Friday, 17 July 2015

07:42 – I’ve been working on science kit stuff all week, so there hasn’t been much time left for prepping activities. I did get email yesterday from a guy who wants to remain anonymous, so I’ll just call him Bill.

I guess I’m in the wannabe prepper category you mentioned in one of your comments today. Either that, or I’m just really slow at getting started. I’ve bought Fernando Aguire’s Surviving The Economic Collapse. I bought
some oxygen absorbers from Amazon, and collected 24 two liter soda bottles. I even have a Sam’s Club Membership so I can buy stuff to store in the two liter bottles. I just haven’t bought anything to put in the two liter bottles. It’s taken over a month for me to do this little. In my defense, I will point out that real life keeps raising it’s ugly head and distracting me from prepping.

I have decided I’m going to start storing rice first rather than flour. My wife and I routinely cook with rice and use very little flour. I have started looking for recipes that use all purpose flour. It wasn’t clear from your list of iron rations whether you talking about all purpose or bread flour. I have assumed you meant all purpose flour. Julia Child’s French Bread recipe calls for all purpose flour and a video can be found on Youtube. The other common recipe for all purpose flour is egg noodles made from one cup of flour and one egg. Before I start stocking flour in bulk, I’m going to at least figure out how to make the tortillas in the recipe linked below.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/homemade-tortillas

To which I replied:

Real life always gets in the way.

Why not just stop by Costco/Sam’s/Walmart this afternoon and pick up some basic food? Keep it simple to start.

1. A few cases of bottled water. [Following added for this post. RBT] Rinse out those two dozen 2-liter bottles with dilute bleach and fill them with tap water. You can never have too much safe water.

2. A 50-pound bag of white rice, for probably $17. Don’t even worry about transferring it to other containers for now. It’ll keep just fine for at least a couple years in the original bag.

3. Two dozen cans of assorted canned soups. You can use these with the rice to make a simple but tasty meal.

4. A case or two of canned meats (chicken, tuna, salmon, Spam, etc.)

5. A case or two of canned fruit, jars of applesauce, etc.

6. A case or two of canned vegetables, whatever you like.

7. A dozen jars of spaghetti sauce and a dozen packages of pasta.

8. A large bottle of olive oil.

9. A couple large jars of peanut butter and a couple large boxes of Ritz crackers.

10. Big jars of onion powder/flakes, garlic powder/granules, cinnamon, and any other spices you like.

All of this stuff, including the crackers, keeps for at least a year in the original packages.

As to the flour, there’s really not that much difference between types of white flour, other than varying protein levels (gluten). You can substitute them pretty freely. For example, if you make bread with all-purpose flour, the texture of the bread won’t be as good as it’d be if you used bread flour, but it will work just fine.

To which he replied:

That is an excellent idea. You ask why not do it this afternoon? One of the instances of real life happening is three days in the last two weeks when we got 4+ inches of rain. As soon as we get the basement sorted out, I will get a sturdy shelving unit and stuff from your list from Sam’s Club.

And, surprise, I heard from Jen’s husband for the first time. I’ll call him Ben. Ben is not as prepping-oriented as Jen, but he says he’s coming around to her view of things, and has no real objection to most of the actions she’s taking and the stuff she’s buying. Like Barbara, he’s more concerned about the amount of space it takes and the clutter than the cost, and he asks a reasonable question: “When have we done enough to declare that our preparation is complete?”

Just about any prepping website will tell you that you’re never done, that prepping is a journey rather than a destination. And that’s fine as far as it goes. But Ben’s question is still valid with regard to purchases. Is a ton of food each enough for them? Two tons? Ten? When does it stop?

My attitude is that you can indeed reach a level at which you can consider your acquisition of food and other supplies complete, at which point you can consider that your supplies have reached steady-state, where you buy only enough stuff to replace what you’ve used, whether food, ammunition, or other classes of supplies. For me, that level is a three-year supply. Some people are comfortable with just a year’s worth, and I have no argument with that. Others keep a five or ten year supply on hand, and I have no argument with that, either. What should never stop is your acquisition of additional knowledge and skills.

