Monday, 17 August 2015

07:31 – I dropped Barbara off with Bonnie yesterday about 11:15 a.m., so Day One without Barbara is drawing to a close. Only four more days. Colin and I shared a chicken casserole for dinner, which was actually pretty good. I’m missing Barbara, but I think Colin is missing her worse. He waited for her to come home last night, and finally gave up and went back to bed. We agreed to skip the wild women and parties–mainly because neither of us knows any wild women–and just watch Heartland re-runs instead. That, and play ball. So we watched the first five episodes of series seven last night. And played ball.

The traditional advice for preppers is to store stuff in every available nook and cranny, but I’m rethinking that as I find stuff upstairs that I’d almost forgotten we had, and wasn’t counting toward our long-term food stores. Two dozen cans of tuna. Sixteen cans of Bush’s Best Baked Beans. A dozen Kraft Mac & Cheese dinners. A dozen cans of Chef Boyardee beef ravioli. Eight dozen single-serving cans of assorted Del Monte fruit. Four dozen cans of evaporated milk. Forty more pounds of rice and ten of oats. A case of canned corn and another of peas. A dozen bottles of beef bouillon and another dozen of chicken. And so on. We were originally short of shelving down in the basement, so I stuck a lot of stuff here and there upstairs, such as along the back walls of the cabinets under the kitchen counters. All in all, there’s probably a six person-month supply of food stuffed in those crannies. I’m getting it sorted and grouped together by type.


77 thoughts on “Monday, 17 August 2015”

  1. “We were originally short of shelving down in the basement, so I stuck a lot of stuff here and there upstairs, such as along the back walls of the cabinets under the kitchen counters. All in all, there’s probably a six person-month supply of food stuffed in those crannies. I’m getting it sorted and grouped together by type.”

    You misplaced more long term storage food than most of us have. I guess that means the time has come for me increase the size of our long term food stores.

  2. Ayup, but I’m planning to feed more than just Barbara and me. At the moment, my goal is to have enough to feed eight people for a year–96 people-months–which means we need a lot more food. I’ll get on that as soon as we’ve relocated, which is taking a lot longer than I wanted it to. At this point, I figure we need another couple tons of dry staples like rice, pasta, flour, sugar, beans, milk powder, oil, salt, etc.

  3. @RBT,

    I don’t stash stuff in the house but I do tend to stash stuff in the vehicles. Every nook and cranny gets something.

    After seeing what the OK tornados did to whole neighborhoods I stepped up my ‘offsite’ storage. Cali has recommended NOT storing your earthquake preps in the house for years. The thinking is that your house will collapse and you won’t have access to your kit. Some tubs in a lightweight shed or just out behind the house was the recommendation.

    I’ve got a secondary place to store stuff, and I’m using it. I’ve got most of my bulk stored there, along with other supplies (mini-kitchen, fuel, spare tire, camping equipment, etc) Mr Lynn could do the same, and I think many folks with a business or nearby relatives could too. If not, rental units are fairly cheap for a small unit, but be sure you have 24hr access. Most don’t allow food, so anything you do store should be in secure packaging and obscured. The will be watching you with cameras.

    One of the reasons to go thru your stores every so often is to remember what you have. ‘Systems’ and habits can help but they can screw you up too, if not consistent. When I went out to get my truck bag, to list the contents here, I discovered that the one in my Expy was more of a backup ‘daddy bag’ than the survival bag. I had used the same bag as the other vehicles, but loaded it differently. And then I forgot. When I did my visual inventory of the truck, I saw the green bag, tucked under the seat and said “truck bag, check.” (In the case of the Expy, I wasn’t left naked, I have a plastic bin in the back with a much more complete kit in it, but it isn’t portable.) But I screwed myself up by using the same ‘system’ in a different way. So I’m getting that fixed today.

    nick

  4. There is definitely a large assumption being made by most preppers that when the SHTF they’re going to both be AT home and still HAVE a home. The same event that takes out infrastructure and resources and precipitates a survival situation may also be the same event that takes out all of your stockpile. You may be at work, on a business trip, or on vacation when the SHTF. You may be nowhere near your car or home. You may be hundreds or thousands of miles away from both. Or, they may both be smoking ruins. If you have the means, then securing off-site space for storing food, weapons, and other supplies would be advisable. Having a decent “car kit” would also be extremely advisable.

  5. Of course.

    I buy extra for two reasons. First, to be able to help family and friends that I know will not be prepared. Second, to be able to help other preppers who lose their supplies for reasons you mention, with the expectation that they’ll do the same for me by prior arrangement.

  6. Any recommendations for an inexpensive shipping scale for packages ranging from 1 to 30 pounds?

  7. “I guess that means the time has come for me increase the size of our long term food stores.”

    Baby steps here, thanks to finances and mostly non-interest of Spousal Unit. Doing what I can; experimental raised-bed gardening at this point; organizing storage spaces in the house; doing the PT thing; building up tools and ammo supplies (slowly); learning and working on commo stuff; got my Red Cross First Responder/CPR cert; stacking firewood and keeping the woodstoves operational; extensively researching every aspect of flashlights; and stocking up on food and related items, first a month’s worth for two adults, and expanding it from there.

    As I’ve mentioned before, my goal is to have the wherewithal here to get us through six months of a hard, cold snowy winter completely off the Grid. But right now we’re at the one-month state; I hope to get us up to snuff for three months, at least, by Thanksgiving.

    It’s slow going, for the reasons mentioned above; I need to get another revenue source cooking here ASAP and then we can speed things up a bit; another hobble is our tax situation; that money each month could go a long way to prepping stuff. And we have probably five years of it to go.

    We’re basically treading wotta here for now and doing the best we can; I think Mrs. OFD has been coming around to the need for home security/defense, though; several local and regional incidents made the nooz and she’s seen the shenanigans of our local underclass denizens.

  8. mostly non-interest of Spousal Unit.

