Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: Liberators by Jim Wesley, Rawles

Today I will be reviewing the new Jim Rawles bookLiberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse Before getting started in case anyone has not read some (or all) of his previous works let me talk about some unusual elements of these books. This book is the 5th book of his 'series' that started with Patriots. I use the term series loosely because of the contemporaneous nature of these books.
The different books cover more or less the same time period from different perspectives and locations. There is some inter twining between characters and events through the books. The nature of these books is that unlike a more conventional series you could, in theory, pick up book two or four and read it as a standalone without being behind or confused about the story. Another feature of these books is that they move between characters/ groups throughout the book. I do not mean simply shifting point of view from Bob to Tom but essentially entirely different stories in different areas that may, or may not come together. For example the last book Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse was split between central Florida, Australia and the pacific in general. This part of the Rawles books has taken some criticism, including from me, for making things a bit disjointed but in the last couple books those kinks have been ironed out.

For the sake of full disclosure I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher with a loose agreement that I was interested in reviewing it. Of course there was no talk, let alone pressure, about the content of the review. I also fundamentally like Jim Rawles as he has been good to me and my blogging efforts. This does not mean I would be consciously biased towards his works. However arguably there could be some unconscious bias, sort of how you are less annoyed when the cool guy or cute girl you casually know at the local coffee shop flubs your order than if it is a person you don't know.

So onto the usual format.

I will do my best to avoid spoilers but if you genuinely want to have no clue about the contents of this book then stop reading now, buy and read it then come back and see what I think. However if you do not mind having a little bit more of an idea than reading the back cover but a lot less than say, a kids
500 word book report, then continue reading.

Begin potential spoilers.

The general outline of the story is that it follows two groups one an older couple living on a remote ranch in British Columbia along with their children (the sisters from the last book) and the second a family living in Virginia. It follows them through the beginning of the collapse through the UN invasion and the subsequent conflict. The ranch group has some folks who travel to get to the ranch and the other group had a loose plan at the start that led to a very long bug out type scenario. They all ended up resisting the UN troops in different ways. While the books run more or less contemporaneously this book tends to be more focused on the latter part of that period than the initial part.

The Good: The trend of an easy to read book that flows continued. Earlier books issues with short chapters and lots of jumping around are not present.

I am pleased to say people, even survivalist types were portrayed in what I feel were very realistic ways. The types of situations and levels of preparedness of both survivalists and non survivalists meshed with what I have seen to be accurate.

Along these lines the situations characters were in seemed much more representative of our society at large and arguable as such realistic than previous books. There was a divorcee facing home foreclosure and a writer toiling away at a half done work who cut wood for a living. Folks were
meeting each other and sometimes finding love during a chaotic situation, in other words being actual people not survivalist automatons.

Furthermore the groups people formed into were much more organic along family  and friendship lines than the much spoken about but rare (in actual implementation and rarer in success) survivalist type group. Folks were trying  to get by with their loved ones and friends, some of whom were survivalists.

Additionally it was a pleasant breath of fresh air that characters were equipped with a wide variety of gear, weapons and vehicles. There was never totally unauthentic moment where only a 1911 .45 from X manufacturer, some  specific rifle or vehicle was the cure all to a situation. More like "Tim had  a pistol, rifle and shotgun with some ammo so he was reasonably well armed."

Of course the huge pool of free research assistants the massively popular Survivalist Blog offers gives Jim a huge advantage. He can talk to three people who live near the Whatever Forest, Any County, Anywhere to find a nice location that has the  sort of caves/ roads/ permissive border the story needs. This brings a huge level of authenticity and arguably actionable information not present in other books of this type.

That people were portrayed as an active part of the overall guerrilla/ counter insurgency situation was excellent. Fence sitters can be spurred into action based on something bad being done (by either side) to their loved ones.

