Tuesday, 4 August 2015

09:04 – Science kit sales are starting to ramp up nicely. The real crunch starts mid-month. In past Augusts, we’ve done 33% to 38% of total monthly sales during the first half of the month and 62% to 67% in the second half. That continues through about mid-September and then gradually tapers off before it hits another smaller peak in December and January.

I see that Puerto Rico has now joined Greece in official default. They’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel now. They had a $58 million debt payment due yesterday, and were able to scrounge up less than a million, putting them in default. Of course, the $58 million is a drop in the bucket compared to their $72 billion in outstanding debt, which they have no prospect of repaying. And there’s no provision in the law for them to declare bankruptcy. They’re toast, unless US taxpayers come to the rescue, which I’m betting is what will happen one way or another. Can’t let the banks and funds take a loss, you know. Private profit and taxpayers footing losses is the new normal.

Speaking of Greece, their financial markets opened yesterday for the first time in weeks. The result was predictable, a catastrophic slide comparable to Wall Street on Black Friday in 1929. And today is more of the same. Private investors in Greek stocks, banks, and bonds are being wiped out as you read this. I don’t think Greece has many skyscrapers, which is fortunate because otherwise there’d be lots of people jumping out of their windows, producing a hazard to pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks beneath. I have no sympathy for the Greeks. They spent themselves into this hole, and they’re going to experience biblical suffering as a result. I just hope the same is true for Puerto Rico, although I doubt that will happen. But if it did it might at least provide an object lesson for governments elsewhere.

More science kits to build and ship.


13:09 – I look back fondly to the days when I could remember the name of everyone who’d ever ordered a science kit from us, from day one on. Sitting here, I just realized that I can’t remember the names of even the people who’ve ordered nine kits so far today. My memory is a pale shadow of what it once was, but this is ridiculous.

It’s only going to get worse when Barbara retires from the law firm and comes to work more-or-less full time for our business. That’ll allow me to ramp things up to the point where we’re shipping at least four or five times as many science kits as we do now. So far, I’ve intentionally kept a low profile to keep demand manageable. In 2016 and beyond, we’ll be intentionally growing the business, introducing many new kits and addressing new market segments.

I still want to keep things home-based and avoid hiring any employees, but even within those constraints there’s a lot we can do to expand volume. When we first started up, I remember laughing at the idea that USPS would send a special truck to our house to pick up shipments if we needed them to. At the time, that seemed very unlikely to happen, but it may before too much longer. It’s actually happened a couple times already, when USPS showed up and I had 30 or 40 kits to ship that day. He had to take what he had room for in the truck, go back to the post office to drop off his load, and return to pick up the rest of my packages.

122 thoughts on “Tuesday, 4 August 2015”

  1. Can we give Puerto Rico to their creditors? Can they seize it, please, please, please. That would save the USA a lot of money.

  2. But if it did it might at least provide an object lesson for governments elsewhere.

    If we bail out PR then the new politicians will do the same thing immediately. We should at least force the creditors to take a 75% haircut at minimum.

  3. I disagree. The US government should do nothing whatsoever, including humanitarian aid. Let those who are on the hook take the losses. And the last person out of PR should turn off the lights.

  4. Reminds me of that exchange between Cuba and the USSR back during the missile crisis:

    Cuba: Our people are starving! Send food!
    USSR: No food available. Tighten belts.
    Cuba: Send belts!

  5. Trump the Great ™ should by PR and turn it into a big casino.

    Trump 2016! WWTD ™

  6. Do I dare post this Cool Tools review of the Nu-Flare Rebel 90 Flashlight:

    I have an uncle who is a hard-core user of flashlights in his work and his hobbies. He’s an airframe and powerplant mechanic specializing in experimental aircraft, so he spends a lot of time looking behind panels and into tiny, dark recesses that haven’t been seen by human eyes since the plane was built. He needs a good light to do this, but he had had a very frustrating time finding just the right one.

    Is that you Mr. Ray

  7. At MrAtoz,

    if you really want to go there, and I don’t recommend it, google ‘real girl’,”fleshlight” and ‘symbian machine’.

    but seriously, DON’T.

    You can get your robot love right now….

    nick

  8. Mmmmm. RoboBullock.

    Or Mr. RoboOFD. Get that thought out of your head.

    Is that you Mr. Ray

    Nope. I spend some time looking in dark places but it ain’t aircraft. I do have a couple of single cell CR-123 lights that have no switch. You turn the head to turn it on, turn the other way to turn it off. Utterly reliable. And waterproof.

  9. The other night while I was walking Colin I dropped my Fenix light, which died the instant it hit the pavement and won’t come back on. Fortunately, I had one of those $3.50 Ultrafires in my pocket as a backup. Come to think of it, that’s the Ultrafire that I drop-tested several times from 7 feet onto concrete, but it still just keeps on ticking.

  10. Must…live…50 more years.

    Humans could soon be having sexual relationships with robots, a top academic has claimed.

    Mmmmm. RoboBullock.

    I knew that someone here was going to mention this. A top academic XXXXXXXX moron claimed this. People are already doing robots:
    http://www.sexbots.us/introduction.html

    For rent? Ewwww!

  11. Are these inflatable robots? Seems like the metal kind would be kind of painful.

  12. MrAtoz wrote:

    “Humans could soon be having sexual relationships with robots, a top academic has claimed.”

    Ever read Isaac Asimov’s The Robots of Dawn?

  13. Perverts.

    OK, lights on guns.

    It hath come to my attention elsewhere recently that one must make some choices I hadn’t thought of regarding lights on guns. To wit, the luminosity of same. The new de facto standard is 500 lumens but inside a building, esp. one with light walls, this is distracting to say the least and you could end up blinding yourself. So it was proposed that one stick to around 200-300 lumens for firearms, if used mainly indoors. I don’t currently have any lights on anything yet but am considering it; one of my concerns was lighting myself up as a target immediately but on the other hand, the perp isn’t gonna be able to see me with that light in his face. Another concern expressed is that when you point your light-enabled firearm at someone, you’re also pointing or sweeping the muzzle at them or across them, including anyone else in the vicinity.

    I haven’t made any decisions about this yet prior to hearing from the lighting experts here; right now I’ve been sticking with plain ol’ iron sights and nothing else; in the past, I’ve found that muzzle flashes light up the immediate area pretty good, but of course by then I was already firing away.

    The quality (and to-the-point brevity) of any responses here will dictate to what extent I inflict close textual analysis of medieval Icelandic epic.

  14. When everyone is a server, the viruses will flow faster?

    Probably not. There are games that have been using this for quite a while, as well as other file sharing apps. A simple way to prevent it is for the update feature to get a signature/hash for all patches from MSFT and reject anything that isn’t signed right. Also, since you can get a single patch from many different sources, it’s hard to stick malware in unless all the sources are corrupt.

  15. I disagree. The US government should do nothing whatsoever, including humanitarian aid. Let those who are on the hook take the losses. And the last person out of PR should turn off the lights.

    I just wish that this could happen this way. Governments would have a much harder time finding idiots to loan them money to “invest in the future”.

    You know that Sugar Daddy is going to bail out PR. And, I’ll bet that the Repugs will lead the charge to do so. Obola will sign anything in a heart beat.