    Same here. Since MrsAtoz makes 95% of our income, my piehole stays shut. We’re working on a new biz to try and keep MrsAtoz off the road. It’ll take a year to get rolling.

  9. extensively researching every aspect of flashlights

    Isn’t that a full-time job? How do you have time for the rest? 😉

  10. Oh, yeah. I used mine plugged in, but they can also run on alkalines. In addition to weighing packages, I use them for making up large quantities of solutions where 1 g resolution is sufficient. They’re also useful for weighing bulk staples when you’re repackaging them.

  11. I’d be happy to make some flashlight recommendations…

  12. Speaking of which, I bought three of those Feit Electric triple C-cell lights from Costco. They’re kind of like those single AA Ultrafires, but on steroids. We used one of them while we were cruising around the other night looking for Colin. They put out about as much light as those old floodlights that cop cars used to have. They lit up yards brightly enough all the way to the back fences that we could spot Colin easily, and his fur is mostly black.

  13. “Since MrsAtoz makes 95% of our income, my piehole stays shut. We’re working on a new biz to try and keep MrsAtoz off the road. It’ll take a year to get rolling.”

    Mrs. OFD makes 100% of ours currently, and not for the first time, either. We are also trying to gin up other sources of revenue to get her off the road, or at least down to one week a month, tops.

    Down in MA, my next-younger brother’s wife also is now making 100% of their income. Something’s wrong in a country where able-bodied and literate husbands with skillz can’t find work and their wives have to do it all. This ain’t the country I grew up in, not by a long shot.

    And both wives, by the way, make their income via the “soft” skillz, i.e., office- or classroom-type scenarios working with people. Evidently machine-operator dinosaurs like me and my brother are nearly extinct. First they got overseas labor to do it at massively cut-rate pay scales, and now they’re going to robots.

    This is all wunnerful so long as the Grid stays up and running. Once it goes down, all bets are off and Game Over. Meanwhile I see that there are repeated probes and attempts by various alien entities to search out the weaknesses and vulnerabilities in our Grid system here. Sooner or later one of these bastards is gonna throw a big-ass monkey wrench into the works.

    And if the Grid goes down, there will still be a need for the soft skillz, but hard skillz will make a roaring comeback very quickly.

  14. “Isn’t that a full-time job? How do you have time for the rest?”

    It’s overwhelming at times, but thank goodness there are experts on this very board who are more than willing to go the extra mile and extend a happy helping hand to us noobs.

  15. Huh. I just kind of finished my food inventory. We have only about 2.5 million calories total (all of which is well-balanced in terms of carbs, protein, and fats), or enough for three person-years at 2,500 cal/day.

    Actually, we have enough excess fats and beans, that we could double that number of person years just by adding about 1,500 pounds of rice, pasta, oats, flour, and other grains. Thirty 50-pound bags of that kind of stuff would only cost $500 to $1,200, depending on mix.

  16. This guy just did at least one of Max Velocity’s rifle tactics courses down in WV, and in a couple of sentences, doing a review of his experience, pretty much summarizes our Current Situation:

    “You don’t need to read Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” to see where the good ole USA is headed, just look around. The “Cult of Political Correctness” and other extremist elements have rooted themselves in all levels of government. Elected officials openly side with street criminals over Law Enforcement and private citizens. While Illegal Aliens flood across the southern border, Homeland Security fills small town USA with Muslim refugees by the score. Soon, we will undergo forced integration by the “historic moment” masquerading as President, and, while the White House is doused in rainbow colors, savage race mobs desecrate war memorials and historic icons. As the prospect of financial collapse draws nearer every day, cyber attacks on water works, food distribution networks or the power grid grow increasingly imminent.”

    “Mainstream propagandists shout “diversity will only make us stronger” yet the world is in flames over ethnicity and religion (Do they honestly think it won’t happen here?). Something bad is on its way. When the push-button world we live in crashes, life will take a sour turn.”

    I dunno if the answer is to buckle down and learn small-unit infantry tactics; it may well be a good thing for peeps about thirty to forty years younger than me, although the classes down there regularly have 60-70-year-old guys in them. I’m doing some basic PT and it’s kinda kicking my ass; maybe in another month it won’t be as rough but building cardio and strength are one thing; getting past creaky knees and tired lower back at 62 is yet another. Am I in good enough shape to hump a ruck, rifle, pistol and ammo across a hostile landscape in summa heat or winta cold? Maybe a mile or two, and then I’d be pretty useless.

    I figure the best we can do, for now, is make our home as safe and self-sustaining as we can, and keep the vehicles ready to go, along with bail-out bags, EDCs, etc. Short of a pipeline or rail disaster, or Champ finally getting pissed off at the jet-ski traffic and doing a Godzilla on the village here, we’re gonna hunker down and defend the home front.

  17. I’ve read a lot of military history and a bunch of FMs, but small-unit infantry tactics hold little interest for me. If things really get bad, the only infantry tactics I’ll care about are those related to defending a fixed position. I’m sure not gonna be out there humping gear on patrol or some such.

    Yes, I know, a good offense beats a good defense, but good defenders can make it so costly for the offenders that they go elsewhere.

  18. I’m in a very similar situation re: wife and income. Fortunately she loves the work and is very good at it. I am afraid to do the math. When I work, it’s very well compensated, but the intervals are getting longer.

    I use this shipping scale, purchased in 2009. I wanted the extra capacity for some big stuff, and to weigh suitcases and toolboxes when I was still traveling.

    http://www.amazon.com/330-Digital-Shipping-Scale-WeighMax/dp/B000R4HRGO/ref=pd_sim_sbs_328_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=18P7TGXSJT9RSYY9GJ7E

    I use a kitchen scale when I need 0.0 ounces or grams.

    nick

  19. “If things really get bad, the only infantry tactics I’ll care about are those related to defending a fixed position. I’m sure not gonna be out there humping gear on patrol or some such.”