Also a significant part of the action being intelligence related folks brought the book more into Jim's (former) area of expertise which let him write realistically and with some authority. In fairness we will revisit this topic later from another angle.

Surely more stuff was good but I cannot think of it specifically right now.

The Bad:

JWR's military background is in Intelligence which was a not insignificant part of this book. However that experience is pretty dated and I strongly suspect more along Cold War lines than the guerrilla/ counter insurgency lines of the book. At times he wrote at some length about various topics that are arguably not that applicable to the type of fight going on. I know it is tempting to talk about your area of knowledge but sometimes that can lead to talking more about what you know than stuff that really applies to the situation, also it can somewhat detract from the story. These parts would have been better served by being adapted more to applicable guerrilla/ counter insurgency situation, potentially with some help, or snipped down.

[Without getting into my background I know what I am talking about with this stuff.]

The Ugly:

I was frustrated at the end that the book seemed to end too fast. Some individuals from the last book arrived on the scene with considerable build up  then it just ended. It felt like when someone has to write a minimum 5 page paper and is cranking away then realizes they are at 4.5 pages and throws in
the cliche restate the point ending paragraph to close it out.

The book would have been well served by being 20 pages longer (or if X pageswas the goal snipping a bit here and there from other parts to free up the space) to do service to that part of the plot line.
.
To me some of the connections between characters from different groups from previous books (Specifically the sisters from the last book and the original group from the first book )was forced yet for what did not really lead anywhere.

It is confusing to me that forethought (at least a book or two back) was put into inter twining characters in different areas to come together but it almost seems like the planning on how to do it was deeper than the planning on what they would do, or why the thread of connection added value to the bigger story.

In this book I would probably have had one group in this book who was not really connected to the previous books fight the good fight supporting different resistance cells. That would have seemed less forced and also given a good platform for different TTP's and lessons learned (good as well as bad).

I should note the bad and ugly are very relative and did not significantly detract from the overall book. Sort of like if the waitress is a bit slow bringing your second beer/ cup of coffeee so it arrives less than optimal temperature at an enjoyable meal with friends, and everything else is good.
It is a minor annoyance but a few days later you remember the dinner and have forgotten the less than optimal beverage.
My overall assessment is this book was excellent. I tried not to get into spoilers but there is a lot on bugging out by vehicle as well as by foot. Additionally many interesting lessons for potential insurgency situations as well as more general survivalist ones were present. Furthermore I found it a
very enjoyable read with characters you can really relate to and root for as they go through the events that unfold. This is probably the best book in the series. Buy a copy of Liberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse to read and get another to give away or loan to a friend and not get back.


There may well be a second more free form thoughts and lessons post on the book down the road. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kangaroo Carry and Other Outside the Box Ideas

You probably notice I have mentioned the S&W Shield a few times recently. Then I took a step back and checked the whole concept a little bit. May be the answer is to find a more comfortable way to carry a gun I already have like a Glock. Got an OWB kydex holster that I really like but it does not offer the level of concealability I desire. Also I just am not loving IWB these days.

While it is very pro gun it is not, at least in my observation one where people carry in a marginally concealed way. So my need to conceal deeper is at least worth thinking about. It got me looking at different outside of the box options.

The first one I stumbled into was Kangaroo Carry. Sort of a hybrid shoulder holster/ belly band type of thing. The ability to carry a large end 'compact' pistol like a Glock 19 in a solidly concealed fashion with a pretty high level of concealment appeals to me. Also for drives it is off the waistline which is good. Also handily with a very affordable price of $50ish on their website and closer to $30 elsewhere it is solidly in the 'I'll give it a shot' range.

If anyone has personal experience with this setup I am quite interested to hear about it. There is another similar maker, deep concealment if I think, to which the same applies.

Also if you use some other outside the box type carry setup I would be interested in hearing about it.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

From Around The Net

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Family Fishing Day

We, largely thanks to Wifeys efforts, got a lot of chores that can often become weekend duties done during the week so it was a wide open Saturday, time to do something. So we went fishing. Had to get new licenses for the adults and got the Mrs her own setup. After a pit stop for lunch we hit the lake.

