Fri. Sept. 20, 2019 – so I learned some things…

77F and wet.  Probably.

Boy did we get some rain yesterday.  And I got stuck at the kids’ school, where I was able to help out, and everything worked out ok, but…

Turns out there are some holes in my vehicular preps, and in aspects of my current habits and lifestyle.  NB-I don’t typically carry a BOB or GHB or any other specific bag in my truck.  I’ve got a couple of totes in the back with extra stuff, and my EDC.  I thought that was pretty good, and it is.

I usually have some additional supplements like energy bars tucked away, but I ate them.  Day before yesterday and I didn’t replace them.  I usually refill my gas tank whenever there is a storm coming, and whenever it gets low.  I didn’t notice the level on Wednesday, and it beeped at me on the way to school- 50 miles to empty.  No problem, I’ll fill up on the way home.  Except what if I get stuck in the water on the way and need to wait out the flooding?  Not enough gas to do that.  My friend took 3 hours to get home with his kids.   I certainly didn’t have 3 hours worth of gas, to go less than 5 miles.

I have shirts, sweatshirts, pullover windbreakers, and long pants in the truck.  I’ve got hat and mittens when it’s cold.  I’ve got yellow plastic rain gear, ponchos, and even a set of FroggToggs.  No socks.  No dry shoes.  That’s a big oversight.

I don’t carry my ‘daddy bag’ anymore, so I don’t have a change of clothes for the kids.  It’s been a long time since one had an ‘accident’.

A couple of days ago, I had a case of Mountain House in the truck.  Yesterday I had only two expired MREs (the date doesn’t bother me) and USCG approved lifeboat survival bars.  Plenty of water, soda, and cans of flavored water… and I’d even added instant iced tea to put in the plain water.  I did so and drank that during the afternoon.  Had we been stranded at school overnight (and we have school friends in walking distance, so that was EXTREMELY unlikely) the kids and I would have eaten MREs in the truck while everyone else dined on microwave popcorn.  I did share a big Costco bag of candy that I was taking to my gunstore buddy.  Daughter used it to earn points with her friends.

The biggest problem is that there are only two real driveable ways into the school’s neighborhood, and BOTH are subject to flooding.  If we were desperate, I would have taken the chance on the deeper intersection.   I could see vehicles making it through and had a good idea of depth, but I also couldn’t get good info about the next step in my route.  I retreated to safety and comfort, deciding that the unknown and risk was not worth it to sit at home for the afternoon.

The situation might have been different if I was trying to GET to school and pick them up in an emergency.  This was not an emergency.  No one should have wrecked a car in an attempt to pick up the kids from a fully functional school, in the middle of the day.

It’s amazing the speed and reckless regard with which some people entered the high water.  They didn’t even wait to see how the guy in front of them made out.  Some pulled out around me, while I was watching the other guy go, and sped on ahead.  No way could they have seen the other guys success or failure before entering.  Dumb doesn’t even begin to cover it.

This being Houston, one of the items in my tote is a professional personal flotation device, designed for people who work on the water.  It will auto inflate, but most of the time stays out of your way.  It’s the first item in the tote.  If there ever came a day when I felt compelled to enter high water, I can at least gear up first.  I have a short rescue rope on top too.

My Expy is currently full of cr@p to the point I couldn’t have taken 2 extra kids with me, only one.  I’ve got a lot of auction stuff piled in the back and on the back seat.  That stuff needs to get out of my truck.

I need to add some Mountain House, durable snacks, and kid clothes to the tote.  I need to move a pair of sturdy shoes and a good pair of socks to the tote.   I may even set up a 3 gallon bucket as a toilet for the truck, and leave it in there.   (the 5 gallon with the seat only goes with us when I think or know we’ll want it.  Like 4 hours in a parking lot, watching fireworks,  It’s too big to live in my truck 24/7.)

The kids have grown, and I haven’t changed my truck pack much.

Meanwhile, my wife was stuck at her work.  I reminded her that there were at least a couple of powerbars in the ‘resource kit’ in her minivan.  She decided to stay at work, where they had food, light, AC, and work to do, rather than move through flooded streets.  Maybe I’ll be able to stash a bit more in her vehicle, ‘for the children’ now.  (FWIW, the thing we’ve used most often from her kit is fire starter and matches.)  She waited for clear streets and drove home without incident.

We’re supposed to get more rain.  I hope not, but I guess we’ll see.  This was a good opportunity to find holes in my preps without any resulting drama…and I’m going to use the gift to get better.

nick

Wed. September 11th, 2019 – Never forget. Never forgive.