  16. I still want to keep things home-based and avoid hiring any employees, but even within those constraints there’s a lot we can do to expand volume. When we first started up, I remember laughing at the idea that USPS would send a special truck to our house to pick up shipments if we needed them to. At the time, that seemed very unlikely to happen, but it may before too much longer. It’s actually happened a couple times already, when USPS showed up and I had 30 or 40 kits to ship that day. He had to take what he had room for in the truck, go back to the post office to drop off his load, and return to pick up the rest of my packages.

    Congratulations! I believe that today’s best business opportunities are finding a niche and filling it well. An inch wide and a mile deep. Many more of those than businesses such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Walmart which are a mile wide and an inch deep.

    I hope that your new place has adequate space to build a production building. In fact, can you run a manufacturing business on your new property? Or are there limitations by the HOA or city?

    I’m still looking for our niche to excel in. I am convinced there is one for us though. We are adding some exciting new features for late this fall / winter / before Dec 31, 2015 to meet some highly user requested features.

  17. I agree. One of things I took to heart from MBA school was the danger of growing too quickly. That’s bankrupted more small businesses than any other factor.

  18. Working from your home rocks. We’ve been doing it for 20 years now. Work anytime day or night. I’ve even worked nude. You probably didn’t want to know that.

  19. “Obama doubles down on climate rule”
    http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/250043-obama-doubles-down-on-climate-rule

    “The Obama administration on Sunday unveiled a tougher climate change rule for power plants, demanding that generators cut their carbon dioxide output 32 percent in the first-ever limits on the pollutant.”

    “The historic regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency is the main pillar of President Obama’s climate agenda. It is the biggest piece of his drive to create a legacy and go down in history as the first United States president to take comprehensive action against climate change by cutting emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.”

    It might be time to start investing in solar panels. Looks like the cause of the grid down scenario will be the dogooders in the White House and the EPA.

    Obola is looking for a legacy anywhere he can find one. I wonder if his legacy might be that everyone hates him after they see how much damage he has done to our economy.

  20. Working from your home rocks. We’ve been doing it for 20 years now. Work anytime day or night. I’ve even worked nude. You probably didn’t want to know that.

    Note to self, don’t buy any used office chairs from Mr. Atoz.

  21. Yeah Dr. RBT, please don’t hesitate to hire a few poeple if the business can sustain it. We, the citizens, desperately need your thinkmeats focused and available. It would seem wasteful for you to stop at “too busy with making and shipping kits”.

    I had one year of home school (eighth grade), 30 years ago. No lab resources were available, but it still made a significant difference in my life. One year away from the abuse of other simian pupae. I still have an armful of neuroses, but I’m not broken. Imagine another year, or some sort of lab science.

    Options being examined today leave me envious. Now, students can take care of their “social development requirements” with a half day at the school of their peers by age, and the rest at community college or trade school. This was only starting when I dropped out of high school (second junior year- I stopped caring).

    Now it is within reach to add “patches” to an available curriculum. Round up enough interested students to fill a class, and find a teacher to take care of it. One shot deal. Add it to the transcripts, and continue. I’ve never heard of it happening, but I can imagie it with mail order class kits and home school teachers.

    I’ve sat upon many questions for several reasons, the best being practicality and pride. Many would quickly expose my laziness. Asking for a 5 minute answer to avoid 10 hours of reading. The answer is available, with many others that I haven’t asked. Also, the questions have probably already been asked and answered many times before, in other forums. The internet is marvelous, crowded, and tangled with the chaos of popularity.

    I eagerly await the day that you will resume your videos. I hope for some on biology.

    Oh, and I apologize for my ramblings on bromine. My thoughts would have been irrelevant for 99.7% of the populace, and impractical. Any attempt at bromine synthesis from NaBr (which I have laying around) would almost certainly involve chlorine first. So I put one foot back on the ground and bought a can of sodium dichloroisocyanurate, which can be used directly for water treatment.

    My local coin shop is out of stock on all silver. Amusing, that.

  22. “‘Impossible’ rocket drive works and could get to Moon in four hours”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/space/11769030/Impossible-rocket-drive-works-and-could-get-to-Moon-in-four-hours.html

    “Interplanetary travel could be a step closer after scientists confirmed that an electromagnetic propulsion drive, which is fast enough to get to the Moon in four hours, actually works.”

    “The EM Drive was developed by the British inventor Roger Shawyer nearly 15 years ago but was ridiculed at the time as being scientifically impossible.”

    “It produces thrust by using solar power to generate multiple microwaves that move back and forth in an enclosed chamber. This means that until something fails or wears down, theoretically the engine could keep running forever without the need for rocket fuel.”

    I was thinking that this was a fake at first. Now, I just do not know.

    It would be cool though. I figured that our best way out of the gravity well was an anti-gravity machine but, this might work also.

  23. I’ve been working from home since 1998. I always dress in a 3-piece suit, starched shirt, and rep tie.

    Or is that in a rep shirt and starched tie?

  24. @L. Daniel Rosa

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Getting older is tough. It used to be that I just knew things. Then it got to the point where I could figure out stuff that I used to just know. Then to the point where I could at least look it up. Now I just make shit up. 😉

  25. “Now I just make shit up. ”

    I see new career paths for you…

    …”journalist,” lawyer, politician, flag rank military officer, financial adviser, the list goes on…

    “Obola is looking for a legacy anywhere he can find one.”

    If by “legacy” you mean a post-WH speech circuit and book-writing about what a Godsend he’s been to the nayshun and Humanity, like Larry Klinton, then you’re dead on it. Otherwise he’s just continuing to do what he’s told, i.e., wreck the country and the economy and foment wars abroad and ethno-racial tension and strife at home.

  26. Here’s some of Obummer’s legacy, but to be fair, it was going on LONG before he got to the WH:

    “The irony is that Harry received a stiffer punishment than a lot of the street thugs who terrorized Baltimore.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/08/03/university-punishes-conservative-student-for-anti-islam-tweets.html?intcmp=hpbt4

    I don’t doubt for a nanosecond that if it was within the university’s power, they’d flog this kid or hang him right there on the campus, to jeering mobs of hadjis and progs.

    The funny but not funny thing here is that the progs are emulating my fanatical Calvinist Puritan ancestors, who you might think they’d hate.

  27. I’m thinking about creating a genetically-engineered virus that will infect only progs, muslims, and politicians and cause them to die slow, hideous deaths.

    Although admittedly it’d be easier just to shoot them wherever you find them. But that’d be too quick. I want them to suffer.

    Oh, wait. Was that a micro-aggression?

  28. Microaggressions by thee, let me count the ways:

    “Thinking” pre-supposes the outdated Western concept of linear cognition, since superseded by advanced progressive ruminations and meditations, and your mentioning of it prior to the rest of your sentence privileges it beyond what is now acceptable in a polite and forward-thinking society.

    Thus also your notion of “creating,” a particular hobby-horse of the primitive paleo-patriarchal ideologies.

    And it goes without saying your proposed manipulation of human genetics by a privileged professional engineering class, no doubt consisting of hetero white males is a further microaggression, if not a macroaggression.

    The microaggressions continue unabated here; referring to superior members of society with the lower-case as in “progs” and denigrating the religion of peace likewise.

    Your stated preference and implied threat of “slow, hideous deaths” is a legally actionable macroaggression, sir.

    As is your fantasy of shooting them, a further indication of the oft-noticed hetero white male’s answer of violence to every problem or simply to slaughter the Other, whom one does not like and whom one fears.

    And you again reiterate your theme of violence and death visited upon peaceful citizens, another legally actionable macroaggression.

    Lastly, your sarcastic, and some would say, snarky question, constitutes a still further microaggression.