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


09:07 – Everything appears to be working normally, with a few minor exception like the placement of bullet points midway down the paragraph rather than on the first line. The other weird thing is that followed links seem to remain the same color as unfollowed ones, which makes it hard for me to keep track of the last comment I read.

Otherwise, I’m happy with this theme. I showed Barbara the new theme when she was on her way out this morning, and asked if she wanted me to install it on her site. She said to go ahead and do it, but I think I’ll wait a day or two to let any problems show up before I chance breaking her site.

56 Comments and discussion on "Friday, 17 July 2015"

  1. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Test comment.

  2. Jim B says:

    Wow, thanks Robert. The new theme looks and works great. Had to try it on the desktop and phone. Much improved on the phone, and still fine on the desktop.

    The text entry box now works better on my phone. Before, the text would spill out the end of the text box until I scrolled it off and back on the screen.

    I too miss the link color change. Maybe a reader will suggest a solution.

  3. Jim B says:

    Wow again. Now the Calendar, Recent Comments, and other links to the right of the screen on the desktop appear at the end on my phone where I can use them. Previously, (I think) they did not appear at all. I am spoiled! This web formatting thing has potential!!

  4. dkreck says:

    Looks good but we no longer have RBT’s smiling face.

  5. Chad says:

    I like the new theme. Much more… modern, but still somewhat vanilla and, as a result, not distracting from the content. Superb. 🙂

  6. Jim B says:

    Quote from Broadcast News: “I say it here, it comes out there.”

    I am gloating that someone actually listened to one of my suggestions. Gloating off 🙂

    Oh, and the new theme also seems more responsive. Hard to tell on my slow connection, but definitely better.

    Thanks again. Now returning to normal life.

  7. nick says:

    @RBT,

    Like the new look! I’m not sure about responsiveness, your old look was very slow to post and update on a comment. Today seems about the same. The page load when I’m NOT posting a comment seems nice and quick.

    One thing, the whole page zooms together, something I can work around if needed.

    I usually ctrl-scroll wheel any page I’m reading to make it big enough to see easily even if I’m having a bad eye day. When I do that with the new theme, it works like a straight zoom, with the right side column eventually moving off the screen.

    On many other pages, they have it set up so scroll wheel zoom increases the text size and graphics, but keeps them in their frame, reflowing the text as needed. (there are a million quirks with this, sometimes the graphics don’t scale right, etc) This may be a setting of proportional vs fixed on your column widths (or however they do it these days.)

    Like I said, I can live quite easily with what is here now, as it gets big enough for me before the right column starts to go off the page.

    Haven’t looked at the site with my tablet yet. I think the reflowing on the tablet happens in the browser, since there is a LOT more zooming in and out with a tablet/phone.

    Anyway, the new theme is not noticably slower, is nice and clean, and has some new features, win!

    nick

  8. nick says:

    Prepping this week, lets see.

    Harvested 3 carrots. Finally seeing some growth in a couple of my squashes/zuccini/cukes. Still very slow and disappointing.

    Bought some (couple cases) canning jars at an estate sale, and some new lids at the grocery store. At some point I hope to have a surplus from the garden and will need to preserve it. Lots of folks plan to can the contents of their freezer if the power goes out for good. It sure beats losing it all. So I’m stacking jars and lids when I find them cheap.

    I’ve been actively trying to rotate some of our stored food, and actively tracking some of the stuff you might take for granted, like condiments. We are using ketchup and miracle whip far faster than I would have guessed. We prefer using fresh ingredients for cooking, but I’m sneaking in some canned just to rotate thru some of the stored. This is especially true for the UHT milk. I stock individual size white and chocolate (for the kids) and liter size whole milk (for cooking and cereal.) I have some just past expiration that is fine, but needs to be used.