    Ditto, although I hope to get in good enough shape to be able to do the occasional short-range recon/patrol stuff if necessary. By short range I mean a couple of miles in the vicinity here.

    “…but good defenders can make it so costly for the offenders that they go elsewhere.’

    That’s the idea, and hopefully it will suffice for the sorts of threats we’re likely to see in this area, i.e., predatory looters, B&E’s, etc. It ain’t a big house but it’s brick and stone and cement and I can certainly make it very costly for unwanted interlopers, between the rear and side perimeters, at least; the front is gonna need some imaginative work, though. And I need to keep chipping away at building neighborly relationships, too.

    “When I work, it’s very well compensated, but the intervals are getting longer.”

    It’s been like that for me since 2002 and boy, it sucks rocks. When I have worked, I’ve worked my ass off, and done everything possible to always help out and be available, etc. This got me nowhere, eventually. Age, offshoring, and pea-brained PHB manglers have done many hundreds of thousands of us…in, so to speak.

    I fear that RBT is half-right in his prognostications concerning the employment situation here: fewer and fewer peeps will be working, but the vast majority who don’t, won’t be getting any sort of basic subsistence income, either; that is rapidly approaching unsustainability. At that point, the old mantra will kick in: you don’t work, you don’t eat. But there won’t be any work.

    So we’ll be put on a sort of make-work dole, at best, doing grunt and scut work, for minimal daily rations of food and water; meds will be bare-minimum, too. Except much of the Free-Shit-Army won’t go for that, and will continue their mob-centric robbing, raping and murdering. And the vast majority of couch potatoes will fall by the wayside.

    Sound depressing and not likely? Once again we must needs repair to the old Mr. SteveF Playbook: if the current regime wished to drive the country into Turd-World status and lose half to three-quarters of the population as a bonus, what right now would they be doing differently to accomplish that?

  20. Yeah, I’ve seen your home on Google Maps. Looks like you have a problem from your front door to the lake front.

  21. “Looks like you have a problem from your front door to the lake front.”

    In colonial days when this and other brick houses in the vicinity were built, they were right on whatever roads, so horses and carriages could pick up and drop peeps and things off at the front. But it’s kinda silly now, when we have the Budweiser beer trucks or town highway department backhoe rolling by our front windows instead of a couple of Morgans pulling a surrey.

    So…we have an old, beat-up front door (and back door) with no storm doors (yet) and about eight feet or so from the front door to the street. A hundred feet down the street to the lake is a state highway, which flooded a bit to our north during those last two big storms we had, like Irene. (the house has never been flooded). There are three roads in and out of the village here, one of them being the aforementioned state highway. Zombies piling outta boats could also be a threat and they could make it here, assuming they thought there was anything worth stealing or doing in this little place, all the way from Montreal or NYC and points in between. I’m kinda ruling that scenario out for now.

    Our pending future threat would be the local yokel underclass, 99% Caucasian, some of whom are already doing B&Es, including busting into houses where the residents are home asleep, as happened across the street to my fellow ‘Nam vet and his wife. (he saw them off immediately, of course, but it coulda turned out differently.) And we have our local and regional dope problem, mainly pills, meth/crystal, and heroin.

    So what I propose to do (and I’m only discussing the front here right now) and I’m pushing uphill so far on this one with the Spousal Unit (“it will look terrible!”) is to beef up the door frame considerably, install a storm door, and deadbolt locks. I already have motion-detector solar floods on the sides of the house. I’d like to at least have some tough mesh screens ready to go, if not installed, and the ability to just board up the ground-floor windows at some point if necessary. Ground floor window locks, and I’m not sure what else I can do given the limited scenario. Alarms? More lights?

    In a real SHTF situation, I’d band with the neighbors and block off the roads and set up 7×24 watches and local patrols. This would probably be late, last-minute stuff and tricky to coordinate. The handful of neighbors who might think like me (to a point) are mostly in my age bracket, so we’re not gonna be doing much in the way of tactical infantry capers here. And I’m betting most of them are still in ‘normalcy bias’ and think not much bad will be allowed to happen.

  22. Broken glass is your friend. Lots and lots of it. Better yet, caltrops. Either makes its own roadblocks. And all you need is some 20d nails, a vise, some locking pliers, and a bolt cutter. (The ends where you cut the heads off don’t need to be sharpened.)

  23. @OFD

    I think you’re already thinking and doing something along these lines. I think that more and more, the “job” is going to become a thing of the past. I think more and more, people will be creating their own jobs. Our host has done this, both with the prepping book and the science kit business.

    You could write a book. From what Bob says about the state of prepper fiction, I think you could write a book better than 95% of the stuff out there. You could always be a computer consultant, if you aren’t already. I don’t know if you are proficient enough with firearms to be a firearms instructor, but that’s always another possibility.

  24. I suggested OFD start a term paper business. Original undergrad term paper cost a lot. If someone wants a masters theses or doctoral dissertation, the price goes up from there. Way up.

  25. Old NFO had an interesting caltrop in his Grey Man books.

    It’s a hog panel (a fence panel, about 3x8ft made from welded wire in a grid.) You cut some of the wires and bend them up. Lay the panel on the ground where you want to mess up traffic, and let the grass grow up thru it. Easy to remove when desired. Very hard to see esp. at night.

    I can see using these inside your fence so if someone climbs over, they are stuck.

    nick

    can’t remember his name IRL, so I’m using his blog handle.

    added: hog panel link

    http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/feedlot-panel-hog-16-ft-l-x-34-in-h

  26. “Broken glass is your friend. Lots and lots of it. Better yet, caltrops.”

    Understood. For when the time comes. And at the rear and side perimeters before that.

    “…be a computer consultant, if you aren’t already.”

    On and off, more off than on, since 2002. Still working on developing skillz along those lines.

    “…be a firearms instructor…”

    In-progress, with certifications. Including CCW. And local ranges.