Eighteen years ago I was 8 miles from Ground Zero, and 2000 miles from home. I still tear up when I think about that day and the following days. When I think about sitting in a hotel room, with the tv on, but most channels nothing but static. CNN on a local PBS station that was too poor to have antenna space on the World Trade Center, and pretty much nothing else. Wondering if there were more attacks coming. Buying a flag for our truck as we left to start the drive home. Barely made it out of the store without crying. Seeing trucks loaded with generators and temp power, fire engines and rescue, headed inbound while we were headed out…

I still tear up. I still find it very difficult to talk about it out loud.

My good friend from Cali, who used to think I was a kook for having preps, who moved to The City, later confided in me that she can’t sleep unless she checks her go bag next to the door. Her husband got off the train to mail a letter, and then got back on just before the towers fell. Not his day to die I guess- missed him by that much.

You can relive it moment by moment, in excruciating detail and slow motion by reading through the text message paging from the day. Someone hoovered up all the messages, and wikileaks published them. 911.wikileaks.org

Machines go offline, people become more desperate to hear from loved ones, official responses start to organize, and confusion reigns. Around 10:30 the second tower fell, and there are lots of texts about a car bomb outside the State Dept offices in DC. I have no recollection of that news at all. My communication with friends and family is in that archive as well. I carried a Skytel Nationwide pager and email device, and it was the only thing that stayed up all day. I can’t read more than a few minutes of historical time at any one sitting, so I haven’t found my messages yet. You can see agencies and companies stand up their emergency plans as it happened.

“2001-09-11 10:30:59 Skytel [005081201] A ALPHA
gahlberg@usss.treas.gov|RESPOND INSTRUCTIONS|ALL NEW YORK FIELD OFFICE PERSONNEL RESPOND TO STUYVESANT HIGH SCHOOL AT THE CORNER OF CHAMBERS AND WEST STREET ASAP.” — that’s the US Secret Service

“2001-09-11 10:30:59 Metrocall [1545812] B ALPHA
Frm: Luster, Diana Sub: Crisis Room Txt: Joe/Tony, Per Mitch, go to the Crisis Room. Diana Luster Company Security 30/JF00/W9 (310) 332-7922 FAX: (310) 414-9747 Email:Lustedi@mail.northgrum.com” — that’s NorthrupGrummanAerospace

“2001-09-11 10:30:50 Skytel [005060012] D ALPHA
Mike Please call Inman ASAP 404-697-9918. Have you already notified K-9 Team? IB[10:30]”

“2001-09-11 10:30:46 Skytel [003262470] B ALPHA
To FB&RS Recovery Management Team. Please meet in the Cape Conference room on the 10th floor at 245 Summer St. By 10:30AM. Boston buildings are being evacuated and we need to have a coordinated message and plan that includes tomorrow. JM”

“2001-09-11 10:31:06 Arch [0949787] C ALPHA
All SWAT team members are to report to the airport. ”

“2001-09-11 10:31:08 Arch [0867607] B ALPHA
cteasley|The entire World Trade Center is gone. Both towers have collapsed!”

“2001-09-11 10:31:16 Skytel [005344008] C ALPHA
UD REPORTS ANONYMOUS CALL TO JOC REPORTING ANGEL IS TARGET”

“2001-09-11 10:31:34 Arch [0987882] C ALPHA
“Kelley Scott” <|per yr brother Cal get out north|I love you so much, please come home to me safe”

“2001-09-11 10:31:35 Skytel [002820520] C ALPHA
YOUR WIFE IS SAFE, SHE IS IN THE LORD & TAYLOR BLDG IN MANHATTEN, NOT SURE WHAT IS HAPPENING NEXT, BUT SHE IS SAFE. 941”

“2001-09-11 10:31:39 Metrocall [1401159] B ALPHA
/:DDC/: INFO: ALL SCHEDULED WORK FOR 9/11 HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO TERRORIST ACTIVITY IN THE UNITED STATES. MJFS ….. CALL COMMUNICATIONS WITH YOUR STAFFING LCFR-ECC ALL STAFF WE ARE ON STANDBY DISASTER ALERT”

It hurts to read.

I’m still filled with anger when I think about it.

Never forget. Never forgive.

nick

Tues. Sept. 3, 2019 – hurricanes are no joke

Slightly cooler, but humid. [76F and 83%RH at 6am]

Spent yesterday at the beach, which was surreal considering what was going on east of us.  The beaches were mostly empty too, to my surprise.