    I fear there is little hope for you, sir.

  29. You, sir, are what is known in the criminal justice community as a recidivist offender. Your sentence will be adjusted accordingly.

    Ten years of pedicures for Field Marshal Rodham and nightly threesomes with Huma and Wiener.

  30. I wouldn’t mind the first one, as long as I could choose my own bolt cutters. Of course, that’d limit me to one toe per year. OTOH, that would tend to draw it out for her.

    I’ve just discovered that I have no milk of human kindness left. I’m not sure where it all went, but it’s gone for sure.

  31. Regarding the fraudulent propulsion drive linked to above:
    Confucious say: “What go up must come down.”

    What isn’t mentioned is the 40 square miles of solar capture device, such as that on roof tops. How much conventional rocket is required to get that up and away of earth’s gravity.

    CowboySlim
    Who was a bona fide “rocket scientist” and the lead propulsion analysis engineer for a number of years. Who supported, among others, all the GPS satellite launches that now give turn-by-turn directions to your cars, among others, such as handheld outdoor units.

  32. Hey I go away for a few hours and it’s microaggression city here!

    Wife just changed out the main board for the fridge, and everything lit up. Fans started running, and read outs are readable. I’m hoping it actually cools!

    Not only technical, but a smart shopper. She got the part at a 30%discount for open box return. WhoooHoooo.

    ‘Course, I spent the afternoon at my rent house where I’ll be replacing the AC condenser fan due to bad bearings. Gotta get that ordered tonight. And I’ll need to bug spray after I recover from this lung nonsense, AND probably replace the ‘unbreakable’ security door glass. At least that should be under warranty. There is nothing tenants can’t break.

    nick

  33. I’m thinking about creating a genetically-engineered virus that will infect only progs, muslims, and politicians and cause them to die slow, hideous deaths.

    If you put that up on KickStarter or GoFundMe, I’ll bet you’d get half a million dollars within a week.

  34. There is nothing tenants can’t break.

    Gah. Tell me about it. That’s one of the reasons I sold my rental property, years ago.

  35. “…I’ll bet you’d get half a million dollars within a week.”

    I’d bet two to three times that, in days, not a week. There is a shit-ton of resentment out here concerning those categories of people in this country. Put it up on pay-per-view as they croak and more millions will roll in, and/or monetize a Toob channel for it.

    This will, of course, leave almost all college and university humanities and social “science” departments ghost towns, also their administrations. And a huge chunk of local, state and Fed gummint. But rather than a virus for the relatively few muslims in the country, I would recommend paid hunting expeditions, as go on now in the Murkan Southwest for feral hogs. Enterprising minds can probably figure a way to combine those hunts for maximum entertainment….

  36. virus that will infect only progs, muslims, and politicians

    Ah, a stupid virus.

    How much conventional rocket is required to get that up and away of earth’s gravity.

    They did it with Skylab, enough trips and you can get anything in orbit.

    I suspect that the use of such a drive, if it can be done, would be nuclear powered. It is probably a project that is more worthwhile funding than sending money to third world dictators.

  37. How much conventional rocket is required to get that up and away of earth’s gravity.

    Bah. “Conventional rockets”. I’ve been thinking for a while about conquering central Africa from coast to coast and building a linear accelerator. Load up at what used to be the Atlantic coast of Equatorial Guinea and then go a thousand miles eastward, tipping upward on Mt Kilimanjaro. Of course, I’d have to conquer at least 300 miles north and south of the equator to make sure no one tampered with it, nor with the big-ass nuke plants powering it.

  38. You’ll likely have to negotiate all that conquering with the Red Chinese, who are swarming the Dahk Continent nowadays.

  39. Fuck the Chinese. Their economic growth is, shall we say, faltering beyond the ability of their phoney numbers to cover up. (Not unlike the commie leadership over here’s failed efforts to disguise the non-growing American economy.)

    In fact, really fuck the Chinese. I’d been debating whether to conquer Africa with an army of cybernetically enhanced monkeys or with an army of battle droids. I’ll go with whichever would make the more terrifying rape machines.

  40. Oh my goodness!

    Such violent imagery!

    I feel my vapors coming on again!

    Do us all a favor, General; test your monkeys and/or droids on Mordor and Babylon first?

  41. cybernetically enhanced monkeys

    Mmm, sex with robomonkeys. Wait, I didn’t say that! I meant robobullock!

  42. Fartinacan is alive! Yipee! Kill Whitey!

    Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan called late last month for black Americans to “rise up” and “kill those who kill us” if the federal government fails to “intercede in our affairs.”

  43. In one of John Ringo’s books, the aliens infect humans with a virus that is easily stopped with a little hygiene and care. If you don’t though, it kills you.

    Weeds out the people who just can’t be bothered to take care of themselves.

    nick

  44. I was gittin’ kinda worried about our ol’ pal Reverend Fartinacan…good to know he’s alive and well and ornery as ever, still spewing that nonsense from ages ago ginned up by a snake oil carny barker named Wallace Fard, basically a white guy. What a laff riot!

    “Weeds out the people who just can’t be bothered to take care of themselves.”

    That would right away weed out not only most of the denizens across the street from us, but also our neighbor’s stepdaughter, overweight smoker who’s coughing her lungs out during her waking hours every day here. It would also weed out our DIL who at 5’6″ is now pushing 300 pounds with no end in sight and is diabetic finally.

  45. Fridge continues to cool down. Looks like that is a success.

    I looked at the old board, and as suspected, bad caps. Wife couldn’t see the caps in situ, so didn’t mention them. On the bench, there is visible bulging in the power supply area of the board. If my brains were working a couple of nights ago, I could have recapped for $20 and possibly fixed the problem the same day. So because they saved a couple cents on caps, I have to spend almost $200 and 2 days of inconvenience. Bugger.

    On the bright side, it totally defrosted the fridge, gave us a chance to do a deep clean, and a deep purge on all the out of date condiments and jars of random stuff.

    nick

  46. Two quick questions for the group-

    Anyone a skilled user of inkscape? I can’t figure out how to combine 2 paths, with one intersecting the other. Basically, I want to ‘stamp out’ a shape where it intersects another shape. None of the path operations seem to do it.

    Anyone know the pin out for Pelco universal power supplies? I need the 4 pin rj11 style pinout to power a NET350 analog to IP video server appliance. I have several as part of my planned upgrade around mi casa, but finding the dang psu or pinout is harder than I thought it would be. google has not been my friend.

    fingers crossed,

    nick

  47. nick, you want the path|intersection, path|exclusion, or similar operations. See https://inkscape.org/en/doc/advanced/tutorial-advanced.html

    The operations are not intuitive to me, but they do seem to do mostly what’s expected. Draw your freehand or bezier or whatever shapes, then convert to paths. (I drew them separately, then moved one atop the other. Might not matter.) I got different results if the shapes were filled with a color or not.

  48. Thanks, those are the ones I’ve been trying to make work.

    Basically I have a stylized man figure, and a “ghostbuster” circle slash. I want to ‘stamp out’ the circle slash from the figure so I can cut 2 colors of vinyl then stick them on the same sign without overlapping them physically.

    For some reason, I can’t make it work the way I think it should.

    nick

    (it’s part of my cunning plan to generate some extra income, or have some fun with vinyl signs, since I’ve got a cutter.)