    “…a term paper business…”

    Colleges are going down the tubes and I mostly hate other peeps’ writing to wanna spend much time with it. One of the things that turned/turns me off about this is the experience of having to work on roughly a hundred student papers per WEEK while doing my own course load as a grad student and TA at two major Northeast universities. And being paid shit for it. Nevertheless, I continue to check on the possibilities along these lines, too.

    “I think you could write a book better than 95% of the stuff out there.”

    That may be, but my book/s would have bad/tragic endings. As will be the case in real life if and when TSHTF. I’d rather be an editor for guys like Bracken, who could have nicely cut about a third of his stuff out completely. And left off specific pooter and weapons tech that is obsolete within a year of publication anyway.

    Writing is hard work and very time-consuming. If one intends to do a good job of it. RBT knows.

    Scripts interest me, so I may travel down that road a bit; I once had scales fall from my eyes when I read that a typical movie runs a minute per page of script, and after reading through some major historical scripts, I found this to be true. So, 120 pages for a two-hour flick. And you look at the utter crap that’s been produced outta Hollyweird for the past few decades and think, hmmmmm….I could do better shit than that! I wouldn’t even bother with those clowns out there anymore; I’d be looking to foreign directors and producers.

  27. I’ll second the suggestion that OFD write a PA novel series. I’ll even be happy to be a critical reader. Just don’t price the series at $10 a book. I’d say $2.99 or $3.99 per book would net you a lot more money.

    That’s a series I’d look forward to reading.

  28. I’ve got a secondary place to store stuff, and I’m using it. I’ve got most of my bulk stored there, along with other supplies (mini-kitchen, fuel, spare tire, camping equipment, etc) Mr Lynn could do the same, and I think many folks with a business or nearby relatives could too.

    Mine is called a detached garage. Can’t store food out there because it is too hot in the summer time. But, everything else stores just fine; water, propane, toilet paper, toilet chair, paper towels, etc.

    What year is your Expy?

    I am building my new Expy behind the house right now. I had money saved to pay cash for a new Expy and decided to build the house addition with it instead. We now have bricks and they are sheet rocking the interior today.

  29. OFD I’d sure like to see you take a crack at writing a PA novel.
    Your ‘voice’ in your comments is clear and distinctive. I’ve a feeling that would come thru nicely in a novel and make for a good read.

    On another note. The rabbit experiment is ended and they’re all in the freezer. 3 1/2 year old was somewhat perturbed to return home to mama processing a stack of carcasses. She cheered immediately when offered the opportunity to wield the sprayer and assist with cleaning them. We are doing something right.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that for us, raising chickens takes less work at nearly all stages than rabbits. And, shockingly, the rabbit odor is stronger than the chickens. I do not believe that is the result of familiarity. Plucking is easy, and (again for us) yielded a larger more useful carcass. The birds are far more self sufficient and easier to keep enclosed, too.

    We may try again in a few more years when I’ve got a chance to ponder what would have worked better.

  30. So are there any good prepper TV series or movies that portray prepping in a favorable light that don’t involve full blown apocalyptic events? Something more like The Jakarta Pandemic than Lucifer’s Hammer. Something bad where being more prepared helps, but things get back to a new normal. I think Jericho is well done, but I’m looking for something not quite so apocalyptic.

  31. Screenwriting has about a 99% unemployment rate. OTOH, there are a lot of regular people making very good livings by self-publishing on Amazon.

    Dave, you have everything you need to knock one out of the park. You can obviously write well and churn out the words. You’re a prepper. You have experience with firearms, comms, military operations, etc. etc. You’ve read the classics even more than I have, which is saying something.

    Writing fiction, my guess is that working full-time you could turn out four to five full length novels a year. Each one of those might over the long term earn you several hundred dollars a month. By the time you have ten novels in the series, you might be earning several thousand a month from them. If you really strike gold, which I think you have the tools to do, you might be making several tens of thousands per month. No guarantees, obviously, but writing prepping novels is itself a way of prepping because you have to think both deeply and broadly about the issues.

    Why not try writing a few chapters. In screenwriting, I think they call that a “treatment”. I’ll post them here for you if you wish, and you can get a lot of feedback. People here aren’t known for speaking politely. They’ll tell you what they think.

    If you decide to do a full novel (and eventually a series), use your friends here and elsewhere to get it started right the day you publish it. If everyone here who’s interested buys a copy the first day and then leaves a good review, that’ll help you achieve critical mass.

  32. re: prepping movies/TV

    Jericho is the only recent reasonably good one I’ve seen.

  33. Incidentally, Dave, I’ve read at least one book by all of the popular new PA novelists. You’re a better writer than any of them. Konkoly and Angery American are the best of a mediocre lot, and I know you could do better.

  34. or Champ finally getting pissed off at the jet-ski traffic and doing a Godzilla on the village here,

    I would pay good money to see that.

    Yeah, I’ve seen your home on Google Maps. Looks like you have a problem from your front door to the lake front.

    Crew served weapons solve a lot of problems. Marines say “Happiness is a belt fed weapon”. 7.62, 50 cal, or 40 mm. Your choice.

  35. That may be, but my book/s would have bad/tragic endings. As will be the case in real life if and when TSHTF. I’d rather be an editor for guys like Bracken, who could have nicely cut about a third of his stuff out completely. And left off specific pooter and weapons tech that is obsolete within a year of publication anyway.

    That is what made Bracken’s books so good. There were consequences for his protagonists, some of them died and some of them ended up messed up something fierce.

    Most of the prepper books end up with the protagonists sitting high and dry, that is not real life. Feel free to write your SF (speculative fiction) with bad endings. I’ll read them and throw them against the wall. And buy the next “issue” in the series.

  36. re: prepping movies/TV

    Jericho is the only recent reasonably good one I’ve seen.