    On that note, I offer this observation. Some cans are better than others for long term storage. If your favorite brand has a pull top lid, you might want to explore using a brand that doesn’t. I’ve had several cans fail along that pre-scored lid. Some cans are thinner than others- the ones that have a smooth rounded bottom edge are ‘deep drawn’ and are thinner than the old style with the crimped and soldered ends. This is unfortunate as the smooth cans are less likely to rust on the bottom. If your crimped and soldered cans are sitting upright, they will last longer on a vented shelf, or on their sides. In my climate they tend to rust on that bottom edge if sitting on a shelf. They often fail there. RUST IS BAD. I avoided cans for a long time due to rust issues. I’m finding I need to better manage rust the longer my storage horizon gets.

    I’ve already been to one sale this week, and bought a bunch of smalls, including a colman lantern. I know, I know, but it was a propane one, in the case, completely pristine, with 4 bottles of fuel for $10. Who has the strength to resist that?

    I got some rainy weather gear to keep in the truck kit. A poncho has many uses, and a pullover and some pants will keep you warm and help with dry if you have to walk out in the rain. Small and in a pouch, fits easily in the truck.

    Got a small tub of gun cleaning stuff, solvents, lubes, and boresnakes for 12 and 20 gauge.

    Watched some youtube, learning more about diagnosing and repairing electronics.

    Chipping away at the honey-do list. This is an important prep! If you neglect the things your spouse wants you to do, she is MUCH LESS likely to be supportive of your preps.

    Got a couple of sales to hit this weekend, and maybe a hamfest.

    nick

    BTW, I find the ‘What did you do to prep’ sharing helps to overcome the reluctance to actually DO some prepping. It’s a favorite feature at thesurvivalistblog.net, and here.

  9. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    One of the things on my to-do list once we get moved is to find a climate-controlled self-storage place. I’m always uncomfortable keeping all of our eggs (literally) in one basket, so I’d like to get 40 or 50 cases of #10 cans stored in a different location. I realize that self-storage places are not particularly secure in a wide-spread breakdown situation, but (a) I don’t expect that to happen in our new location, at least not without some days or weeks of warning, and (b) this’d be mostly inexpensive stuff like bulk staples from the LDS Home Storage Center, probably < $1K worth of food. Speaking of which, one thing that's frequently a problem with the non-prepping partner is "spending all that money on food". They're used to spending $150 or $200 at the supermarket and $300 or $400 on a Costco run, but they don't internalize that those are frequent purchases. Back when Barbara was less on-board than she is now, I pointed out how much we spend on food every month and every year, after which spending $1,000 at the LDS HSC to pick up two person-YEARS worth of food starts to sound pretty reasonable.

  10. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Here’s an interesting site: http://www.cheatsheet.com/personal-finance/3-signs-that-you-spend-too-much-money-on-food.html/?a=viewall

    According to USDA figures for September 2014, Barbara and I would spend just under $600/month on groceries with “moderate” spending. Call it $7,000 per year. So $1,000 for a year’s worth of storable food for both of us is pretty damn cheap.

  11. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Incidentally, we’re not “moderate”. We’re more in the “liberal” class, which spends $700+ per month, a lot of which goes to expensive foods like meats and cheeses.

  12. nick says:

    Yeah, that was one of the specific reactions I got recently.

    “Holy cow you’ve been spending a lot at Costco! What the h#ll have you been buying?”

    Which caused me to cut back 🙂

    However, when I point out that by buying in bulk during sales, we save hundreds, she’s backed off.

    The recent panic over eggs helped ease the tension too. She knows how many eggs we eat (18- 24/wk or more) and doesn’t want to be short. She specifically sent me to Costco to stock up on eggs on that news. Two weeks of not being able to buy the milk she likes helps too. So recent shortages have shown her the benefit of having stocked up.

    BTW, anyone else had recent shortages of stuff they normally buy? The milk thing was just the HEB brand in our local grocery stores, there was other milk available, and the egg thing was national and drove up prices.

    In the last 2 years we’ve seen drought cause decreases in the beef herd that drove up prices, piglet virus that drove up pork prices, this chicken thing, driving up egg prices but chicken meat is down, increases in the price of almonds as the Cali drought continues, and there must be others.