Kids were little terrorists. Walker finally caught on his little pole only had a bobber attached and considered that a significant grievance. So I actually put a hook on and then a worm. Daughter kept trying to climb the rails on the side of the dock. About five minutes later Walker accidentally dropped his pole in the water. Kid's had it since last season and loves the thing. That cheesy little Wally World fishing pole is one of his prized possessions.

Tried to grab it with a hook and line but it sunk pretty fast.

Thanks to previous trips I am pretty skilled at hauling shoes, hats, etc out of the water but they float, at least for awhile. Tried to fish out the pole to no avail. Other folks tried to help. Walker was crying profusely.

Went to the family hauler to get my swimming shorts. I was more than a little concerned about the cumulative amount of tangled up line with hooks still attached at a popular fishing spot but what can ya do. Figured the realistic worst case is a hook gets buried in me, Wifey gives me a knife to cut the line and I climb out of the water then get the hook out. Nobody said fatherhood was for the weak.

So I jump in the water.

Conditions were hampered by the murky green water and presence of lots of weeds. Also without corrective lenses my vision is really bad. On the plus side he has a bright red 'Cars' fishing pole.

Got it on about the third dive. Thankfully the bobber was floating above the weeds so I was able to see it. Walker was happy but too distracted running and screaming with another kid to go back to fishing. I was wet but so what, at 90+ degrees and about the same humidity staying outside any length of time means you are soaked in sweat.

Wifey, who fished as a kid, spent most of the day trying to get me to commit to some sort of bet on total fishing results. Given that she is better at this than I am and has the ability to (albeit with the kids) theoretically go fishing every day I declined.

She caught a fish and proclaimed we were done fishing for the day (the kids were melting down anyway). So far the count is her 1 me 0.

Went swimming after that. Got some ice cream on the way home which was a huge mistake, well a huge mess anyway. Turns out I finally found the thing baby wipes are not good for, melted ice cream and sand.

Got some hot dogs on the way home and BBQed them for dinner.

While both children cried more than a little and at different points both adults almost (or did) completely lose their shit it turned out to be a pretty good day.

'Merica

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Evening Thoughts

It was a long, busy week at work. One of those brain numbing weeks where you get home and after eating (and if applicable) hanging out with the kiddo's just want to veg out.

I have always hated Gin with the sole exception being the ultimate 'white girl wasted' drink the Long Island Ice Tea which, best I can recall I last drank 6 or so years back at Applebee's in Columbus, Georgia with Wifey and Stephen (RIP).  Anyway a week or so back at a guys house (waiting to carpool somewhere with a DD) said guy offered me a gin and tonic. Said sure half to be polite. It was delightful, light and fizzy. I have a new summer drink, at least for now.

Am looking hard at getting a single stack 9mm pistol. Efforts into reloading are on hold as I am putting that on hold for fear I might smash a rifle in a fit of rage. Also I would like have a better compromise between concealability and firepower than is currently on inventory. Am leaning hard towards the S&W Shield though if I find a deal on a Khar CM/CW9 it would be hard to turn down. Am for it on a conceptual level, just a question of this month or the next, in comparison to other options.

Have recently started watching Archer. It is awesomely amusing mindless entertainment.

Also started reading a new (to me) Brad Thor book. Picked it up at a garage sale for a buck. So far it is quite fun in a contemporary spy drama sort of way. Am looking forward to reading it.

This weekends plans are to take care of some chores at home and spend a lot of time with the midgets.

So that is what I am up to this week. What have you been up to?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

PMAG 30 AK Initial Impressions

Picked up a couple of these PMAG 30 AK mags not too long ago. Fiddled with it a little bit. Initial impressions are as follows:

- A lot lighter than a standard Euro surplus AK mag or even one of the lighter thinner metal ones. This shouldn't be a big surprise but given that it is a relatively heavy rifle anyway ounces count.