    I’ve probably asked this five times, have you tried “The Walking Dead”? I am rewatching from S1E1 right now. Repetitive, yes, but that is what happens when you circle the toilet bowl. You come back around to the starting point, just wetter and more messed than you were the last time.

    “Revolution” was ok. Until it ran out of gas.

    And I need to watch “Jericho” myself.

  37. @lynn, you can use your garage, it just won’t last as long. I do. But I was thinking you should put some tubs at your office.

    My Expy is 2008. I bought it at a police auction from a little town north of Dallas. I cleaned up the interior, bought the carpet, put leather on the front seats, serviced the engine, and it’s been great. I even added the 3rd row seat. I love it. I also don’t drive a lot, so I wasn’t worried about the high mileage. So I put a couple of thousand into it, and total cost was still well under blue book, even for a cop car. (I left the carpet in a box, figuring with 2 toddlers that vinyl floor is a good thing. Same with the leather for the rear seats. No point in letting the car seats and kids ruin it. I’ve got it for the upgrade at some point.) I talked to the maintenance guy and it was well maintained, on schedule. No wreck or body issues, and they did a really clean job removing the radios and lights. Soon it will need shocks, tires, and some other stuff, but that’s normal anyway. It drives better pulling a heavy trailer although the mileage drops. All in all, I really like it.

    nick

  38. @lynn, you can use your garage, it just won’t last as long. I do. But I was thinking you should put some tubs at your office.

    I’ve been thinking about storing some food at the office. The wife would jump for joy. We might move here if the things went bad in a hurry. I would just need to figure out how to generate 5 kW of power to run the 30 gpm water pump and septic tank (yes, the septic tank has two pumps and a PLC).

    But I’m not spending any money that I don’t have to at the moment. I am paying 2/3rds cash for the home addition and borrowed the other 1/3rd from Wells Fargo last week. The plumber is on T&M due to the unknown nature of his job and blew right past my $5K budget. We are at $7K and counting for him alone, maybe heading for $10K.

    My Expy is 2008. I bought it at a police auction from a little town north of Dallas. I cleaned up the interior, bought the carpet, put leather on the front seats, serviced the engine, and it’s been great. I even added the 3rd row seat. I love it. I also don’t drive a lot, so I wasn’t worried about the high mileage. So I put a couple of thousand into it, and total cost was still well under blue book, even for a cop car. (I left the carpet in a box, figuring with 2 toddlers that vinyl floor is a good thing. Same with the leather for the rear seats. No point in letting the car seats and kids ruin it. I’ve got it for the upgrade at some point.) I talked to the maintenance guy and it was well maintained, on schedule. No wreck or body issues, and they did a really clean job removing the radios and lights. Soon it will need shocks, tires, and some other stuff, but that’s normal anyway. It drives better pulling a heavy trailer although the mileage drops. All in all, I really like it.

    My Expy is a 2005 with the 4 speed automatic that I bought new for $32K. Has 158K miles on it and I love it. Finest F-150 that you can buy with that rear factory top and independent rear suspension. This is my second Expy and I will have a third (but no frills version).

    I have the Eddie Bauer version with faux leather seats, carpet everywhere, etc. I wish it had the vinyl floor as the front driver carpet has a five inch diameter wear hole in it. Engine runs great and can pull anything you wish, I got the towing package with the 5 row radiator (regular is 3 row), factory transmission cooler, and limited slip rear axle. It will tow anything up to 10K lbs. I advise the tow package if ordering.

  39. I dislike TWD because it demonizes zombie-Americans.

    I just watched the specific episode where Shane proved to the old man on whose farm that they are living on, that the Walkers are really dead. Shane shot a Walker five times in the chest and the Walker continued to try to eat him with no apparent malfunction. He then shot the Walker in the head and the lights went out. They then shot the other dozen walkers that the old man was sheltering, including his wife and son.

  40. “OFD I’d sure like to see you take a crack at writing a PA novel.
    Your ‘voice’ in your comments is clear and distinctive.”

    Thanks much, MrsJenny; we shall see. I do so love the English language.

    “Dave, you have everything you need to knock one out of the park. You can obviously write well and churn out the words. You’re a prepper. You have experience with firearms, comms, military operations, etc. etc. You’ve read the classics even more than I have, which is saying something.”

    Thank you for the vote of confidence; what dost thou mean by “classics?” Classic PA stuff or The Classics? If the latter, I’m still slogging through them; hope to have done the majority by the time I check out.

    “…writing prepping novels is itself a way of prepping because you have to think both deeply and broadly about the issues.”

    Good point. Though, while thinking about these issues, I often commit the sin of Despair, coupled with Anger and Frustration. Gotta keep a sense of Hew-muh!

    “People here aren’t known for speaking politely. They’ll tell you what they think.”

    No way! Buncha wallflowers and puddy tats!

    “Jericho is the only recent reasonably good one I’ve seen.”

    Ditto, and then the bastids went and cancelled it. I kinda thought “Revolution” had potential, though…

    “I would pay good money to see that.”

    I’d bribe him (or her) to head down the road to Montpeculiar and stomp that mutha flat.

    “Crew served weapons solve a lot of problems. Marines say “Happiness is a belt fed weapon”.”

    True dat, but there were/are drawbacks; i.e., somebody gots to tote all that ammo. And…I remember the detachable barrels on the Pig getting nearly white-hot and they only gave us one spare. Assistant gunner hadda use asbestos gloves to swap ’em out. More fun as the rest of the Pig got really hot and rounds would, haha, ‘cook off’ in the belt going to the feed tray. Rather disconcerting, eh?

    “I’ve probably asked this five times, have you tried “The Walking Dead”?”

    I watched the first coupla episodes and then gave it a pass; I’m a realist bastid; it was too fah-fetched for the likes of me. We have enuff evil right here among our fellow regular-ass homo sapiens sapiens.

    “I dislike TWD because it demonizes zombie-Americans.”

    Another reason. And there you have it!