  49. Some thoughts on the NC caper wherein three guys got themselves locked up:

    “There’s plenty you can do to ‘prepare for martial law’ without going to jail. Stick to that for now.”

    http://www.radiofreeredoubt.com/2015/08/04/fear-of-martial-law-and-other-crimes/

    Let me reiterate, as I have a damnable wont to do: Martial law is to law as military music is to music; it ain’t a whole lotta fun.

    Being wary about it is a good thing. Making exploding tennis ballz, allegedly, is not.

    Work on skillz; I’m woefully short on stuff from this list but doing what I can when I can:

    http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/prepper-skills-checklist-measure/

  50. Same here, Mr. nick.

    Microaggression time:

    “Over in Williamson County, Tennessee — just north of my home — prosecutors actually filed a motion asking the court to order a defense attorney to stop calling them “the government” in open court. Yes, that’s right — in my home state, it’s apparently now a slur to call the government by its name.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/421774/you-know-you-live-conservative-state-when-david-french

    I generally call it “The State,” or “Our Nanny, the Almighty State,” or “Leviathan.” Hey, if “Leviathan” was good enough for Thomas Hobbes, translator of Euclid and Thucydides, it’s good enough for me. But Ima gon guess that all three of my usual names for the rat-fucking war criminal bastards who rule us are microaggressions.

  51. ”My memory is a pale shadow of what it once was, but this is ridiculous.”

    Mine too…and since it was never any good, this is sometimes damned frustrating :-/

    “I still want to keep things home-based and avoid hiring any employees”

    I started to comment on this yesterday, but never got around to it – unless I forgot and did it anyway 🙂

    My wife has been running our little business for some years now – we gave in on the employee front some time ago, and now she has two permanent employees and a number of people on call when necessary. The latter hardly count – they’re just people interested in earning a few bucks for an evenings’ work, but otherwise aren’t any sort of administrative or managerial load.

    The employees – that’s a mixed bag. On one hand, you can unload stuff that just isn’t worth your personal time, things that “anyone” can do, so that you can concentrate on the stuff where you are irreplaceable. In my wife’s case, that’s the telephone answering, order processing, order packing, and so forth.

    On the other hand, employees require supervision. They rarely take ownership of their tasks; rarely do them as well as you want. So you have to check their work, and decide what level of quality you are willing to accept. Then, they are people with all their foibles, so you can’t just flat-out correct them, you have to do so in a way that motivates them to do better. Finally, with employees, you have a lot of legal and administrative issues to deal with: payroll, taxes, health care, sick leave, and on and on.

    tl;dr: Taking on that first employee is a huge step; an alternative is subcontracting. Getting bottles labelled, getting orders shipped – logistical stuff like this can be done by external companies. Example, I’m currently working with a little company here in Switzerland. Their entire stock is at an external warehouse. When an order comes in, it goes straight to the warehouse, where the items are packed and shipped to the customer. That’s a huge load off the company, and lets them concentrate on their core business.

  52. @nick

    Go ahead and spend the $20 and replace the capacitors so you have a spare board just in case this one goes bad any you can’t find a $200 replacement post SHTF

  53. @Brad

    Thanks.

    Yes, I’ve always said that if/when we need help we’ll use subcontractors for the routine stuff. That’s not really a problem right now. Barbara does lots of the stuff like labeling bottles while she sits watching Grey’s Anatomy or some such.

  54. Despite the recent news stories, I don’t buy into the meme that DHS and other federal government agencies will take control and go to war against prepared individuals and groups, let alone create a catastrophic situation to pave the way. There simply aren’t enough of them, by at least an order of magnitude, and too many of those they have are bureaucrats and time-servers. Nor are local police going to cooperate with that, particularly outside the major cities.

  55. @bill, that is a good idea, and I can do it quickly and cheaply.

    @RBT, I think you are underestimating a couple of things wrt .gov agencies, but I need to get the kids out the door and think it fhru.

    nick

  56. I have found Bob’s posts and the discussion here to be very helpful. Both make me wish I had some local prepping friends to compare notes with.

    Does anyone have suggestions on how to find local people who are interested in being more prepared? Or how to avoid the people who give prepping a bad name?

  57. @bill, I’m not putting together a group, but if I was:

    ham radio clubs, or service organizations like RACES, ARES
    take a CERT class
    local friendly gun store, NOT one draped with camo net

    At any of these places, you will often hear someone say something sly, or oblique, that references some aspect of prepping. A small riposte, and you are on your way to a conversation. Unless the person is living a prepper lifestyle openly (for business reasons) it’s worth it to go slow and avoid loudmouths. On the flip side, prepping is smart and prudent, and you should be able to discuss it openly. It is a bad idea to talk about your PERSONAL preps when you don’t know who is listening though.

    Of course in some of these places very overt and open talk of prepping is appropriate, CERT classes for example.

    All in all, it’s a dance. Both of you are looking for LMIs or “like minded individuals” without revealing too much of yourselves.

    If you DON’T think your unprepared friends neighbors and relations will swarm you and eat up all your preps when SHTF, then you can be very open. Likewise if you don’t believe TPTB will seize preps under “hoarding” or other rules when SHTF, go ahead and be open.

    I try to balance between giving people help to get prepped (because I want more prepped people in the world) and giving specific examples, and being secretive.

    Some code words to listen for:
    LMI, or like minded individuals
    3per, the Three, 3 percenter (also has militant overtones)
    SHTF
    freeze drieds
    #10can
    mountain house
    big berkley
    BOB
    EDC
    GHB

    nick

    added: any positive talk about PMs (precious metals)

    the three Bs, beans bullets bandaids

    “after all two is one and one is none”

    look for a knife clipped in a pocket (very common) AND a small flashlight (not so common.)

    added: “fiat currency”

    added: how could I forget “zombie apocalypse”

  58. I should add that many of those keywords have additional or even primary associations with groups that are not primarily about prepping.

    The prepping community is composed of folks from MANY different other subcultures.

    There are classic survivialists, gunnies, 2nd Amendment activists, the militia movement, back to the land movement, modern homesteading movement, pure preppers (no politics), emergency management professionals, disaster relief and preparedness pros and semi-pros, gold bugs, and a host of others including those who ‘just feel like something bad is coming.’

    Room for all the big tent of ‘prepping.’

    As to avoiding weirdos, I do it just like I avoid them in any setting. Identify them and stay away!

    nick

  59. Along the lines of a tenant can break anything, from the basement of my sailor day memories I dug up this submarine sailor anecdote:

    Put a skimmer (surface sailor) in an empty room with only an anvil and an hour later he will have either broken it or lost it 😀

    Well, it was funny at the time, guess you had to be there 😉

  60. @nick

    +1.

    Of course, none of us here are hiding what we’re doing, or we wouldn’t be posting about it on the Internet.

    Even if you don’t, as I’ve told Jen, OPSEC in any real sense is impossible. The government knows what you’re buying, even if you pay cash. Data mining is a very powerful tool. Your neighbors know, too, one way or another. The anonymity train left the station long ago.

    That’s why Bill has it right. The only real hope is to make close friends with LMI’s, and in that group I include unprepared family and friends. We’ll lay in extra food and other supplies for them, and if things get really bad we’ll take them in. I mean, a year’s worth of rice, beans, vegetable oil, and salt for one person currently costs less than $400. At that price, how many people can you afford to stock up for?

    As I mentioned, our purchases of supplies are pretty much on hold until we get relocated, but then I plan to go into high gear. The house we just put in an offer on is defensible and has room for 40 to 50 people in a pinch, so I’ll eventually build our supplies to be able to feed 50 people for a year. Call it $20K. I know a lot of preppers who are spending much more than that prepping for their families of four to eight people.