-Looks like, like a thicker curvy sibling to a normal PMAG. Like it's brick house but still hot sister.

-While normal AK mags seem to work fine without an anti tilt follower it is still a nice touch.

-Initially fit was a bit tight in my rifle. This was sort of a concern for me as these rifles have been made to so many slightly different specifications in so many places over the years it could be a problem. I honestly had to pull pretty hard to get it to seat. After the first couple times practicing the reload it seemed to shave a little bit off the sidewalls and worked just fine after.

-This does bring up a point of concern for me. PMAGs last basically forever in AR's but the attachment mechanism is a lot less strenuous on the mag. The AK mag style could be a lot rougher on the plastic of the mag, especially the front piece that has to hook onto the rifle before you 'rock' the mag in. Time will tell I guess.

- Value seems pretty good with street prices in the $14-16 range. Lucky Gunner has them for $15. Five years ago I would say $15ish AK mags would be a non starter but with surplus ones rising in price and getting worse in quality every year it isn't a bad deal.

I don't know that you NEED to run out and replace already functional mags with these but if you are short on mags it might be worth looking at them.

Oh yeah and Lucky Gunner is selling a case of Tula 7.62x39 for $229.

Have you got any PMAG 30 AK mags? If so what do you think of them?



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Crazy Week

You've had posts but not quite up to the normal standard. It's been a pretty crazy week at work. Next week things will go back to normal. Please bear with me on replying to comments or emails.

Women Against Feminism



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Matthew Bracken Interview



Interview starts at 23 min.

Without starting a flame war I personally do not consider Alex Jones/ Prison Planet to be a reliable source, nor do I frequent any of their various publications. People have to evaluate these things themselves and reasonable people can differ in opinions. YMMV, end of topic.

The above taken for what it is they did an interview with Matthew Bracken which is pretty cool. I enjoyed his books and they are turning out to be more accurate than I like as time goes by. When Matthew Bracken talks I listen. Though he should probably consider doing something with his hair or at least throwing on a hat for the next interview.

H.R. 5344, “The Responsible Body Armor Possession Act,”

The ability of average citizens to properly equip themselves to fight with body armor and night vision is something I am surprised liberals have not attacked to date. Do I see this legislation going anyplace in the current house, no, but it puts the writing on the wall for a potential future one when they could make it work.

Got Body Armor? It is really not that expensive anymore.

Got NOD?

Yes of course you need good and guns but instead of just stacking guns deep you might want to get ready to actually fight.
H.R. 5344, “The Responsible Body Armor Possession Act,” - See more at: http://www.alloutdoor.com/2014/08/08/proposed-body-armor-ban-american-citizens/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=2014-08-12&utm_campaign=Weekly+Newsletter#sthash.F69CoawT.dpuf
H.R. 5344, “The Responsible Body Armor Possession Act,” - See more at: http://www.alloutdoor.com/2014/08/08/proposed-body-armor-ban-american-citizens/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=2014-08-12&utm_campaign=Weekly+Newsletter#sthash.F69CoawT.dpuf

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fighting vs Training vs Gaming PT 1: Training Fundamentals

Tam and American Mercenary have been discussing gaming vs training and general thoughts thereon. I went down the rabbit hole of thought and am not only going to do a post, I am going to do two or three posts on the topic. So today we are going to talk about the fundamentals of training.

Wikipedia says Training is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. Training has specific goals of improving one's capability, capacity, productivity and performance.

Additionally Practice is the act of rehearsing a behavior over and over, or engaging in an activity again and again, for the purpose of improving or mastering it, as in the phrase "practice makes perfect".


Basically you train to get a skill and practice to maintain and refine that skill. Admittedly the two can muddle together. During this series I may use 'train' when 'practice' could potentially fit. Anyway here we go.