    We rode thru the pork increases for the most part due to early bulk buying. We were not as fortunate with beef prices, but found different cheaper sources. I’m stocked up on almonds, but given the lifecycle of the trees, I’ll be paying high prices when that runs out. It’s hard to stockpile eggs (fresh anyway) but I do have some backup in frozen liquid. Not nearly enough to ride thru a price hike.

  13. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Eggs are up and chicken down because they’re selling all those chicken corpses that died of the chicken plague. 😉

    We don’t eat many eggs. Barbara doesn’t like them, and I have an omelet or scrambled eggs for dinner once in a great while. A dozen might last us a month. I have roughly 60 dozen stored as powder, but those are really for cooking, baking, making pasta/egg noodles, etc., which we don’t do now.

  14. nick says:

    Having a secondary location with backup supplies just makes sense. The pix from Oklahoma after the tornados a couple years ago really drove that home. If your preps are at home, and your home is destroyed, you are f-ed.

    I started stocking my 2ndary location after that. I have more bulk there, as well as ready to eat, and backup cooking and water.

    If I was worried about a quarantine, or martial law crackdown, I would definitely rent a storage unit outside of town, in the direction we would be most likely to head. A small unit can be very cheap, and yet hold a LOT of food, change of clothes, camping gear, computer backups, etc. If I was REALLY prepared, I’d rent a big enough unit for a volvo station wagon, load that up, and store it. I’d do it somewhere within biking distance but outside of the most likely cordon (the ring road.)

    nick

  15. nick says:

    “Eggs are up and chicken down because they’re selling all those chicken corpses that died of the chicken plague. ”

    That is the logical conclusion. Or they could be selling of roasters to make room for a replacement crop of layers. Not really sure how the industry works.

    nick

  16. Chad says:

    Suppliers are never as good at lowering prices when there’s a glut as they are at raising prices when there’s an shortage.

    We force them to where I work. For example, the drop in gasoline prices. We called our suppliers and were like, “Remember when you raised your prices 5% because of increased fuel costs? I still have your email where you explained the cost of fuel was the sole reason for then ‘unavoidable’ price increase. We’ll, fuel is back down in price so we’re going to need you to go ahead and remove that 5% price increase or we’re going to find a new supplier.”

  17. OFD says:

    Interesting new look here, kind of a shocker when I first saw it this morning; evidently I am easily shocked in my dotage and decrepitude.

    Nice list of prep stuff to get right away at the top, too; I’m working on it. I stopped by the Costco yesterday after the VA thing but bailed immediately due to crowds and noise, which, forty years later, I’m still not fond of, not by a long shot. I’ll check it out again when our renewed membership card arrives in the mail and I’ll go early on a weekday morning instead.

    I got used to living in a small village which is part of a rural town in northern Vermont and just going down to the Burlington (pop. 50k) area is a mind-boggling trip to the Big City for me now. I think of the trips to Montreal, forty times bigger, as quick guerrilla raids into the belly of the Beast, in and out as fast as possible and come very close to jumping outta the car back across the border here and kissing the ground. As effed up as this country is.

    A third sunny day in a row here, with a light breeze. More yard and garden work shortly.

  18. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    The important thing is to keep your supplies balanced. I’d rather have three months’ worth of assorted foods than three years’ worth of wheat or beans and nothing else.

    If you’re storing an assortment, that also makes it easier to guesstimate how long you have food for, just by using calories as a proxy for the traditional carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. For example, a 16.5-ounce can of Bush’s Best Baked Beans provides:

    504 calories
    29 grams of carbohydrates
    6 grams of protein
    1 gram of fat

    We have about 140 cans on hand, which translates to:

    70,560 calories
    4,060 grams of carbohydrates
    840 grams of protein
    140 grams of fat

    So I can eyeball that at 2,800 calories per day per person and call it about 25 person-days of food. Obviously, it’s light on protein and particularly fat, but the other foods in the mix make up for that.

    The reality is that I’m anal enough to keep a spreadsheet with detailed quantities and breakdowns, but that’s too much trouble for most people. And any reasonable mix of stored foods averages out to pretty decent nutritional levels on everything that matters, so calories are a pretty good proxy.