    Hmmmm…to the drawing board…or writing board…let’s see what I can gin up this week…

  41. I’m keeping my eyes open for an air conditioner for the garage. Ideally it would be a mini-split, but a bigger window unit would work. I just want to be able to take the edge off the heat.

    One of my big regrets is not insulating the garage when we moved in and it was empty. I put 1/2″ ply on all the walls and painted. It wouldn’t have taken much to add the fiberglas.

    If I can air condition, my wife will probably kick me out of my office and into the garage for everything. She’d like a bedroom back.

    nick

  42. So are there any good prepper TV series or movies that portray prepping in a favorable light that don’t involve full blown apocalyptic events? Something more like The Jakarta Pandemic than Lucifer’s Hammer. Something bad where being more prepared helps, but things get back to a new normal. I think Jericho is well done, but I’m looking for something not quite so apocalyptic.

    Actually, usually quite the opposite. In “Longmire”, they portrayed preppers as crazies who ended up kidnapping a sheriff’s deputy and then shooting it out with the sheriff. That is the worst that I have seen in a while.

    In “Justified”, the series end episode had a prepper up on the mountain. When the girl went up to his cabin, turned out that he had been dead for a few months.

    There is a very good National Geographic special on what might happen if the national grids crash, “American Blackout 2013 – National Geographic “. I am not sure if it is positive or negative on preppers though, it kinda swung both ways:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYoXxVnTePA

    There are several SF books that deal with the USA slowly sliding into dystopia, such as “Soft Apocalypse”. Not much prepping though since the book covers 20+ years.
    http://www.amazon.com/Soft-Apocalypse-Will-McIntosh/dp/159780276X/

  43. One of my big regrets is not insulating the garage when we moved in and it was empty. I put 1/2″ ply on all the walls and painted. It wouldn’t have taken much to add the fiberglas.

    I watched the dudes insulating my home addition this morning. A lot of material that goes up very quickly. They screwed up and put R-13 in the ceiling which the GC caught and got them some R-30. I was wondering if they were going to blow in the rest of the attic insulation.

    I am putting a 3 ton A/C with a natural gas furnace in the addition and moving the master bedroom, bath, and closet vents over to it so I will have A/C redundancy in the house. The 3 ton Ruud system, ducts, vents, thermostat, and labor is costing me $6,710. Plus I had to pay the plumber $600 or so to run natural gas piping to it. Plus I had to pay the electricians $500??? to run wiring to it (the GC is paying the electricians so I do not know details).

  44. The two biggest things I could do to improve comfort and economy in my home would be new, energy efficient windows, and a ‘remove and replace’ for the blown in insulation, with air sealing done before the ‘replace.’

    Air movement is what robs your home of heat/cool.

    Of course, air movement helps dry your home too, and prevents mold and rot.

    nick

    cooked from stores tonight.

    Pouch meatballs in red sauce, and spaghetti noodles, with leftover bread from yesterday, made from scratch in the bread machine.

  45. Not a movie or tv show, but John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising zombie apocalypse books have a prepper family as the protagonists. Since they end up leading the effort to rebuild society, that’s a pretty good portrayal. It starts with the apocalypse, so you only see the prepping by what comes after.

    Not too many shows I can think of. The Omega Man is classic 70’s dystopia, and while he’s a survivor, he wasn’t really prepped before hand.

    It’s hard to make stacking up cans and learning to compost exciting enough for tv, but those will probably save more lives than the tactical shooting courses.

    nick

  46. In screenwriting, I think they call that a “treatment”.

    A treatment is a prose version of a screenplay. It can go from 8-10 pages up to 30+ pages. I’ve read one that was 4 pages, but it was written by the writer/director who already had the money lined up and was intended to pitch the film to actors.

    If you do decide to do a screenplay, you will need special software for it. The formatting of a screenplay is very rigid. I use Final Draft, which is the industry standard. I have heard that Google is doing a competitor, but I’ve been steered away from it. Final Draft is preferred, as they have a number of additional tools that are used by the producers to break down the scenes and do scheduling. (There are macro packages for Word out there, but I don’t know how well they work.) When you finish, you can register it with the Writer’s Guild in LA. They will, for a $20 fee, accept a file with the screenplay and store it on their servers in encrypted form with a timestamp. If there is some form of authorship dispute, they can produce a copy with affidavits attesting to the time they got it.

    In addition, you will need an agent. No major producer will look at a spec script unless it’s sent by an agent. That’s where I am with my first screenplay. I’ve had one review by someone in the industry (my brother) who has worked on everything from commercials to music videos, TV movies, TV series, cheap low budget films, big budget blockbusters, indie films, and a couple that have made top 100 films of all time lists. He liked it, so I’m going to shop for an agent. I’m also going to have my screenwriting teacher look it over – she used to review scripts for HBO and other production houses.

    Shoot for a length of 90-100 pages. A standard script page is about 1 minute of film time.

  47. I guess you could call Blast from the Past a prepper movie, and it’s pretty fun.

    Blast from the Past is a 1999 American romantic comedy film based on a story and directed by Hugh Wilson, and starring Brendan Fraser, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Walken, Sissy Spacek and Dave Foley.

    “In 1962 an eccentric scientist who, like so many people at the time, thinking that a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was possible, has built an incredibly large fallout shelter in his back yard deep underground. During the Cuban missile crisis, when he thought things were going to escalate, Dr. Calvin Webber takes his pregnant wife into the fallout shelter. When a fighter jet flying over loses control, the pilot bails out and the plane crashes into their house causing intense heat from the fire which “knocks out all of his surface indicators”. Calvin then, thinking the worst has happened, sets and activates the shelter’s locks (designed not to open for 35 years).”

    nick

  48. “The Walking Dead” tv show does show a lot of preppers. But a year in, most of them are out of food and doing the farming / hunting / cannibalism thing. The only people who make it past a year is an isolated suburb that was built with 100% solar panels for power and water wells. Even so, they have to build a wall to keep out the walkers.