The pictures and video that are coming out of the Bahamas are shocking.   It’s been a while since we had good video of such a devastating storm.  Waves washing the second story windows should convince anyone that evacuation is the better part of valor, if that’s what you might be facing.

There are reports of “price gouging” coming out of Fla.  I’m of the opinion that laws prohibiting charging more than the usual rate when un-usual events are happening are un-American and counter productive.   Let the business earn the opprobrium if that’s what people decide is fair.  Otherwise, let those without the ability to plan pay those who have the ability for the privilege of their ignorance and lack of self control.

Complaining about expensive bottled water WHEN IT’S COMING OUT OF YOUR TAP is about as stupid as stupid gets.  Gas is a <i>bit</i> different, as it can be difficult to store safely, but if you are motivated you can do so.  I did, and do.  If it’s a priority, you will find a way to do it.  If it’s not, then you will pay the tax.

If there are any new readers, let me point out that I live in a hurricane zone, have been through several, and THAT’S WHY I PREP.

Read through anything tagged with prepping related tags.  Read the comments.  Learn it for next time, as there will surely be a next time.

Also, accept that there are some things that are out of your control and you will just have to deal with them as best you can.  That’s another good reason to have resources set aside, so you can adapt.

Speaking of which… my mom decided that the best thing to do was fly into Florida EARLY this year.  She’s in Sarasota as of YESTERDAY, so should be ok unless things go very wrong with the storm track.   However, I’m reaching out to MY resources, with a ‘heads up’ that I might need some sort of help in that regard if things go pear shaped.  She doesn’t “believe” in preparedness of any sort and so I find myself in the (not completely unusual) position of having a loved one firmly in my darwin column, and yet I can’t actually leave her there if push comes to shove.  I hope to convince her to do her shopping today, and to pick up some extra, if it’s even available.  (FWIW, I was under the impression that her flight would be canceled and she’d stay safely in Chicago, I was shocked to get her text that she had landed in Sarasota.  No idea what she was thinking.)

If you are in the threatened area, please take what time you have and do what is needed to ensure you have the best chance at safety.  If you are not directly threatened by this storm, take it as a warning- there will be other storms, quakes, floods, tornadoes, riots, pipeline explosions, derailments, plagues, and pestilence.   Get prepped.

 

nick

added-  looks like Dorian has started to turn north.  That is good news for Florida but it’s still gonna be a mess up the coast and central regions.  Freaking thing sat for 40 hours on the Bahamas.  That is nuts.

Wed. Sept. 12, 2018 – big storm coming

75F and damp in Houston

It’s about to get very windy and wet in a day or two.

In all seriousness, there is a truly massive storm headed for a good percentage of our population. A population that hasn’t had a big storm in a while. A population that is much more accessible to the NYC based news orgs than the hicks and racists along the Gulf Coast….(-endsarc) so expect to see more coverage. Which is a good thing, because it is likely to be very bad.

If you are anywhere to the left of where Florence is expected to come ashore, or anywhere north or south of it, you ARE going to be affected, if only because your neighbors are.

Remember that the effects of the storm have a much wider area of impact than the ‘cone of uncertainty’ shown on TV. The cone shows where it might land, not how wide the storm’s area is, nor does it show WHEN the first effects will get there. That will be much earlier than landfall itself.

Let us all hope that it gets pushed out to sea, and that it grazes the coast rather than hits it straight on.

Knock-on effects will be widespread too. Air travel is likely to be messed up for days. What joy that I’m traveling with my family on Thur, and Sunday. EVERYTHING is going to be disrupted- gasoline delivery, food delivery, air travel, shipping…

Make what arrangements you can at this late date. Hopefully everyone reading this is well prepared.

n

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

10:21 – Yesterday we got 80 pounds (36+ kilos) of pinto beans repackaged into 21 two-liter soft drink bottles, at just under 4 pounds per bottle. That’s sufficient to fill out the amino acid profile for about 500 pounds of rice/pasta/oats, in combination yielding complete protein.

Barbara volunteers with the Friends of the Library. They had a Quiz Bowl event last night, and Barbara had volunteered to be one of the judges. When the lady from the library called Barbara yesterday afternoon to verify that she’d be there, I asked Barbara what it involved. She said there’d be teams of high school kids competing against teams of adults. I told Barbara I’d be happy to help out if they needed more adults. She checked with the librarian, who said they could always use more people.