  19. Miles_Teg says:

    I’ve got months worth of soft drink, fruit juice, iced tea. I probably have 2-3 weeks worth of mainly thick soup.

    I haven’t done much this week, real life getting in the way. but I did get two more cases of bottled water. Each case is about as much as I can lift without too much trouble.

  20. Miles_Teg says:

    RBT wrote:

    “Incidentally, we’re not “moderate”. We’re more in the “liberal” class, which spends $700+ per month, a lot of which goes to expensive foods like meats and cheeses.”

    It seems to me that Barbara eats out very much more than you do, and that can be expensive. I usually spend $35-50 on dinner when I eat out (sometimes the leftovers are enough for a subsequent meal.) I can make something tasty at home for $5-10, including fruit juice, beer or soft drink.

    When you move Barbara may spend less time eating out with friends, so that will reduce your food bill.

  21. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’m not going to worry about our food bill. We’re solidly middle-class, and my attitude has always been that if we need more money I’ll just go out and get some.

  22. Miles_Teg says:

    Eggs…

    I love eggs but they’re a bit messy to cook with. I guess it would take me three months to get through a dozen – and that’s at some of the nearby cafes where I have bacon, egg and mushrooms on toast for breakfast sometimes. My favourite is poached but I also like scrambled and hard boiled. I guess I should bite the bullet and get some for making at home.

  23. Rick H says:

    Ah, the Mantra theme…old friend. Looks nice!

    With regard to the bullet points, put this in the Miscellaneous, CSS Styles section, That should get them at the top of the paragraph.

    /* align bullets on top, not middle */
    .entry-content ul > li {
    background: none !important;
    list-style-type: square !important;
    padding-left:10px;
    margin-top:10px;
    line-height:140%;
    }

    I usually have several changes I make via the CSS area in Mantra, even though much stuff is customizable in the settings area.

    Another change I usually do is to slightly increase the main text font size, and get rid of the shadowed headings (both in the Text menu of Mantra Settings).

    As for ‘responsive’ … that is the term used for the ability of the site to be viewed clearly on any device, at any screen width, without having to scroll or zoom text to see the content. Doesn’t have anything to do with how fast the pages load. That can be more of a function of plugins and widget areas, and perhaps hosting (but not really that big of impact, unless you are getting thousands of visits per hour). Some plugins are less efficient in how they load their components than others.

  24. MrAtoz says:

    Eggs…

    MrsAtoz made “the big breakfast today” which included a dozen eggs, pork chops, hash browns, bacon, tortillas, etc. We use about 18-24 a week for 5 peeps.

  25. Rick H says:

    …and for the ‘visited’ link color, some CSS code per here will fix that, just pick a color http://www.w3schools.com/css/css_link.asp , just put the CSS in the Miscellaneous, CSS area.

  26. Lynn McGuire says:

    2. A 50-pound bag of white rice, for probably $17. Don’t even worry about transferring it to other containers for now. It’ll keep just fine for at least a couple years in the original bag.

    How to cook all this rice and stuff? A campfire?

    My backup cooking solution is a propane grill from Walmart for $168. I have one propane gallon bottle and plan to buy two more this weekend.
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Char-Broil-Convective-4-Burner-Grill-Stainless-Steel-Black/39073040

    I also bought a coleman propane stove and a dozen of those little coleman propane bottles as a backup to the backup.
    http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-2000020943-Classic-Propane-Stove/dp/B00005OU9D/
    http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-332831-Propane-16-4oz-12-Count/dp/B00DMICFQ4/

  27. MrAtoz says:

    Prep item:

    A book on Cool Tools, Improvised Medicine, does anybody have it or read it?  Is it worthy of the kit bag?

  28. ech says:

    Or they could be selling of roasters to make room for a replacement crop of layers. Not really sure how the industry works.

    I saw a bit about this on another blog. The egg producers buy their laying hens from a couple of big suppliers. It’s very much a just-in-time industry, so there is no quick surge capability. Expect the egg drought to last 6 months or more. It can take 18 weeks to 26 weeks for a chick to be ready to lay eggs, according to my vet tech daughter.