    But TWD is an apocalyptic show as the zombification of 99% of the USA apparently takes around 90 to 120 days. Not long at all.

  49. Anyone watch “Falling Skies”? In this case, the SHTF when aliens invade.

  50. “Thank you for the vote of confidence; what dost thou mean by “classics?” Classic PA stuff or The Classics?”

    Oh, you know. Julius Caesar, Cicero, Juvenal, et alia.

  51. Aha, the Romans, eh? In my dotage I’m reading Virgil’s “Aeneid” as translated by the very late John Dryden and Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” as done by Arthur Golding, Gentleman. I have the Loeb classics series at hand with facing English/Latin pages. Also doing Pope’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey.” I keep coming back, though, to the late Guy Davenport’s “Seven Greeks,” which is a selection of “archaic” Greek fragments, mainly, and it’s like hearing them speak in the room with us. Also the late Christopher Logue’s versions of various parts of the Iliad. Buncha dead gray penis people, as the late art critic from Oz, Robert Hughes used to say.

    For laughs, I’ve started an outline of my coming PA novel, basically drawing the main characters so fah. Kinda fun.

  52. From yesterday…
    thoughts on a ‘car kit’. Or what’s in mine…Any thoughts?

    How about a whistle? Better than shouting yourself hoarse if you need help.

    2 x small wooden match boxes (heads up, the chemical on the striker surface will melt certain plastics on long term contact.)

    Remember when 35mm film came in metal canisters with screw-on tops? Were good for storing matches.

  53. @alan, funny you should mention the whistle. It’s on the standard recommendations lists.

    I rarely think of it. I guess it’s because I don’t ever think in terms of being rescued. Since my first days outdoors in AZ, learning to rock climb, it was hammered into us that WE needed to be able to self rescue and not have to “wait for the helicopters to come.”

    I think of prepping the same way, I guess. It’s all in an attempt to NOT have to wait for rescue.

    It is also falsely limiting. There are a number of scenarios that occur to me where getting attention would be desirable.

    So thanks, I was a bit short sighted with that.

    nick

    Esp. since it meets the budget or practical prepper requirements, it’s cheap, effective, small, and takes no skill to use.

  54. Ditto a small mirror and a sheet of bright orange plastic fabric, which can be folded or rolled up real small. Simple and cheap stuff which could save yer bacon.

    “… takes no skill to use.”

    This is IMPORTANT: not all of us are big strong he-man commandos who know how to work all kinds of techie and firearms MacGyver Magic. Like that guy with the gigantic EDC setup that Mr. nick nicely deconstructed for us. We have to consider that if we get taken out completely or simply incapacitated or are just not around, a child should be able to operate something, and there the mirror, whistle and orange sheet come into play. Also a cell phone and iPad nowadays, I guess, since our five-year-old grandson has both and is a whiz at them.

  55. Oh, so they’re the Dreamers now…

    ““Trump … promises to rescind protections for Dreamers and deport them. He wants to redefine the constitutional definition of U.S. citizenship as codified by the 14th Amendment. He plans to impose a moratorium on legal immigration.””

    http://buchanan.org/blog/immigration-issue-of-the-century-16368

    There goes Patrick again, spouting Unpleasant Facts…

    Well, there are Dreamers and then there is the Dreamer:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCCiwPEdEpg

  56. “Not obammi’s sons this time, but not Erik the Red’s sons either….”

    Typical U.K. orc scum. The cams oughta be equipped with lethal lasers or something, just wipe out these bastards on the spot. I wish them two orcs had taken me on, instead, what fun that would be. Of course, being the U.K., I’d be arrested, convicted and jailed.

    “Bloomberg says it’ll never work…”

    Well, hell, if Bloomie sez that, let’s just forget it, shall we? Bloomie is a bloomin’ genius! Those of us on the hardcore gun lines really love that guy. While we pray nonstop for a never-appearing lightning bolt to strike his billionaire commie ass down.

  57. @OFD

    “Also a cell phone and iPad nowadays, I guess, since our five-year-old grandson has both and is a whiz at them.”

    No kidding. I was playing Plants vs. Zombies with my 4 yo on the plane a couple weeks ago. She was pinching, poking, flicking, and moving too fast to follow. (It’s the wife’s machine, so I really don’t know my way around it. The kids do though.)

    I caught her trying to ‘swipe’ the bluray menu on our TV too. Everything in their world interacts with them thru voice or touch.

    nick

  58. The grandson kicked my ass badly at whatever game he was playing with me, and regularly does the same to his daddy, who is much more familiar with that rubbish than I am.

    Mrs. OFD and I are sicko junkie readers; we have and use pooters and I have a Kindle and all that, but by fah our main relaxation/recreation time is with books, magazines and the local nooz rags, the latter mainly to check the cop blotters and court nooz and any home/house-related stories or ads. Neither one of us has any interest whatsoever in video games and I’ve dumped myself off all “social media.” She stays on FaceCrack for family stuff, but I gave that up, too, not worth it. I’d like to dump Google now, too, but wife uses it for her email and I still have friggin’ gmail, too; it would mean a lotta hassle ’cause we’ve had the email accounts pretty much since Day One.

    I’d like to dump Winblows, Google, and remain off all the social media sinkholes.

  59. Assault was in Denver, and yes, it appears that Denver is still a sanctuary city, at least in practice.

    nick

  60. “Assault was in Denver, and yes, it appears that Denver is still a sanctuary city…”

    Whoopsie! I somehow got the impression it was in the U.K. Oh well, we have our own orcs here; and apparently we don’t have enough, ’cause we’re importing more, in the millions! Let’s make it a Sanctuary Country for all these wunnerful Dreamers!

    As they beat and rob us while also sucking our welfare system dry.

    Trump probably doesn’t go far enough, and already they’re calling him bad names and making him cry. Haha.