So we had an early dinner and headed over to the library about 6:00. I ended up sitting at the back of the room with several of the other other adult volunteers. I was between Tom Smith, who’s the Chairman of the County Commissioners, and Bryan Edwards, who’s the Sparta Town Manager. We got along great, making whispered remarks about what was going on up on stage. Tom’s a funny guy, and at one point I remarked to him, “You know, that’s the fourth time that you said something just as I was thinking it.” He replied that the two of us were going to get along fine. Bryan is also a funny guy, and between the two of them they made me feel like part of their group instead of a newcomer to the area.

Few or none of the adults had ever done a Quiz Bowl event before, so they started with two teams of the high school students facing off so that we could see how it was done. The winner of that round then faced another team of students to determine which team of students would face the adult team in the final. We had two teams of adults, so we had another round to determine which adult team would be in the final round with the winning student team. The adults, of course, crushed the student team in the final round.

Barbara commented on our drive home that experience had won the day, and that 20 or 30 years from now those kids would have experience and would probably beat a student team handily. I told her that I didn’t think that was true. The adults are from a generation when the public schools still actually taught. These kids are unfortunately in public school at a time when teaching is no longer the priority. They’re in at least the second full generation of people who’ve grown up attending school but not being educated. Still, I take comfort in the fact that there were a lot of bright kids there, and bright kids learn despite all attempts to keep them from doing so.

I just wish there had been a team of home-schooled kids there. They’d have probably kicked adult ass. Which is why Barbara and I do what we do. Home schooled kids are the future of this country, now that the public schools have been destroyed.


Uncle Remus, as usual, has a post worth reading up on Woodpile Report. FTA

After action report. This is where I disagree with Trump. He asks us to put ill will behind us and work together for the good of the country. He says we’re all in this together. No, we’re not. Sure they’re our fellow Americans, but so are Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson. We’re all in this together in the sense we coexist with termites.

Ayup. I, in common with most Normals, used to tolerate progs, if only grudgingly. No more. In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, “You realize, this means war.”

The leftists aren’t merely wrong, they’re dishonest and malevolent. They still hold us, our values and our heritage in contempt. They still mean to destroy the reputations and careers of dissenters. They still adore illegal aliens, jihadists, dindu thugs and the perverts du jour. They still insult and demean us and teach our kids to despise America, us and themselves. They still mean to trash what remains of the Constitution.

The progs don’t understand that we Normals are by nature polite and conciliatory, but when our anger is aroused it’s a truly fearsome thing. We are the children and grandchildren of those Normals who bombed Germany into rubble and nuked Japan. Like those warriors, we can be pushed only so far before we respond devastatingly. And I’m afraid we’ve reached that point already. And we’ll be opposed by a bunch of effete, unarmed, tofu-eating metrosexuals, very few of whom have even been in a schoolyard fight.

And finally the bottom line:

Gambling with the tipping point, Market Ticker – Urban centers consume roughly 90% of the energy and food in this country yet they comprise 5-10% of the land mass. What if the people who peacefully conceded the result of two elections over the last eight years despite vehemently opposing the outcome decide that if the “blue” folks can riot, loot, beat people who vote the “wrong way” and similar they will not accept any further election result that doesn’t go their way, and instead of rioting or burning things they will simply shut off the flow of food and energy to said “blue” areas? After all, you don’t value them at all—you consider them subhuman, racist, xenophobic, deplorable and irredeemable—all at once. If you keep it up, that at some point, given that you’re utterly reliant on those you’re abusing for the basics of life—the loaf of bread, the gallon of gasoline, the electricity that powers your lights—they decide they’ve had enough. That day your supply of cellophane-wrapped meat and plastic bag full of bread disappears.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

11:07 – Our next-door neighbor Bonnie called Barbara last night and offered her a dozen fresh eggs. Barbara is going up there this morning to spend some time with Bonnie and bring back the eggs. I’m going to run one of my interminable experiments. In Olden Days, people preserved eggs by coating them in sodium silicate (waterglass) solution, which sealed them against air. They could then be stored at room temperature for weeks to months without going bad. But vegetable or mineral oil works just as well for sealing eggs, so I’m going to try sealing two or three of them and setting them aside in individual containers at room temperature. I’ll pull one out at the one, two, and three month points and test it. Not that there’s any scientific testing needed. A rotten egg makes itself known immediately with an intense odor of hydrogen sulfide gas. Once you’ve smelled that, you’ll never forget it. Interestingly, hydrogen sulfide gas is actually lethal in lower concentrations than hydrogen cyanide gas is.