    What it all comes down to is that I’d rather surround myself with 50 family and friends, none of whom are at all prepared but all of whom I trust, than 50 prepared people whom I’m unsure of. I realize that a lot of people, probably including you, think that’s a mistake, but I’m pretty sure it’s not.

  61. @dadcooks,

    We used to say of stagehands, you could leave them alone in a room with a bowling ball, come back in 30 minutes and the ball would be lost broken or pregnant.

    nick

  62. @nick

    Thanks, I think along the lines of your suggestions I may take a basic NRA gun safety course.

  63. @nick

    The skimmers used to use that saying on us bubble heads, only it was 15 minutes IIRC 😉

  64. @RBT

    Yes, I know there’s going to be no OPSEC. Especially since I’m married. I think my wife is going to be skeptical of my prepping intentions. I’m just hoping she doesn’t tell all our friends that I’m one of those crazy preppers.

  65. Yes, spousal management is a major issue for many, probably most, preppers. And it’s not related to sex. There are as many families where he’s the prepper and she’s dubious as there are where the woman is the prepper with a dubious spouse. Men and women are equally subject to normalcy bias.

    Barbara has always been willing to prepare for emergencies, but she thought in terms of a few days or at most weeks, with the Red Cross and government coming to our rescue. I’ve gradually used current events to shift her perspective. Ferguson was good, as was Ebola, as was Baltimore. She’s completely on-board with relocating to the mountains to get away from the underclass. I think she’s gone from thinking “something isn’t right” to thinking “something really, really isn’t right.”

    I expect some resistance from her to the idea of stocking up on 50 person years of cheap bulk staples, but I’ll do it gradually, counting on the news of current events to shift her perspective further each month.

  66. The other thing you have to be careful about is despair. Some people when they’re finally convinced that there’s a very good chance that bad times are coming react very badly. Instead of telling themselves that they need to get off their asses and start prepping, they decide that there’s no point to doing anything because we’re all going to die anyway and even if we don’t they don’t want to live in that new world.

  67. @RBT

    I’m with you on the despair thing. Even I can forsee unlikely SHTF scenarios so bad that I may not want to survive. However, I think more likely than not, I will want to survive. I think it is far better to be prepared to survive and not want to than the reverse.

    For example, if the only way to survive the zombie apocalypse is to be a zombie, then I choose not to survive.

  68. @RBT

    Of course, none of us here are hiding what we’re doing, or we wouldn’t be posting about it on the Internet.

    Yes, but most of us aren’t posting our full names.

  69. WRT to the cops and troops not having the numbers by a geometric order compared to us masses of Mundanes out here: that is true. However, they could make some pretty horrible examples of a targeted individual or group of people that they declare is a threat to “national security,” for example. This would be known as State terrorism, designed with malice aforethought to generate massive FUD. Peeps would BEG for law and order.

    I’m not exactly sure of the form it would take but one possible example: declare that all those preppers, survivalists and militia types out in the so-called American Redoubt in the Rockies are maniacal white supremacists, child molesters and terrorists, and that they have developed WMD. Then put up drones over it and upload alleged vid footage of all this stuff. Instill massive FUD. Attack. Applause. Calls for more. Stasi in full swing: if you see something, say something.

    The Russians and East Germans will be laughing their asses off, a bit ruefully, that we could be so stupid and lazy as to let this happen. Solzhenitsyn spinning in his grave, wondering if we were listening when he talked about his fellow zeks admitting that if only they’d banded together with shovels, pickaxes and meat cleavers when the NKVD was conducting its midnight raids.

  70. But, but… The government is our friend.

    I don’t expect things to get that bad, but trying to model it on an n-dimensional matrix is beyond my abilities. I always keep in mind that, other than the small percentage of psychopaths out there, no one drinks his coffee in the morning while figuring out what he can do to be evil today.

    People are usually shocked when I comment that even a majority of the Gestapo were probably pretty nice guys individually. They helped old ladies across the street and contributed to community causes. Most of them were probably well-liked by their neighbors. It’s just that their day jobs involved mass torture and murder. Any organization is different from the people who make it up, so I understand the mistrust of government agencies. Hell, it’s been a joke ever since I can remember: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.

    But everyone other than real psychopaths has a built-in moral compass that has nothing to do with religion or lack thereof. Of course, psychopaths are attracted to government work and prog causes. But most government employees, particularly locals, are not psychopaths, and will draw the line at something that’s just not right.

    Why do you think the Tsar had to use the Cossacks? It was because he knew that normal soldiers couldn’t be trusted to fire on civilians. Some of them, sure, but more would be disgusted at what they were ordered to do. We’ve seen this over and over through history. If you want to slaughter civilians, don’t count on your military to do it for you, or at least not for long. There’s a reason why the SS and not the Wehrmacht ran the death camps. Even many in the Waffen-SS were disgusted at what was going on, and more than a few of them decided to try to do something about it, at the risk of their own and their families’ lives.

  71. “Yes, but most of us aren’t posting our full names.”

    So? It’d be pretty easy for me to figure out who’s who, and if I can do it the government certainly can.

  72. So? It’d be pretty easy for me to figure out who’s who, and if I can do it the government certainly can.

    Yes, but that would require a motivated government employee.

  73. “But most government employees, particularly locals, are not psychopaths, and will draw the line at something that’s just not right.”

    I’d like to believe that but am a bit more pessimistic. While the SS were running those death camps, ordinary schmuck German Mundanes in nearby towns and villages could see and smell the smoke from the chimneys. The same Mundanes stood by and watched, or actively assisted in the roundups of people, and not only in Germany. That, and various psychology experiments conducted over the years in this country involving authority and its hold over people lead me to not hold my breath waiting for regular citizen-subjects to not do the wrong thing and/or do the right thing, esp. under severe pressures.

    I fear we’ll live to see the day when we’ll be separating the wheat from the chaff in this regard. But I hope you’re right.

  74. no one drinks his coffee in the morning while figuring out what he can do to be evil today

    Been awhile since you have commuted on the interstate.

  75. I got side tracked by the radio stuff, but I think history shows us that most people will just go along, and that there is ALWAYS someone who will do the dirty work.

    Whether they are lied to about the nature of the enemy, or if they are the victims of increased hatred from the citizenry, they will get their mad on. Especially the more they are isolated from the ordinary mass of people. This is a real problem for cops already, and things aren’t so bad yet.

    And they have the power of ORGANIZED force on their side. Who will take care of my family if I resist? You can bet they will be promised protection for theirs.

    The age old trick of bringing in outsiders is always there too. The UN soldier is the boogieman of a whole subset of PA fiction, or the empowered illegal alien gang, or just using the NG outside of their home states.

    It doesn’t take much to slip the normal bounds of propriety. It happens to sports teams, fraternities, military units, police departments, etc. and again, the revolution hasn’t even started yet….

    nick

  76. Real names, yeah. I don’t bother hiding things here – there’ve been links to my home page, etc.. This isn’t my only internet personality; I wonder how hard the government would have to work to connect the dots. Probably not very hard at all…

    In the end it’s a question of mass. If only a few people are nuisances to the government, they have no chance. It things really go pear shaped, and there are millions of discontents, then the government has no chance. For better or for worse, I see the slow slide into dystopia as more likely, in which case it won’t come to mass unrest.