Today I want to discuss two sub topics to meet the endstate of having a common picture on training. The first sub topic is how to figure out what to train on. The second part is a general outline of how to train on the stuff identified in the first part.

Deciding What to train on matters considerably. We only have so much time, energy and resources so training on too much stuff means we are not in effect really training on anything. It starts with what we do.

In the Army we use something called a Mission Essential Task List. A METL is a list of tasks that an organization needs to do to be successful. It starts with large collective actions like 'conduct full spectrum offensive operations' or 'conduct counter insurgency operations in a multi national environment'. Those METL tasks are broken down to sub tasks which then eventually flow to individual tasks. Moving from the tasks a Battalion or Company needs to do all the way down to individual soldiers is a rather lengthy process. I'll do an example for an individual survivalist. Will just drill all the way down on one set of sub tasks to give you an idea.

[Now this is not meant to be a formalized survivalist METL. I'm just doing it to give an idea of how to figure out what to train on with a topic we all know should a bit about.]

Ryan's Draft METL

-Defend against criminal actions

-Conduct movement in varied enviornments

-Communicate with individuals and receive information

-Sustain in varied situation through stored goods, redundant capabilities and production

If I recall the genera guideline is to have between 3-5 METL tasks. That might be something I totally made up but 2 is certainly too few and 6 seem like too many.

To drill down further on 'Defend against criminal actions':

-Home defense against armed intruders

- Execute anti car jacking operations

- Defend against criminal activity (mugging, kidnapping, active shooter, general psychos) outside the home

-Defend against threats in WROL enviornment

Make sense?

We'll keep going deeper on 'Defend against criminal activity':

- Have working understanding of general principles, as well as state and local laws as they pertain to use of force

- Have working understanding of  the dynamics of persona criminal violence (think South Narc) as well as local threats and trends

- Engage in hand to hand combat with an emphasis on ending the fight quickly and potentially employing a weapon

-Employ a handgun for self defense

Hope that makes some sense. Each task has sub tasks which have sub tasks till you get down to individual relatively discrete tasks. It might sound like you will end up with dozens of tasks here but that is not exactly so. The next step is called a METL cross walk. Basically you make a giant table/ spreadsheet with all the higher level (in the Army collective) tasks on one side and the totally boiled down common denominator individual tasks on the other. For Army units/ soldiers when it is all boiled down a lot of individual tasks appear in many larger tasks so it boils down to a more manageable number of tasks. For survivalists given the varied nature of the problem set we choose to undertake is a bit more varied but we also do not have artificial 'check the box annually requirements' so that is something.

I think in a long winded way the first question got answered. While it is not the only option I have laid out a way to establish the tasks you need to train on.

Now to the second part, how to train on something.  Look at each part of that task and figure out how to crush it. Establish standards as well as goals for it. If you are not qualified to do this for a task you feel important enough to learn then find somebody qualified to do so and learn from them.

I do not mean to dismiss the second half of today's question but it is hard to find a principle for training that will work for gardening and ham radio as well as shooting goblins in a parking lot.

Part two will be about how fighting, training and gaming come together. There may or may not be a part 3.



Sunday, August 10, 2014

Now Shipping to Patriots and Survivalists Near You The MVT Shield



The MVT SHIELD is a patent pending, commercially produced military grade thermal shelter. The MVT SHIELD is multi-purposed as a camouflaged thermally protected tarp designed to provide the user with a thermal shield to defeat FLIR/thermal imaging surveillance and targeting. The MVT SHIELD also functions as a lightweight, waterproof covering which also works as a rain shelter, ground cloth, survival shelter, sunshade, gear cover, emergency litter or overnight shelter against the weather. The MVT SHIELD is based on a high quality nylon  design rather than poly-pro, so it folds up and packs away just like a military ‘poncho’ shelter or equivalent nylon tarp.
The MVT SHIELD has been a developing concept since writing about out the ‘thermal poncho’ concept on the Max Velocity Tactical blog and in the novel ‘Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises’ and the manual ‘Contact: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival’. Max Velocity Tactical has moved away from the ‘thermal poncho’ name to avoid confusion over the utilization of the MVT SHIELD.