The other day, Lew Rockwell linked to an interesting post by Gaye Levy at backdoorsurvival.com, 15 Ways To Prepare for a Rogue Wave of Collapse. Gaye makes the same point I’ve been making here and elsewhere for a couple of decades now. FTA:

Will There Really Be a Catastrophic Collapse?

I first wrote about the coming “rogue wave of collapse” in 2011. What I write today is a very different article. Back then, I was almost sure that a global collapse, economic or otherwise, would happen within months. Clearly, what I envisioned did not happen, or at least did not happen in the manner expected.

My current opinion is that these past six years have brought an insidious and sometimes imperceptible decline in life as we knew it before the crash of 2008/2009. I believe there is a high degree of complacency and most folks figure “this is just the way it is”. My guess is that many have conveniently forgotten what it was like to get regular raises, purchase health care insurance at a reasonable price, and look forward to retiring at age 65.

As I’ve been saying, I don’t really expect an imminent catastrophic world-changing event. Could it happen? Sure. There are any number of threats that could occur at any moment, from a Carrington-class coronal mass ejection to a large cyber attack that takes down the power grid to a lethal pandemic to a massive earthquake on the NMSZ that cuts the country in two, separating the food producers west of the Mississippi from the eaters east of the Mississippi. Worse yet, most of these events are inevitable. We know with a very high degree of certainty that we WILL be hit by a massive CME, that a large earthquake WILL occur in the New Madrid area, that a lethal pandemic WILL occur. But probably none of those will occur this year or next year. Probably. I’ve made a SWAG that the chance of a catastrophic event occurring within the next year is about 0.03. Three percent. So while occurrence is unlikely, at least in the short term, the consequences of any of these would be catastrophic, with potentially tens of millions of people dead in the US. That kind of threat is obviously worth paying some attention to.

I read one time that the most successful way of forecasting the weather for tomorrow is to predict that it’ll be pretty much the same as today. And that’s pretty much the way I predict the future in other ways. In other words, we’re going to see a continuing slow slide into dystopia, until one day that slide turns into a precipitous fall off a cliff. That day may come tomorrow or it may not come for many years or even decades, but that day will arrive. When it does, I want to have water to drink, food to eat, fuel to heat our home, guns to defend ourselves, and so on. That’s the main reason why I prep.

But there are other, less catastrophic reasons to prepare. The price of everything keeps going up, as I see in both business and personal life. An item that cost $5 the last time I bought it now costs $5.50. And this goes on, day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. Of course, it’s not the value of the items I’m buying that increase constantly, it’s the value of the dollar that decreases constantly. So, given the choice between holding dollars that are constantly losing value and hard assets, I want to put at least some of our dollar assets into things that hold their value. Inflation is simply a hidden tax on assets, and it’s not going away anytime soon, barring a complete collapse of the dollar (which I’m also not expecting anytime soon).

Prepping also insulates preppers against personal problems like a job loss or unexpected major expense. If something like that happens, I want to be prepared to live from our pantry for months or longer. Certainly, there are unavoidable expenses that must be paid for with dollars, but being able to minimize outgo in dollars is certainly a worthwhile goal. And then there’s the simple peace of mind that comes with a deep pantry, knowing that if there’s a disruption in deliveries we can do without any outside supplies for quite a while.


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

08:55 – Amazon is having its big sale today. I just took a quick look and didn’t see anything I wanted that was on sale.

Like almost everyone, I was aware of the San Andreas fault and its potential to produce a devastating earthquake. I also knew about the New Madrid fault. What I didn’t know about was the Cascadia fault, which seismologists believe is likely to produce a truly devastating quake and tsunami in the relatively near future.

‘Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.”’

Seismologists estimate the probability of an 8.0 to 8.6 Cascadia earthquake occurring within 50 years as about 0.33 and a huge one (8.7 to 9.2) as about 0.1. Of course, that means it may be happening as I write this, or it may not happen for another thousand years or more. But a 0.33 probability of even an 8.0 quake occurring within the next 50 years should be cause for great concern. Even one on the low end of that range would kill tens of thousands of people. A 9.2 quake could easily kill millions, both directly and from the follow-on effects.

“On the coast, those numbers go up. Whoever chooses or has no choice but to stay there will spend three to six months without electricity, one to three years without drinking water and sewage systems, and three or more years without hospitals. Those estimates do not apply to the tsunami-inundation zone, which will remain all but uninhabitable for years.”

If I were on the Pacific coast, I’d certainly make relocation a high priority, and potential earthquakes are only part of the reason. Interestingly, if I were in that situation, the North Carolina mountains would be high on my list of potential relocation sites, not far behind the Montana/Alberta border area.