Sunday, 12 October 2014

09:42 – Barbara comes home tomorrow afternoon, so I plan to spend some time getting the place cleaned up and de-cluttered. I’m not great at house cleaning, but I figure I can at least straighten up, clean the toilets, and so on.

I’ve decided to bag the idea of doing The Ultimate Family Prepping Guide as a Kindle book. I’ve been playing around a bit with formatting it for Kindle, and it just doesn’t work very well. On Barbara’s and my mono Kindles, it’s simply hideous. Even on her Kindle Fire HDX there are a lot of issues with using Kindle format.

So I’m going to publish it in trade paperback on Amazon via their CreateSpace service. It’ll be an 8.5×11″ trade paperback with a four-color cover and monochrome images. I looked into using four-color throughout, but if I did that the book would have to be priced at $70 or thereabouts or I’d end up owing money to Amazon for each copy sold. With monochrome images, I’ll be able to price it at $24.95 and still earn a reasonable royalty.

I do want an electronic version to be available for use on PCs and tablets, so I’ll sell the full four-color PDF on my own website for $4 or $5. That version will have the advantage of color illustrations, clickable links, and probably more frequent updating than the print version.

One of the interesting things about writing this book is that it gives me the opportunity to re-learn skills that I haven’t used in more than 30 years. Stuff like canning and dehydrating food and packaging it for long-term storage, keeping a garden, building a sand/charcoal water filter, reloading ammunition, and so on. I’ve even done stuff like building an outhouse, but I think Barbara would draw the line at me building one in our backyard.

For some skills, though, I’ll just have to depend on memory, because practicing them nowadays would quickly land me in a federal penitentiary if not Guantanamo. You know, things like building IEDs, although we didn’t call them that back then. Besides which, at age 61 I’m now fully aware that I’m not immortal. The idea of building a field-expedient claymore mine from a pound of ammonal (AKA the freely available commercial product Tannerite) and five pounds of buckshot or ball bearings scares me to death nowadays. And I already know it works well, because I did it back in the 60’s and 70’s. Fortunately, the statute of limitations on that stuff expired long ago.

16 thoughts on “Sunday, 12 October 2014”

  1. I think Barbara would draw the line at me building [an outhouse] in our backyard.

    Psh. Women. Who can figure them?

    because practicing them nowadays would quickly land me in a federal penitentiary

    Psh. Nanny-staters. Who can figure them?

  2. Holidays mean so little in the US that NOBODY I talk to regularly, has realized tomorrow is a Federal “day off” (there are no Federal holidays in the US — all holidays are state holidays, and Mass. has a nice additional one in April, called “Patriot’s Day”). Retail ignores Columbus Day, but people are going to be surprised when they go to the bank, their lawyer, or some government office (and my doctor’s office) only to find them closed.

    Berliners relished and looked forward to their days off. Hard to get used to the absolute non-stop grind of American life again.

  3. I think Barbara would draw the line at me building one in our backyard

    That’s what bushes are for.

  4. @Roger Potts – took a quick look around the site you linked. A lot of information on there. A place I’ll have to look at more, and now I realize that I just may have violated one of the points of the OPSEC post.

  5. Me, I’ve been advising nuking all of West Africa to control the disease. We have all these nukes just sitting around not being used, so it wouldn’t even cost anything to fire them off.

    (But I’m not a racist, nor even a nation-of-originist. I hate everyone, not just West Africans or whatever.)

  6. Just hope they’re right that the new strain is as difficult to transmit as the older strains. Unfortunately, I’m beginning to think they’re wrong.

  7. The worst thing about the article on carrying a Nobel Prize through TSA are the comments: Most of them are in support of TSA: “of course they needed to question you about a gold medallion that is clearly no sort of threat”. Apparently the general public is still perfectly happy to be treated as cattle.

    On the Ebola front: If I understand the article, airports are screening arriving passengers. Shouldn’t they be screening the passengers before they board the plane and potentially infect hundreds of other people? Chuck’s suggestion makes a lot more sense, though: it is probably time to cut off regular air service to the affected regions.

  8. My take on the Nobel Prize is that the TSA people were frustrated by the fact that Sweden was not on the watchlist of terrorist countries, and that was as far as their geographical knowledge went.

    In their minds, the fact that Sweden has a king who is bestowing solid gold medallions upon random people means that it is probably a third world pesthole that just hasn’t made the terrorist list yet.

    As far as the American public being treated like cattle, one must remember that in 2001/02 the American public was stampeded into begging Congress to allow law enforcement to swap two words in the phrase “innocent until proven guilty”.

    The modern version of that phrase is “guilty until proven innocent”.

    Dr. Schmidt is lucky they did not confiscate his medal as some sort of undefined contraband, at which point it would have disappeared, never to be seen again this side of a smelter. (Just try getting law enforcement to cooperate with putting an item confiscated by law enforcement on a hot sheet.)

    As far as ebola goes, allow air traffic to continue to the region. Just cut off all air, rail and boat traffic from the region.Let anyone that wants to go there go, just don’t let them come back out.

    Good luck finding pilots and ship’s captains willing to go into voluntary indefinite exile while their plane or boat sits idle, rusting away as port fees accumulate.

  9. Bob, on the subject of the outhouse, why not construct one in the back yard?

    Put up a garden shed, put in a sawdust toilet in one corner. Five gallon bucket with lid, some cinder blocks, a couple of 2x4s, probably a toilet seat to sit on them, pack of toilet rolls, empty tin can scoop, and instead of sawdust use a compressed bale of peat moss. Read the

    Optional: bucket of lime, can of insecticide, empty bottle, candles and lighters.

    You could then write about the subject with authority. Just make sure that composting toilets are allowable in your area.
    On another subject – life of water purifiers:

    You are qualified, much better than most, to assess the potential storage life of chlorine sources. We know that plain old bleach out-gasses and loses potency over a not-that-long period of time. Could you test that? Could you also note the “pool shock” (NO ADDED ALGICIDE) that can be used as a substitute or source for the pre-made diluted bleach, measure how long it will keep in typical packaging and how to measure its efficacy at any given time?

  10. When we buy a place out in the country, which I’m hoping will be soon, I’ll build an outhouse. Until then, it’ll have to be non-empirical.

    As to chlorine bleach, scientists at Chlorox say that under normal storage conditions it loses about 20% of the sodium hypochlorite per year. But that’s in the original plastic bottle, which is much more permeable than glass. When I converted the downstairs kitchen in our granny apartment to a lab in 2006, one of the things I did was build shelves for chemical bottles. And one of those bottles was an amber glass bottle that I filled with fresh 5.25% generic bleach solution. Just out of curiosity, I did an assay several years later on the bleach in that bottle and found that it was still at full strength. Or so I assume, because I didn’t assay it when I filled the bottle.

    As to calcium hypochlorite granules/tablets (HTH or high-test hypochlorite), they should be shelf-stable in the absence of moisture, again assuming storage in glass. The next time I’m at Home Depot, I’m going to pick up a pound of the granules and bottle them in glass. If I’m still doing this five or ten years from now, I’ll assay them, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be fine. Le Chatlier’s Principle says so.

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