Friday, 2 October 2015

08:28 – Barbara is settling in well to working for ourselves rather than for a paycheck. One of the things she was looking forward to was being able to go to the gym during the day instead of after work. She had been going after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which made for late dinners and short evenings those days. Yesterday, she went to the gym during the day. She’ll probably start going three times a week instead of twice.

I’ve started preliminary work on a new line of science kits that we’ll introduce in 2016. The working title for the line is Science Basics, and the kits will be designed to sell for $99 each. They’re intended for students who will not go on to major in science in college, and will provide reasonable rigor and scope for a standard one-year laboratory course in biology, chemistry, or forensic science. I’m not too concerned about cannibalizing sales of our more expensive full kits. It’s a different market, and homeschoolers who are on a tight budget, which is to say many of them, should welcome these inexpensive kits. I’ll also design them to minimize the use of any really hazardous chemicals. They’ll also be micro-chemistry based to minimize clean-up and disposal issues.

Here’s what I did to prep this week:

  • I ordered some gun accessories from Midway USA, including a magazine loader for AR-15 mags, a tactical sling for the Ruger AR-556, four more 30-round Magpul AR-15 magazines, and two Tapco 30-round magazines for the Ruger Mini-14. That takes us to eight total mags each for the AR-556 and Mini-14, which should be sufficient. We’re in decent shape right now on .223/5.56mm ammunition, but once we get relocated I want us both to shoot familiarization on both of those rifles. Rather than shoot up the good stuff, I think I’ll order a few test 20-round boxes of the cheap TulAmmo stuff from If it functions reliably in both rifles, I’ll go ahead and order another case or two. The stuff is steel-case and so not reloadable, but at around $0.22/round the price is hard to beat, assuming it works reliably.
  • I continued research into the Sparta, NC area as a possible relocation destination. I was pleased to find the Alleghany County Rifle Association has a range outside Sparta. If we end up buying a house in the Sparta area, one of the first things I’ll do is join that club. There’s also a good gym for Barbara. There isn’t much shopping, but that’s okay. We can make the half hour trip to the Walmart Supercenter in Galax or West Jefferson whenever we need to, and we’ll be coming down to Winston-Salem for a Costco run every month or two. And there’s always and
  • I managed to get in a few hours’ work on the prepping book. As of now, I intend to devote at least two full days a week to working on it until it’s complete.

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

15 Comments and discussion on "Friday, 2 October 2015"

  1. nick says:

    Slow week prepping wise, nasty head cold and coughing kept me from doing any real work.

    -continued my police familiarization/community outreach classes. Topic was civilian response to active shooter situations. Couldn’t have been more timely unfortunately. Two things to note about the OR attack, the new police doctrine worked. First two cops on scene stopped the threat as soon as they got there. BUT. It took ‘several’ minutes before that happened leaving plenty of time for the murderer to kill as many as he wanted. Even two minutes is a long time when someone it shooting people, and 10 to 20 minutes is a common response time in many outlying areas. Carry. Get training. DECIDE ahead of time that you will LIVE. Act.

    -sold some stuff with the goal of getting money, and freeing up space for preps.

    -took another tiny, slow step towards organizing my storage. Shelves are now cleaned and ready for assembly.

    -in the garden- added compost to one raised bed, got some vines planted there, and some climbing beans. The bush beans have been underwhelming, so I’ll try pole this time. Started to turn over another bed, and discovered it was completely full of fine, hair-thin roots. I don’t know what I was feeding and watering, but it wasn’t my vegetables. I need to finish rehabbing that bed, add the compost and replant this week. According to our local ag extension office, I’m a bit late getting cabbage, collards, brussel sprouts and broccoli in the ground. I have a little more time to get the root veg in. Finally the weather is a LITTLE bit cooler.

    – Tried some stored food. Kids loved one of the pre-flavored argentinian pouch meats for tacos. Parents loved the canned plantains saute’d with butter until brown. Whoever thought you could can anything like banana? Hit up the ethnic aisle at your larger supermarket and see if there is some new-to-you food there. Variety is the spice of life… and the next test is canned sponge cake from the UK, maybe even some spotted dick.

    -continue refurbing some Panasonic Toughbook laptops. They are core 2 duo, will run modern OSs, have touch screens, run on 12v, and are REALLY sturdy. I intend to set one up for field use with ham radio (dual boot, linux/winXP/something else) and I’ll probably set up the other with a modern winOS as a simple backup machine, maybe some mapping or GPS apps, maybe some wifi survey stuff. They are heavy, but SO strong. For less than the cost of a cheap new lappy, I’ve got 4 on the shelf, especially designed for rugged and outdoor use. It made sense to me.

    – many times I’ve mentioned saving money and the sense of satisfaction that comes from fixing and maintaining your own stuff. The skills developed will be useful in the decline, or postSHTF too. I noticed yesterday that several recent repairs involved O rings. Get a large variety pack the next time you are in Harbor Freight, or Northern Tool. Get the plumbing variety pack (faucet repair pack) next time you are at a hardware store. You won’t regret having them in the drawer when you need them.