  29. Miles_Teg says:

    MrAtoz wrote:

    “MrsAtoz made “the big breakfast today” which included a dozen eggs, pork chops, hash browns, bacon, tortillas, etc. We use about 18-24 a week for 5 peeps.”

    Oh yum. I’m not usually hungry at breakfast time, but I could make an exception for that…

  30. OFD says:

    Yup, dat’s a nice big farm breakfast for ol’ Farmer Davy. Oh wait–it’s not “Farmer” anymore, it’s “Fogy.” Farming is too much work for this old man; got all I can do to build a few raised beds and maintain them. I dunno if I could eat a dozen eggs, though; probably just four, and I might use ham instead of pork chops. Plus I’d dump a pile of cheese and salsa on that and add a side of grits. With a gallon of iced cranberry juice.

    Preps today: organizing bore-sighters, med emergency gear, and knife-sharpening kit, plus the ongoing raised bed stuff and planning basement and attic reconfigurations. And attempting to contact the local well drilling company about our well. Also fooling around with radios and firearms mods.

    I feel like a total goldbrick and slacker compared to RBT and Mr. nick, though. I plead general physical decrepitude and severe mental deterioration. Also some laziness and procrastination this week. Gotta get ready for my first plane ride in nearly twenty years and for a week outside of Vermont. Scary chit, hombres.

  31. Lynn McGuire says:

    Another change I usually do is to slightly increase the main text font size, and get rid of the shadowed headings (both in the Text menu of Mantra Settings).

    +1. The new font seems a little small to these old eyes.

    BTW, my wife’s cousin’s husband just had the defloatering surgery (otherwise known as a Vitrectomy) in his right eye. The surgery went great. Until his retina detached a couple of days later. Now his vision in that eye is like looking through a bed sheet (his words).

  32. Lynn McGuire says:

    for a week outside of Vermont

    We’ll hold the revolution for you.

  33. OFD says:

    “We’ll hold the revolution for you.”

    I’ll be absorbing the revolutionary vibes meantime on the battlefields at Brandywine and Valley Forge.

  34. Ray Thompson says:

    BTW, my wife’s cousin’s husband just had the defloatering surgery (otherwise known as a Vitrectomy) in his right eye. The surgery went great. Until his retina detached a couple of days later.

    That is a significant risk of the procedure. My doctor lasered my retina the day after the procedure in one eye, lasered immediately after the surgery in the other eye. My doctor said that doing the lasering is normal after doing the vitrectomy.

    Seems that the vitreous fluid tends to gel over time. The process of breaking the fluid up so it can be sucked out puts some strain on the retina, thus the additional step to stop that problem. The saline solution that is used to replace the vitreous fluid does put enough pressure on the retina to hold it in place.

    Hope they can fix the retina. Amazing what they can do today.

  35. SteveF says:

    Aside from normal earning a living and family issues, all I managed this week was a bunch of work on Son#1’s car before he moves away for his job. Buying the parts chewed up most of my cash on hand, but doing the work myself saved enough money to pay for almost half — well, a third, anyway — of the non-covered costs resulting from my wife backing into my van in the driveway.* Tomorrow (or more likely Sunday, considering the weather forecast) I’ll replace the muffler and try to track down some problems with power windows and such. That’ll use the rest of my cash**, but will nominally save some more on what we’d have had to pay for a shop to do it.

    * If I didn’t mention it before, she’d stayed up late Saturday night a couple weeks ago, binge-watching some series. She thus overslept Sunday morning, then rushed out to get to church and backed into my van. $500 deductible for repairs on her car, damage to my car wasn’t covered because she put herself on the insurance as part owner, and she went and got a backup camera put in because the lack of one was obviously the problem. Sigh.

    ** In theory he’ll pay me back once his paychecks start coming in. And he probably will. Doesn’t help me right now. Luckily*** I have plenty of food in the freezers and pantry, so I can save on the grocery bill for a while.

    *** Said ironically. Many people over the years have told me I’m lucky that I have thus-and-so materials on hand or that I know how to work on cars and houses or that I have the skills to make a decent living. Yep, it’s luck. The majority has spoken.