    What’s funny is reading the writings of people like Heinlein or Orwell or Huxley, all of whom already thought we were pretty far along the slope many decades ago. I can only imagine what they would think today.

    My wife and I were just discussing government today. Even here, where the government is a lot saner than in the US, there are plenty of problems. It seems to us that the incentives for governments are wrong. There has to be a way to build in an incentive for small, simple regulations and laws, a counterweight to Pournelle’s Iron Law. I dunno, maybe the bureaucrats should get 20 lashes for each new page of regulations; and the politicians 50 lashes for each new law. Something…

  77. @bill,

    If you think your spouse might be reluctant, start with the hazards you are most likely to face in your locale. Use the ready.gov and FEMA guidelines as a starting place. It may be distasteful, but you can use them as “arguing from authority” to give your ideas more weight.

    One thing I can guarantee, is that sooner or later, one of your preps will demonstrate it’s usefulness. When it does, don’t crow and say ‘see I told you so’, just carry on calmly. She will know. It can be as small as saving a trip to the store when you have company and are making dinner, or lighting up the house when there is a short power outage, or getting a can opener from storage when hers breaks. The ability to quickly and easily, without muss and fuss, return her world to near normal will go a LONG way toward buying her support, or at least tolerance.

    That’s been my personal experience, and what I see on other forums too.

    nick

    WRT OPSEC, some folks on here ARE using their real names. Most are at least using a persona, if not an outright pseudonym. Anyone who has paid attention could probably figure out who I am IRL based on my statements (CERT team, ham radio, area of town, etc.) I try to avoid anything that would be easily keyword searchable, mainly to discourage the amateur sleuth. This can sometimes seem coy or affected. A pro would not be put off long, just using google and public databases, assuming I never cross posted or got personas mixed (and I know one post where I did just that on another site). A .gov or legal investigation would have access to server records and IP addresses, and no amount of trying would prevent them from identifying me. Researchers were able to determine something like 88% of hosts on the TOR network, which is supposed to be anonymizing….Others have been able to identify people on otherwise anonymous sites by their almost unique browser settings and state.

    But being unable to share and cross pollinate ideas would be an even bigger risk. There are network effects to prepping, so it’s helpful to get more people involved. It’s easy to get tunnel vision or narrowly focused to the point you miss the obvious risks. And the sense of community is worth it all by itself, especially give that there are risks involved in doing it IRL and publicly.

    So take some basic precautions, use some obfuscation, avoid easily searchable stuff (NEVER POST A HAM CALLSIGN) and join the conversation. 🙂

  78. OFD wrote:

    ” It would also weed out our DIL who at 5’6″ is now pushing 300 pounds with no end in sight and is diabetic finally.”

    Photos, or I don’t believe it… 🙂

  79. “maybe the bureaucrats should get 20 lashes for each new page of regulations; and the politicians 50 lashes for each new law. Something…”

    Then you’d be selecting for open masochists and the sadists needed to punish them! A whole new agency would need to be created.

    One of the most eye opening things in Amity Shlaes’s excellent book “The Forgotten Man” is the list of departments, agencies, bureaus, etc that were created during the depression as short term but are still with us today.

    It’s a LONG list.

    nick

  80. Yeah, and they swore in WWII that income tax withholding was a temporary emergency measure.

  81. I’ve usually hidden behind a pseudonym for years. One of my friends on another list called me paranoid, but for some reason (not revealed) changed his mind and said I was right all along. It’s too late for him to go even slightly undercover but he wishes he hadn’t been so open with his identity.

    I guess it wouldn’t be hard to find out more about me by Googling some of the Aussie words, and URLs I post. I don’t care enough to worry.

  82. @nick

    I dropped one of the Ultrafire flashlights in her purse, and I think she has found it to be useful already. I will prep and if something else becomes useful, I will take your advice to heart.

    I’ve told her a real life story from before we met where being more prepared will be handy.

    One of my wife’s friends and her husband are at least somewhat interested in prepping. It’s a shame they live a couple hours away. One of them has suggested to my wife that she should have a bug out bag in the car.

  83. “It’s a shame they live a couple hours away.”

    That’s not a bug, it’s a feature!

    It gives you both a place to go that is outside your area if affected by a disaster!

    Build on that relationship!

    nick

  84. Speaking of which, if you do set up a mutual agreement, make sure that your (and their) supplies are set up so either one of you can quickly load up more than just a bug-out bag. If you end up with a year’s supply of food and it’ll fit in your vehicle(s), great. Haul it with you if you need to evacuate to their place, and vice versa.

    Also, as you accumulate more stuff, keep it organized by priority so that you can just grab it and toss it in the vehicle if you need to. In many emergencies, you’ll have hours’ or even days’ warning, but in many you’ll have only minutes or even seconds, so being organized counts.

  85. @RBT, I have a whole article worth about my ‘hack’ for that. I’ve been saving it for submission to one of the 2 places where I could win stuff if people liked it.

    Basically, I have a 3×5 card in a card holder on a lanyard. One side is divided in half, the other is plain. The top half of the divided side is my 5 minute list. The bottom half is my 15 minute list. And the back is my 30 minute list. It sorts by importance, and is cumulative.

    So if disaster strikes and I only have 5 minutes, what do I need to grab? If I have 15 minutes, what additional items do I need? And if I have 30 minutes, what about the rest?

    The lanyard has a mini leatherman tool, and a tiny squeeze led light on it too.

    In theory, I have one for my wife as well, but her’s is just “get the kids in the car.”

    I got the idea after watching a show called “To Catch a Thief.” The upshot of the show is that you can strip your house of EVERYTHING of value in less than 10 minutes IF YOU AREN’T COMING BACK.

    The lists are to be sure that “everything of value” includes things like birth certificates and the NAS drive.

    Frankly, by the time I get to my 30 minute list, there is very little left on it. And in reality, it may take longer to load the Mountain House and water than 15 minutes. Your list may vary. Here’s some of mine.

    5 minutes:

    grab and go bags
    diaper bags
    g u n s
    CERT bag
    paperwork box
    medical bags
    water
    NAS/laptops

    15 minute
    other pcs
    commo kit
    hurricane kit (freeze drieds)
    aquatainers
    wedding pix
    recipe book
    tool bag
    dog carrier (preloaded with food and collar and leash)

    30 minutes
    bulk medical bags
    bulk ammo

    misc

    I need to update it a little, but you get the idea.

    Lists are great. When my buddy was forced to evac on 15 minutes notice for a brush fire, he winged it. Since they were going to the grandparent’s house, most of his essential stuff was duplicated there. When I asked his wife what she regretted not taking she said “The family bible.” It was an important piece of their heritage, and not something you think about every day, so in the scramble it got overlooked.

    Lists made with no time constraint are good at preventing “overlooked.”

    nick

    btw, after a week they were allowed to return home, and found their house intact. That was the first time in a week they KNEW they would have a house to return to. And no, DUMMY still doesn’t have a 5/15/30 list.

  86. Astute readers will notice the repetition of “bag.” Very handy, bags. Also “kit”, very handy, kits.

    Also, for a tweak, keep a couple of those reusable grocery bags in your safe or in your hiding spot. You want some easy way to throw all the papers, or bulk ammo, or extra pistols in a bag and carry them. Do it now.

    nick

  87. Oh, the lanyards hang on my office door knob, with a lanyard that has my official CERT ID and my ham and other licenses tucked into it.

    Later the kids will get their own id lanyards, now they get their name and address written on their arm with sharpie.

    nick

    added: nothing else will drive it home for you that it is really happening like writing their name and contact info on their arm.