    -I’ve found that old Gerber multi-tool belt pouches work well as magazine carriers, and are discrete. People see them, think they know what they are, and ignore them from there on out. Ditto for some older cell phone holsters, especially the more rugged ones. Let them think they know what they’re seeing… grey man, hide in plain sight. (They’re cheap too.)

    -the mints in AUS and USA are running full out, selling more silver than ever before largely on the strength of “mom and pop retail buying.” What does that suggest to the prudent person? Got PMs?

    Keep learning, keep stacking, while we can.


  2. Dave says:

    I live in a small town of about 10,000 people. We are only 45 minutes away from downtown big city, so there is a Costco an hour away and a Sam’s Club about 30 minutes away.

    Getting used to that has been different since I grew up in big city. I have actually resorted to buying stuff at the local Radio Shack when I really needed it. However, I have since learned that I really should buy that stuff from Amazon. If I can’t wait for Amazon to deliver it, I should check Walgreens and Walmart (next town over) first.

    I work from home, so when my monitor went out one morning I just went out to Walmart and bought the biggest monitor I could find. However, Walgreens is the place to go for weird batteries, earbuds, MicroSD cards, USB memory sticks or cell phone charging cables if Amazon delivery takes too long.

  3. medium wave says:

    Grammar matters. Who knew?

    “One reason people judge grammar and spelling snafus so harshly is that they can reflect the level of effort, or lack thereof, that folks put into their bio. “People use quality of writing as an indication of work ethic,” says Max Lytvyn, co-founder of automated-proofreading company Grammarly.”

    Further along in the article:

    “Some people hire others to help choose their words. Laurie Davis, CEO of eFlirt, has a team of English grads and former journalists who rewrite online dating profiles for clients. “Most people read the profiles we write for them and say ‘Oh, my God, you sound exactly like me,’ ” Ms. Davis says.”

    Who do we know here who’s looking for a career change and is (over)qualified for the job? Anyone? Anyone? 🙂

  4. OFD says:

    Those sorts of jobs pay crap and the kids at Burger King can make more. It’s not a valued skill unless you’re a top editor for a major media publisher or a superstar best-seller writer. Been that way a long time here.

    No one much cares about how their writing looks day to day, and no one much gives a shit who wrote “Beowulf” or what the guy known as Shakspear is yakking about in his sonnets.

  5. medium wave says:

    @OFD: What makes you think I was referring to you? 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Of course that sort of job pays crap, BUT: it’s the sort of thing you could do in your spare time and, thanks to the ‘net, you could literally phone it in. Not only that, but with the sonnets of Bill S. and your familiarity with the Cavalier poets to fire your imagination, you’d be a natural at it. You’d have the ladies creaming in their…, um, ah, swooning in the aisles!

    All kidding and teasing aside, isn’t it about time that your misspent years as an English major earned you some dough?

  6. medium wave says:

    … and no one much gives a shit who wrote “Beowulf” or what the guy known as Shakspear is yakking about in his sonnets.

    Which brings this thought to mind: When reading matter is mentioned at all in the stories of the founding of this country and the settling of the American West, the two books that always seem to appear in these tales are the Bible, as you’d expect, and collections of Shakespeare’s plays. Reading and homemade music seems to have been all they had to pass the time when our forefathers and -mothers weren’t scrabbling merely to survive. (And sex, of course. 🙂 )

    After TSHTF and all their physical needs are taken care of, what do the survivors do for entertainment?

  7. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Not that I’d expect to have much spare time in that situation, but I expect non-fiction reading would be a priority. Then there are board games, cards, and conversation.

  8. Lynn says:

    “First light-based memory chip puts SSDs on notice”

    Start the 20 year clock!

  9. OFD says:

    “… the two books that always seem to appear in these tales are the Bible, as you’d expect, and collections of Shakespeare’s plays.”

    Which were huge influences on the writing and speeches of the Great Eliminator, Walt Whitman, and Herman Melville, to name just three. A third frequent reading companion for our literate ancestors was “Pilgrim’s Progress.” And of course scads and scads of religious tracts, pamphlets, sermons and self-improvement texts.

    “…isn’t it about time that your misspent years as an English major earned you some dough?”

    Working on it. In-progress. Most days. The ones not ‘consumed by locusts,’ anyway.

    The prep stuff this past week has been our getting ready for wintah and colder weather already here, with nights down into the 30s, kinda abrupt, if ya ask me, from a week or so ago when it was close to 90 for a few days in a row. Finished stacking a pile of firewood today and cleaned up the area; now to order another couple of cords. We’ve also gone through the last of our tomatoes and waiting on the pumpkins.