  36. OFD says:

    “Yep, it’s luck. The majority has spoken.”

    What a lucky guy!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nyt57LxWy8

    Greg Lake pretty lucky guy, too; can sing, play guitar, and chew gum (or tobacco?) at the same time.

  37. SteveF says:

    re the new site theme: Why’d you change it? I liked the old one! If it was good enough for Granpaw, it’s good enough for me, by gum! And hey, you kids, get off my lawn!

    The content is why I read this site, or any site. The theme doesn’t matter to me at all, so long at it doesn’t interfere with legibility. (What kind of imbecile puts dark text on a dark background? I don’t know, but there are a number of that kind of idiot. White on black isn’t much better.)

  38. nick says:

    Well, I tried to read on my android phone, and the theme does some things on mobile.

    The critical one for me is it doesn’t allow zooming. I can barely make out the text without pinch zooming.

    The other thing is actually cool, it turns the tabs at the top of the page into a drop down menu..

    As mentioned above, the right sidebar stuff moves to the bottom of the page. This makes the “recent comments” much less useful as quick jumps, since you have to scroll to the last comment to see the sidebar. Not a deal breaker for me, the zooming is though.

    nick

  39. SteveF says:

    Nick, the lack of zooming is a “feature” of the “responsive” design. The template supposedly figures out the resolution of the device being used to view the page, and sets sizes and positions and some other aspects accordingly. As an implementer of web sites and web applications, I have mixed feelings about responsive designs. As a user, I don’t use a phone or tablet often enough that it’s an issue, but I realize that devices are the way things are going.

    RBT, he’s right. I can’t stretch-zoom resize the text on my Kindle Fire. This isn’t a problem for me because the screen is big enough that the text is big enough. (It helps that I’m nearsighted, so if I take off my glasses everything gets bigger.) The KF browser allows text resizing, but that’s a global setting and a nuisance if only one site is unreadable.

  40. OFD says:

    Boy, I’m seeing a lotta microaggressions here…and will have to notify the authorities accordingly…oh wait…that’s a microaggression, too, ain’t it….

    I’ll be checking it out on my own KF from beeyooteeful Bucks County, PA this next week. Can’t wait to try out all my nifty KF peripherals, too.

  41. nick says:

    Hmm, what happens on a retina display? Flea sized text?

    Hopefully that actually makes it easier, as there must be a scaling factor applies, and perhaps that can be set bigger?

    Unfortunately, the dumb thing doesn’t even resize when switching from portrait to landscape. That usually gets me bigger text because a site is applying the column width (or whatever it actually does) to the now ‘wider’ display.

    @RBT, I’m sure that these types of issues are why you didn’t want to mess with it in the first place, as it could take up a bunch of time. If it isn’t an easy, obvious, quick fix, don’t spend time on it on my behalf.

    nick

  42. Rick H says:

    I think if RBT makes the base font size a bit larger, then it will be more visible to all/any devices. Responsive lets the text ‘flow’ for the screen size, so (theoretically) you shouldn’t have to zoom.

    That said, a larger base font size will help on all devices, making it much more readable. (Current font size setting is 14px on my laptop; adjusted for other devices/screen widths.) Still readable on my LG pone.

    The other change I’d recommend is to change the base text color to full black. The dimmer/gray color, even though a white background, is hard for these old eyes. (I changed both of those things for the sites I have previously mentioned.)

    …Rick…

  43. Lynn McGuire says:

    The other change I’d recommend is to change the base text color to full black. The dimmer/gray color, even though a white background, is hard for these old eyes. (I changed both of those things for the sites I have previously mentioned.)

    I compared this site to Pournelle’s earlier today. Chaos Manor is a little easier to read for me, the text seems a little sharper.
    http://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/

  44. medium wave says:

    The other change I’d recommend is to change the base text color to full black.

    +1

  45. Marcelo says:

    whingers galore…

  46. MrAtoz says:

    On my iPad, when I go to comments, I can select Reader view which has a font size button. The font increases, but I can only view the daily post. I can’t scroll down to comments. I can only view comments in tiny font view. This is the same on other WP sites I visit.