  88. I think I’m starting to think like a prepper. I considered the idea of going to the friends place in case of an emergency and I realized that I might not want to take the normal route through a major city. So I just used Google Maps to plot a route avoiding the major city. Under normal conditions, it’s 45 minutes longer. In a SHTF scenario, it might be a faster route.

  89. @Bill,

    now look at how you would do it on a bike (look for railroad tracks) or on foot.

    Look for a way that misses the big city by a wide margin, avoids where major roads come together, avoids main ways out of the city and out of your town.

    You won’t be the only one on the move, so where are masses of people coming from and where will they be trying to go?

    What is different if it happens at 8am or at 10 pm?

    Real life example:

    After hurricane Katrina came hurricane Rita. When the evacuation orders came for Rita, people got the heck out of dodge, having just seen what could happen if they didn’t!

    Unfortunately, one of the major routes out of the Houston area, north toward Dallas, quickly became a parking lot. Many of the people who left too early or too late, or didn’t have any gas with them, got stuck in the traffic and had a hurricane come right over their heads, while stuck in their cars.

    That was not a good choice. The hurricane track was fairly predictable. Their entire escape route was in the hurricane’s path.

    Think about timing. It’s a bit of a truism that by the time you think you should leave it’s already too late. Meaning, you need to anticipate the need and act expeditiously when the time comes. Sometimes, it might pay to wait until after the first panic wave. Ike was that way for us. Long delays, backed up roads, but all cleared in time for us to leave if the storm had worsened.

    The key is to know ahead of time what would make you leave, and then GO when the condition is met.

    nick

  90. Unfortunately, one of the major routes out of the Houston area, north toward Dallas, quickly became a parking lot. Many of the people who left too early or too late, or didn’t have any gas with them, got stuck in the traffic and had a hurricane come right over their heads, while stuck in their cars.

    That was not a good choice. The hurricane track was fairly predictable. Their entire escape route was in the hurricane’s path.

    Are you confusing hurricanes Rita and Ike? Rita came in at Beaumont. Ike came in at Galveston and then ran north up I-45.

    Rita was weird in the fact that the first predicted landfall was Corpus Christi, then Port Lavaca, then Freeport, then Galveston, then it actually came in at Beaumont. 250 miles down the coast from the original prediction.

    But you are very correct. Don’t bug out unless you absolutely have to.

  91. nick,

    Do you still need instructions for “erasing” the overlap between two images in Inkscape? I figured it out today.

    EDIT: ooh, 100th post for the day! woo-hoo! What do I win?

  92. “Photos, or I don’t believe it… :-)”

    It’s our DIL, NOT our daughter, mind you. Daughter is six feet at around 200 or so. DIL is six inches shorter and a hundred pounds heavier. Has gotten fatter since moving to Kalifornia, if that is possible; it’s only been a couple of months. They eat fast food, junk food, frozen food and do not cook and do not read books. And latest intel from Mrs. OFD is that they’re currently only together for the kids and otherwise could possibly be breaking up at some point. Son is on the big cutting-edge corporate fast track and DIL doesn’t even know what century the War of Northern Aggression was fought in or who were the major combatants in the Good War.

    I agree with Mr. nick’s bug-out lists and procedures but cannot at present fathom a scenario here where we’d have to do that. Maybe if a plane crashed into the village here and exploded, or Champ rose up from the depths and went on a rampage. We ain’t leaving.

    But if I was still working 30-40 miles away I’d damn sure have a get-home-bag and will have bail-out-bags in the vehicles anyway.

    In other nooz, Comcast has been down here more often than it’s been up for the past several days, including today. It just came back up after being down since this morning. Outrageous. If I get any up time tomorrow I’ll try calling them and throwing a fit. We had zero problems like this until the past month or so, since hooking up with them last fall.

  93. DIL is six inches shorter and a hundred pounds heavier. Has gotten fatter since moving to Kalifornia… DIL doesn’t even know what century the War of Northern Aggression was fought in or who were the major combatants in the Good War.

    Don’t tell me, let me guess: before they got married, she had big tits and put out.

  94. @SteveF,

    If you would be so kind, I’ll take any help I can get.

    @OFD,

    Sometimes you find the sheriff at the door, and it’s time to leave. Got any railroad tracks? Highways? Underground pipelines? All could spill toxic clouds.

    Forest fire?

    Nearby manufacturing?

    It happens. Doesn’t take long to make the card….

    nick

  95. 1. Acquire two 4×8 sheets of plywood, four used car tires, about three feet of rope, and four pieces of scrap wood a foot or so long.
    2. Cut two rectangular holes in each piece of plywood, just big enough to stick a third or so of the tire up through the hole, so the central hole is just visible.
    3. Drill a hole in the middle of one short end of each piece of plywood.
    4. Transport to a lake, preferably one with a reputation for a “sea serpent” or other unexplained sightings. (And, if you’re burdened with scruples, one with little boat traffic.)
    5. Pass a tire up through each hole and hold it in place with scrap wood.
    6. Tie the plywood together.
    7. Release into the lake, preferably on a foggy morning.

    Oh, wait, those are instructions for making a lake monster. Color me embarrassed.

    1. Create one object with the freehand tool
    2. Fill it with a non-background color
    3. Select the object and do Path|Object to Path
    4. Create a straight line (the diagonal stroke)
    5. Set the color and line width
    6. Select the object and do Path|Stroke to Path (note: Stroke to Path for this one. Doesn’t work if you do Object to Path for both.)
    7. Position the objects
    8. If the diagonal line is not on top, raise it with Object|Raise
    9. Select both objects
    10. Do Path|Difference

    I can’t figure out the logic for this behavior, nor find it explicitly written up. I don’t know if it’s buggy behavior and these steps work only on the one version of Inkscape or if it’s consistent. The only reason I managed to find it is, I’ve done the trick before, so I knew it was possible, so I kept monkeying with it. (It wasn’t exactly a slow day on my butt-in-seat contract, but I was sitting around with my finger in my nose waiting for any of three not-exactly-motivated-or-competent people to take care of something and get back to me.)

    Drop me a line if the steps don’t work and I’ll get you the exact version of Inkscape I have at work, and maybe make screenshots and save in-progress steps.

  96. OFD has one of the biggest lakes in the lower 48 about 150 ft away from his front door. It would never flood his house…

    He also has a Shell station about 200 ft away from his front door. It would never have a fire…

    Me, we would have to leave if the rampaging coyote packs breached our levee. Wait, they just run over the levee when they want to.

  97. “…let me guess: before they got married, she had big tits and put out…”

    That was too easy. Anthropology for the past 50,000 years. Bounce those racks, have strong legs, and rope in the dumbass male who thinks with his dick, mainly. Fast-forward ten years, tops; whether there are kidz or not: massive weight gains and a geometric order of magnitude rise in nagging.

    “Sometimes you find the sheriff at the door, and it’s time to leave. Got any railroad tracks? Highways? Underground pipelines? All could spill toxic clouds.”

    I doubt it will be the sheriff who gets us to leave but I guess it could happen; house foreclosure, orders from whoever holds the mortgage then, local politics. Railroad tracks about three miles away. Interstate about four miles. Possible underground pipeline within two miles. Yeah, I suppose toxic clouds could do it. BOBs are partly constructed/configured already; will step that up; thanks for the reminders.

    “Forest fire?”

    Not anything huge nearby; small woods and brush fires, tops.

    “Nearby manufacturing?”