  61. Lynn wrote:

    “They screwed up and put R-13 in the ceiling which the GC caught and got them some R-30.”

    What’s the difference in price and effectiveness?

  62. “They screwed up and put R-13 in the ceiling which the GC caught and got them some R-30.”

    At least you have a good GC. I’m always amazed at the sheer number of mistakes that workers make. When we have workers in the house, I always take off work so that I can check on them. Try to ensure that what they are doing bears some passing resemblance to what I hired them for. It still goes wrong sometimes…

  63. Dave, do you need much imagination to write what you’re planning to write?

    I know I don’t have much imagination. I’m okay on technical subjects and history, but wouldn’t be good at fantasy or science fiction.

  64. So we have already got barbarians inside the gates. And we continue to allow more in.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3201252/Security-stopped-135-unaccompanied-children-DAY-Mexican-border-July.html

    And yes, I do mean barbarians.

    The global elites, having conquered Greece are beginning to carve up the corpse:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-18/greek-liquidation-sale-begins-german-company-wins-privatization-bid-14-greek-regiona

    This is what was meant by the forced deal when they insisted on increasing privatization– sale of assets to insider global investors. Anyone want to bet there is a 1 or 2 degree of separation from the company and those pushing the troika+1 deal?

    The collapse is ALREADY happening.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-18/23-nations-around-world-where-stock-market-crashes-are-already-happening

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-18/wal-mart-s-results-trail-estimates-as-currency-weighs-on-profit

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-17/most-asian-equity-futures-signal-gains-as-baht-slides-on-bombing

    And those are just today’s articles.

    Finally, coming soon to a bank near you, YES, even in the US.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-17/greek-deposits-become-eligible-bail-january-1-2016

    They’ve already pass the laws to do this here. They lost the money but YOU have to pay.

    nick

    Gold and silver are cheap. So is food (on a relative scale.) Gun prices are low, but coming up. The stores have new seeds in stock. $50 in seed might feed your family next year, but you need to practice NOW.

  65. $50 in seed might feed your family next year, but you need to practice NOW.

    Yeah, I stock quite a bit of heirloom seed. I’m not really happy with the commercial collections, many of which seem to be pretty much random. For example, many of them include long-day onion varieties, which are pretty useless south of about 35 degrees latitude. How hard would it have been to include a day-neutral variety instead?

    The Augason Farms collection (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Augason-Farms-Emergency-Food-Non-Hybrid-Vegetables-Garden-Seeds-16-oz/22001485) isn’t terrible, but it’s only 16 ounces total. At least the onion they provide is short-day, which provides good yields regardless of your latitude. I have a couple of these cans.

    But I prefer to buy heirloom seeds in larger quantities, and I want to keep a lot of types on hand that aren’t included in many collections, such as lima beans and turnips. I may end up offering my own collection, which’d probably be more like 3 or 4 pounds and have considerably more variety, including herbs.

  66. Turnips are great. You can use the greens fresh and the root stores well.

    And they taste good.

    Pretty much the only thing I planted this spring that gave me good results was turnips. Even then, I really only got one and a half meals out of them. You need LOTS of veg to live on them.

    nick

    I know I’m a broken record on this, but it’s harder than it looks in most climates, and it takes practice and a lot more space than most realize. This is not something you want to get wrong going into your second year…

  67. It takes more space than we have here, and that may well be true for many, if not most of us, on this board. I was reading something recently that laid out raised-bed plans based on the number of peeps living on-site and we’d need pretty much the whole village area here to do that, about ten times the space we have now. And it would be a ton of work to keep up, somebody doing it full-time every day, seven days a week. That’s why I’d like to work on building neighborly relationships around here, esp. with our adjacent farmers, who have friggin’ square MILES of some of the best farmland in the Northeast. A barter arrangement where we provide goods and services while “leasing” acreage near the village here?

    And keeping in mind we’d need to set up cold climate growing infrastructure, like greenhouses, hoops, early indoor seed starting, etc.

    Right now we have to figure out what to do with all the tomatoes that I’m picking every day here, but I could easily devote the entire yard to just tomatoes. And that’s it, nothing else. Or zucchini. But not half a dozen or a dozen vegetables that would grow in sufficient quantities to feed even just the two of us.

  68. “They screwed up and put R-13 in the ceiling which the GC caught and got them some R-30.”

    What’s the difference in price and effectiveness?

    R in insulation is additive. So, R-30 more than twice as resistive to heat transfer as R-13. My GC is convinced that a tight vapor barrier is the best of all though, cutting the air transfer.

  69. @lynn, all the modern building science supports that. If there is air movement there is heat movement. Good airsealing is critical to standards like PassivHaus or energystar. Although I think Energystar is a bit of a joke compared to Euro standards.

    The problem with a super tight house is moisture. To keep from poisoning the occupants, or molding and rotting, you need to pay absolute attention to waterproofing details, take extra care to provide for moisture management, and almost always have mechanical ventilation running constantly in the form of an ERV or energy recovery ventilator. Most contractors are completely incapable of working to this level of detail and so you have a really bad result.

    Vapor barrier is NOT recommended on interior of walls in Houston.

    http://buildingscience.com/documents/profiles/etw-houston-profile

    http://www.greenbuildingtalk.com/Forums/tabid/53/aff/14/aft/80977/afv/topic/Default.aspx

    Walls and insulation are SYSTEMS and should be designed and considered as such. So one size might not fit all, but you might want a second opinion on the plastic sheet.

    nick

  70. Vapor barrier is NOT recommended on interior of walls in Houston.

    The vapor barrier is between the bricks and the studs. Actually, the vapor barrier is on the outside of the 4’x8′ plywood sheets mounted to the studs (for strengthening in addition to the hurricane straps and clips). And the GC calls it a moisture barrier instead of a vapor barrier. He maintains that the bricks can weep on the inside of them so the moisture barrier is physically there to shed that water.

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