  47. OFD says:

    Ah yes, the U.K./Scottish noun/verb for peeps who complain incessantly, which we sometimes call here, whining. Whiners. “Whinger” itself derives from that magical version of English known to some of us as Old, i.e., Old English, or, Anglo-Saxon:

    hwinsian

    This is in retaliation for the spurt of flashlight chatter the other day. Keep it up and I’ll really lay on the literary chit.

  48. Jim B says:

    @nick, in Chrome for Android, look for Settings, Accessibility, Force Enable Zoom: Override a website’s request to prevent zooming in (checkbox.) Checking this forces zooming whether or not the site allows it. I have had this ON for so long that I almost forgot it. On the same setting page is a text size slider, which sets the starting text size, so you don’t have to pinch or spread. Firefox for Android has a similar setting, but the text size is smaller when set to the largest. I got in the habit of using Chrome on Android and Firefox on Linux, and now anything else looks a little different. I used to think all this browser stuff was a bit overblown until I started noticing differences. Really wish browsers would render the same, and don’t even get me started on HTML email in different email clients.

    Anywaaay… The site looks terrific on both my desktop and phone, and is more functional than it was before. Still the same content and friendly characters (!) which is way more important.

  49. Jim B says:

    Oh, re browsers and email clients: whatever happened to standards? Maybe I am expecting too much. Can’t wait for HTML5 to displace Flash. Anyone notice the frequent Flash updates? On Mint Linux, there have been almost one per day for the last three or so. I DO like how Firefox won’t start Flash, and warns that the installed version is suspicious, sometimes before my system updater knows about it. (I have it set to only once per day, so that may be why.)

    On HTML email client settings, there are so many ways to skin a cat, I just gave up. I have observed, however, that the commercial and nuisance emails seem perfectly rendered on all clients. If they can do that, why can’t we?

  50. Jenny says:

    Our prep this weekend is taking Massad Ayoob’s MAG20 class. Think of it as CCW on some serious steroids.

    We too this class about a decade ago. Thrilled to have an opportunity to spend more time with this magnificent instructor

    In The Gravest Extreme has aged well and remains my go to book for personal defense.

  51. brad says:

    Some time ago, I decided to stop eating so many carbohydrates, so I’ve gone back to eggs and bacon for breakfast every day (instead of cereal). It’s hard to know which nutritional advice to believe, but it seems to me that natural fats cannot be worse that masses of carbohydrates. I cook up an American brunch for the family most Sundays: eggs, bacon, pancakes or waffles.

    “…my wife’s cousin’s husband just had the defloatering surgery (otherwise known as a Vitrectomy) in his right eye. The surgery went great. Until his retina detached a couple of days later.”

    You hear that doctors try to avoid medical treatment unless it’s absolutely necessary. Anecdotes like this make it clear enough: things can go wrong. I’ll live with my floaters, as long as I still see reasonably well. Occasionally irritating, but a lot less so than a detached retina…

  52. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    This is the kind of thing I worried about when I was considering switching themes. Any time I fix something for one person, there’s a good chance I’ll be breaking it for someone else. I think I’ll leave it as is to allow time for more feedback. Depending on what people say, I may leave it as is, return to the old theme, or make tweaks to this one.

    @Rick H – I may take you up on your kind offer to make tweaks to the CSS to increase the font size and contrast and so on. Can you email me?

  53. dkreck says:

    Oh, re browsers and email clients: whatever happened to standards? Maybe I am expecting too much.

    That’s the great thing about ‘standards’. There are so many to choose from.

  54. OFD says:

    The text seems a bit light now but otherwise the site looks fine on my desktop; I’ll check it out on the KF this week.

  55. Rick H says:

    Robert: glad to help out, and glad to email you.

    But did you notice that your email address doesn’t seem to be anywhere on your site – at least with a quick look? Not even on your ‘about’ page.

    Nor do you have a ‘contact me’ page that I could find.

    You’d think I’d have your email via other sources, but, nope.

    Rick (rhellewell@gmail.com )

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