    Within three miles; Mylan Technologies and Ben & Jerry’s. Plus railroad and truck terminals.

    Shit. Now I gotta talk the wife into selling and moving out to East Bumfuck, like I wanted to do in the first place. Trouble is, she loves the lake here and loves the house.

    “OFD has one of the biggest lakes in the lower 48 about 150 ft away from his front door. It would never flood his house…”

    It’s about 100 feet and it’s never flooded the house here since it was built in 1830. Despite a couple of recent tropical storms/hurricanes to our south that flooded other parts of the state.

    “He also has a Shell station about 200 ft away from his front door. It would never have a fire…”

    Yeah, I suppose that could happen, too; though how many gas station fires are there in the country every year? Anyone know?

    OK, OK; I get it. Two BOBS and the 5-15-30 cards coming up.

    Hey, I’m not some arrogant hyperliterate son of a bitch that can’t learn something from flashlight geeks….

    …tx much, and a tip of the camo boonie hat….

  98. @OFD,

    nice hazard assessment. To be thorough, you’d have to put them in a grid, sorted by likelyhood on one axis, and severity of consequences on the other, then address the ones that were both likely and severe, unlikely and catastrophic, etc. you could add a 3rd axis for cost to mitigate….

    There is a whole math and methodology to help humans make risk decisions in a defensible way. OR you can just look at it and see what could happen, and what you can actually prepare for, and do what gets you the most bang for the buck. You probably won’t face an inquest if you get it wrong 🙂 And at base, most of those have the same response which is just a variation on “RUN AWAY!”

    I brought those specific things up, ’cause they’ve all happened to people out of the blue. And most people don’t consider them when thinking of dangers in the ‘hood.

    Why just today, there was a story of a gas station hit by lightning then exploding.

    http://strangesounds.org/2015/08/lightning-bolt-hits-underground-fuel-tank-and-triggers-giant-crater-in-fairfield-ohio.html

    In the story I read, officials were quoted saying it would take a LONG time to clean up.

    I wouldn’t actually lose sleep thinking about a gas station fire. Or a pipeline explosion. Or the derailments or spills either. But I do have the BOBs ready….

    nick

    added: google image search for ‘gas station fire’ is pretty daunting. Apparently not as rare as you might think.

  99. “…To be thorough, you’d have to put them in a grid, sorted by likelyhood on one axis, and severity of consequences on the other, then address the ones that were both likely and severe, unlikely and catastrophic, etc. you could add a 3rd axis for cost to mitigate….”

    I could do that, but how do I know what the likelihood is of any of them barring a full-scale investigation of historical accounts and the stats thereof? For all I know, the train derailment of tanker cars filled with (fill in whatever toxic cloud stuff) is as likely as Champ rising from the deep to knock our house to rubble.

    Another question: how do we know whether we have five, fifteen or thirty minutes to grab our chit and bail?

  100. In other nooz, our Dem gov signed a bill that makes suppressors legal here, finally, and we’re about tied with Arizona as the most gun-friendly state in the country. Now all we gotta do is beef up the Castle Doctrine here and we’ll be Number One!

    Plus it drives the not-from-around-here libturd ass-hats bat-shit crazy!

  101. “how do we know whether we have five, fifteen or thirty minutes”

    Well, I think you’ll know. If you can see flames, you probably don’t have 30 minutes!

    But seriously, that’s why the list keeps going. Keep loading up as long as prudent. I’d say though, pick the time when you start the list. You are likely to overrun your allotment anyway.

    nick

  102. And if I see dead people I probably don’t have five minutes, either. Or look in the mirror and nobody there and MUCH less than five minutes, i.e., TOO FUCKING LATE!

    What’ll be funny is if we load up, get in the vehicle/s, and head out of the village here on any of the three roads out and find all of them blocked by cops and soldiers and thus we’ve been quarantined. As clouds of smoke roll across the cornfields…

  103. “Plus it drives the not-from-around-here libturd ass-hats bat-shit crazy!”

    +1

  104. I never could understand why suppressors were controlled at all. I used to carry a MAC-10 in .45 ACP with the Sionics suppressor. It worked really well. The MAC sounded like a full-auto cap pistol. Better yet, the impinging gasses pushed forward on the suppressor, which just about eliminated muzzle climb. I could fire that SMG one-handed and keep rounds on a silhouette target well down range. Without the suppressor, the muzzle start climbing as soon as you pulled the trigger, even if you were firing with the stock extended and from the shoulder.

    I remember the time one of the other guys was claiming that the MAC was the best thing in a close-in fight. I told him my HS 10B with the Choate magazine extension and #4 buckshot was better, so we went out to the range and set up a couple of silhouette targets. Someone shouted “GO” and we both cut loose. His target was punched full of holes, but mine was hanging in shreds from the frame.

  105. “His target was punched full of holes, but mine was hanging in shreds from the frame.”

    Overkill? I wouldn’t want to be either target.

  106. I’d never have reason to fire 8 rounds of 12-gauge buck at someone, but it did make an impressive demonstration.

  107. I’d never have reason to fire 8 rounds of 12-gauge buck at someone, but it did make an impressive demonstration.

    And a microaggression. But you didn’t know it at the time. 🙂

  108. I’d never have reason to fire 8 rounds of 12-gauge buck at someone

    Hand, foot, other hand, other foot, knee, other knee, groin, head. If you get the timing right, he’ll feel every one and not go into shock or bleed out before he sees the last one coming.

    (Theoretical only, I must admit. If I want someone dead, I don’t fuck around. I’ve watched too many action movies where slowly killing the so-called good guy backfires on the so-called bad guy. Same goes for taunting the so-called good guy with the details of your so-called evil plan. Hell, if I had captured my so-called nemesis and wanted to taunt him, I’d lie when I revealed my so-called evil plan. Not only that, but all of my bombs and self-destructs will be set to go off when they reach 10, not 0. That’s just common sense, based on everything I’ve learned from watching action movies.)

  109. I’ve also learned a ton of neat stuff from action movies. Also from supposed Seals and Delta guys on the net. Boy, I’m ready to rock and roll now!

  110. Hoo, yah, I’ve lost track of the number of former Green Berets, SEALs, and CIA assassins I’ve met over the years, both in person (most often hitchhiking or cadging a buck or two) and on the internet. Oh, and one guy who learned ninjitsu (the real stuff, not that fake crap) from a real ninja. And, while we’re at it, lots of grandmasters of martial arts styles no one’s heard of, the names of which were probably made up on the spot.

  111. @steveF,

    Funny isn’t it? Any yet, when I found myself (and all the other students) invited to the 75th birthday party for the sifu who ran our whole school, I was DUMBFOUNDED to discover that he is one of the guys who brought chinese martial arts to the US, and there were dozens of famous people there to honor him, including recognizable film stars, among the hundreds of guests.

    Never ONCE had the slightest clue. He was famous and very well regarded. And the guys (and gals) giving demonstrations from different schools looked and acted like any old guy on the street; like insurance salesmen, or chiropractors.

    But “Larry” at the gun range giving classes is an operator (18B) on temporary detached duty to the DEA, who ‘disappears on missions’ and has to cancel class sometimes on short notice. This despite his slovenly appearance, gut, weasel eyes, complete inability to brief the class, and full sleeves of VERY distinctive tattoos. The bitch in “Larry’s” case is that he seemed to be a pretty competent instructor, for beginner shooters, but that wasn’t enough.

    never makes sense to me.

    nick

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