]

    Like, for example, the puzzle of Krugman & his ilk continue to find profitable employment. In a chemistry lab, if your ideas don’t work, you abandon them and try something else.

  15. Ima gon just guess that a really valuable skill will be knowing how shut down nuke reactors in an orderly fashion; couple with any skillz at all in power plant and distribution networks.

    http://offgridprepper.com/

  16. I have all of them and a lot more besides, but I’m 61 years old.

    I have other skills as well and I’m 62. I haven’t had much experience planning invasions. I supposed I couldn’t do much worse than our military “experts”.

    Rick in Portland (looking for property in small town Washington, where there’s no state income tax)

  17. It’s less true now than it was even a decade ago, but I continue to be amazed by the number of really smart people who’ve been brainwashed (apparently) into thinking that being a traditional employee is the only realistic way to make a living.

    After being self employed for many years, I took a job 14 years ago with a large corporation. I can do things in my field that I could never do on my own. Plus, I can take vacations without worrying about who will cover for me. There have been trade offs, but it has worked for me. I have kept a few consulting clients. If I were to leave the company, I would build up my consulting business. We have no debt, own our house free and clear and own two rental properties, free and clear. If I were laid off, I would probably take it easy for a while and do a lot of sailing. I took a five day sailing trip a couple of weeks ago on a friend’s boat from Port Angeles, Washington to Portland. We saw a humpback whale breach several times within a hundred feet of the boat. It was an awesome trip.

    Rick in Portland

  18. “Smart libertarians have always realized that there are problems free markets alone can’t solve…”

    Pournelle says that totally unregulated markets will end up with human flesh being sold in the marketplace.

    I don’t think he’s right, but the thought tends to be an appetite killer.

    Rick, who has no interest in trying long pig

  19. My Samsung older LCD rear proj TV is going out. Pixels going everywhere. Any TVs left in Ferguson?

  20. Ima gon just guess that a really valuable skill will be knowing how shut down nuke reactors in an orderly fashion; couple with any skillz at all in power plant and distribution networks.

    It is easy to do shut down a nuke. Just lift the clear shield and hit the scram button on the control board. That will drive the control rods deep into the pile of fuel rods. Unless the rods control linkage warps or the control rods gall on their way down. Happens more often than you would think. Then you have a problem.

    Oh wait, you said orderly fashion. First, see how much diesel you’ve got for those ten locomotive engines out there in the transmission yard. Each one of those bad boys needs several hundred gallons per day. If you cannot get all ten started then you might have trouble running the reactor coolant pump motors for the next several months as the reactor cools down. I am assuming that you will zero grid power to run those aforementioned reactor coolant pump motors. BTW, those motors can be up to 10,000 hp each and there are either 3 or 4 of them (two for the very old ones). Also, please do not start them more then twice per hour as the windings tend to get hot during the current inrush as the motor speeds up. Just pray that you can get enough locomotive engines running to start those motors before they cause the locomotive engine generators to sag their frequency and trip off. You would not believe the sad sounds that the board operator can make when the engines start tripping off and his motor has still got 10 seconds of accelerating to speed left to go.

    BTW, if the grid goes down then the nuclear power plant will probably trip on its own. PWRs vary their power generation by shooting excess steam to the condenser. BWRs can vary the their power generation very slowly (I don’t care what Duke says). And I hate BWRs. Neither can do this process without human intervention and a very steady hand on the board.

    In fact, I would advise figuring what the 10 mile radius around the nuclear power plant is and staying outside it. If you get to feeling bad just outside that ten mile radius then feel free to increase it to twenty miles.

  21. My Samsung older LCD rear proj TV is going out. Pixels going everywhere. Any TVs left in Ferguson?

    ROTFLMAO!

  22. Pournelle says that totally unregulated markets will end up with human flesh being sold in the marketplace.

    If it happened in Rome, it is going to happen here. We are on the slippery slope of entropy. And no, I do not want to go down to the stadium tomorrow to watch guys kill each other with swords. And get my free bread.

  23. Rick, check out Bellingham. I hear is rather redneck and Libertarian. The PC police in Seattle have gotten too much to bear, so if my stint in India doesn’t pan out, I’d consider moving there.

  24. I also love how Krugman assumes facts not in evidence. For example, in this story:

    “Smart libertarians have always realized that there are problems free markets alone can’t solve…”

    I’m a pretty smart libertarian–I consistently score 180+ on IQ tests (SD15)–but I certainly never realized that. Asshole.

    “You’re a libertarian? Good luck with your Free Market Fire Department!” used to be a relatively common “insult” on the message boards several years ago. It was never worth the energy to get into it with those people.

  25. Political groups do not even agree among themselves and Libertarians are some of the worst at disagreeing. It is a mistake for Krugman to generalize about Libertarians.

  26. Besides the fire department brickbat there is “muh roads, who will build muh roads,” a popular meme as libertarians of various stripes poke fun at the naysayers.

    Mr. Chuck is right; libertarians can be a royal PITA with this faction hotly contesting some other faction over obscure and arcane economic points that bore the average person rigid (I like “rigid” better than “stiff,” thanks to Mr. Greg down in Oz). And if you haven’t memorized the complete von Mises canon and gotten a PhD in Austrian Economics you’re not worth talking to.

    Among Repubs the factions are legion; ditto the prissy ritual- and doctrine-obsessed Roman Catholics and Orthodox, who also bore me rigid. I should add here that those folks are a minority in both churches, and only know of all the Protestant factions from reading history books and current news and know that they are also legion; at least three factions each of Lutherans and Baptists and by now a dozen of Anglicans, destined for the rubbish heap of history, at least here in the West.

    Muh roads! Who will build them? Muh fire department! Who will fight the fires?

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