    More research and tinkering with radios and firearms, online courses in both, plus some IT stuff. Hope to get up to the attic and lay flooring down this next week and also do more organizing in the cellar. And gotta get some solid plastic sheets to put up on the back porch windows, currently screened, screwing them in now and unscrewing them off next year when it gets warm again. We’re holding off on doing the rest of the windows and shutters this fall; wife may need a lotta medical attention this month. Hope to at least replace the front and back doors with steel doors and frames and new deadbolts, plus replace our living room ceiling. If we can get all this stuff done by Xmas, I’ll be pleased as punch.

  10. nick says:

    Got this email today.

    Good Afternoon SBISD Parents.

    All is well in SBISD. In an abundance of caution, about an hour ago, SBISD police put our campuses on a modified lockdown status. This was based on a credible non specific threat identified by federal authorities which they shared with local law enforcement across greater Houston. We have now lifted the lock down under the direction of SBISD Police and campuses have returned to their normal schedules. Transportation will be delayed this afternoon as a result of this situation. Thank you for your cooperation and support as we place the security of our students and staff as our highest priority.

    So the Feds are monitoring, presumably social media, and for about an hour thought Houston schools might be in danger.

    This is the kind of shit we get when we let the media glorify and deify this murderous piece of shit. Memory hole this fucker, and move on, before the next glory seeker takes the stage.


  11. medium wave says:

    More research and tinkering with radios and firearms, online courses in both, plus some IT stuff. … We’re holding off on doing the rest of the windows and shutters this fal

    You’ve got a full plate there, esp. for an “unemployed” guy! 🙂

    If the PA novel bogs down you might give some consideration to the the idea that, after a little research and with your latent Cyrano-esque literary abilities combined with your knowledge of history, you could no doubt pen an above-average bodice-ripper and publish it online on Amazon, suitably cloaked in a feminine pseudonym, of course.

    There’s even an Anglo-Saxon angle (cough) to the romance novel: “In North America, romance novels are the most popular literary genre, comprising almost 55% of all paperback books sold in 2004. The genre is also popular in Europe and Australia, and romance novels appear in 90 languages. Most of the books, however, are written by authors from English-speaking countries, leading to an Anglo-Saxon perspective in the fiction. Despite the popularity and widespread sales of romance novels, the genre has attracted significant derision, skepticism and criticism. Romance erotica seems to be on the rise as more women explore this new subgenre”

  12. OFD says:

    “Memory hole this fucker, and move on, before the next glory seeker takes the stage.”

    I’d say “+1” but it’s on its own trajectory now, thanks to the usual suspect assholes waving the bloody shirt as long as they can, but also affected, paradoxically, by the next wild-ass event in the MSM’s nooz cycles, here in the United States of Amnesia. It’ll probably slide down that memory hole when a Russian missile accidentally knocks down a Murkan drone in Syria and we all get on tender hooks, haha (tenterhooks) waiting for WWIII (when it would really be WWIV). Or Bruce Jenner gets raped by one of his bodacious Armenian stepdaughters.

    “Romance erotica seems to be on the rise as more women explore this new subgenre””

    Good idea; maybe I’ll start one of those, too, as a sort of “break” from the PA project. Not.

    I’ve got my hands full here, as you indicated; had a short chat with my next-door neighbor, former head of security at the IBM plantation here. He just retired, and thought he’d be able to use all his new free time to get a shit-load of projects done at home and he sez he ain’t even made a dent in it yet. Exactly how I feel. He sez we just gotta keep ‘chippin’ at the iceberg.’ As I told one of my brothers, it’s no great trick to easily fill 40 hours a week, previously spent working for a pay check, with all the stuff to do here at the house. How I could have done any of it while still working is a mystery. Put in 80 a week, I guess.

    I spent most of the afternoon stacking firewood and cleaning up the area where it’d been and that was it for me for the day, other than helping to cook supper. Ran outta gas.

    Now imagine a SHTF scenario, when we’re doing that kind of work from cain’t see to cain’t see and also having to fend off potential attackers. EVERY DAY. For the rest of our lives.

  13. nick says:

    Run out of gas pretty quickly too. Cooler air helps.

    Spent some time working for money today. Whoohoo.

    Re: romance novels. They are apparently much harder to do well than someone outside the genre might think. They have some very rigid things that need to be there. Several authors who blog have talked about it. One funny thing, a lot of modern romance has lots of scifi and fantasy elements. My mom, who would never pick up a sci fi novel, reads a romance series that is almost straight up sci fi.


    (Not “Death is a Ruby Light” but that one was in the back of the closet, back in the day.)

  14. OFD says:

    Our foreign policy has sucked since the French and Indian War. In recent decades it’s gotten far worse.

    Prince Vlad may, like a stopped clock, be right twice a day, but he has a big set to be lecturing anyone else on their policies, as a former KGB officer and current de facto dictator. On the other hand, we probably have him beat for worldwide murder and domestic imprisonment these days.

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