USE:
The MVT SHIELD is designed primarily for use in a static position, to be strung up like a shelter tarp, taking advantage of the air gap between the person underneath and the thermal shield properties of the tarp to defeat FLIR. Uses: rain shelter, thermal shield, emergency thermal blanket, primarily designed as static shelter but can be pulled over you in an emergency. The MVT SHIELD can be carried in a pack or pouch and deployed into a thermally shielded shelter as needed. The product is supplied with a stuff-sack pouch, with the packed size of that pouch being 12″ x 6″.
PRODUCT DETAILS:
The MVT SHIELD is 68″ x 88″ (5.6′ x 7.3′), coyote brown on both sides, weighing 2.5 lbs. It is constructed using a double layer of two strong, lightweight nylon tarps. The tarps are rugged, 1.9 oz rip-stop nylon with a waterproof, urethane coating. To allow deployment the tarps are constructed with reinforced webbing tie-outs, three per side including corners. In addition to the perimeter tie-outs there are also three additional tie-outs across the center ridge-line to aid deployment.
Thermal Shield Properties:
Between the two layers of the nylon tarps is sandwiched a double layer of LDPE-4 heat-reflective material, each layer individually  blocks blocks 97% of body heat emissions when held in contact with the body. Each single layer is 30%-50% thicker than a standard thermal blanket, making it more durable. It is also protected by the exterior sandwiching nylon tarps. The interior thermal layer is puncture-resistant and does not fracture if the edges are nicked, as metallized polyester blankets do. The layer is softer and quieter than products made from metallized polyester (“Mylar”), or the cheaper metallized polypropylene, which rattle with every movement.
Best use of the this product as a thermal shield and camouflage shelter will be attained when utilized with conventional camouflage and concealment techniques, in  particular terrain masking and camouflage utilizing foliage and/or the tree canopy. The MVT SHIELD has been tested utilizing FLIR thermal imagers. When correctly deployed as a shelter tarp with an air gap between the person underneath and the MVT SHIELD, there is no body heat transfer through the SHIELD, making the occupant invisible to detection by FLIR/thermal imagers.
Deployment & Customization:
The MVT SHIELD is designed to be deployed in the same way as military tarps that are utilized as rain shelters; the additional of a thermally protected layer providing full shelter from FLIR surveillance. The MVT SHIELD can be deployed using bungee cord or paracord/string tied to nearby trees or objects, or pegged to the ground; it can also be used with tent poles and tent pegs, purpose built or temporary, and it can be set up against any structure, including fence-lines or similar, even to screen the openings of foxholes, bunkers or observation posts.
Points:
1) The MVT Shield will, at least initially, be made in coyote brown. This provides an excellent base color that can be adapted to your environment and/or season. More on that in the photos, below. The size is 68 x 88 inches, which is 5.6′ x 7.3′.
2) The MVT Shield, both this specific design as well as the general concept using less effective methods, has been tested and will block viewing of your thermal image, including all thermal bloom through the material. The outer sandwich layers are constructed of 70 denier rip-stop coated nylon with an inner double layer of thermal blocking material.
3) The MVT Shield is designed to be optimally used in conjunction with good fieldcraft, i.e. terrain and vegetation masking, as well as with an air gap between the user and the material. It is designed to provide you with a usable and serviceable tactical shelter tarp, as well as an emergency thermal blanket. It is therefore multi-use, being a weather and thermal shield as well as a casualty blanket. If you put this up as part of your standard shelter SOP, you have also masked your thermal signature.
4) The MVT Shield is made in the USA, literally by  a cottage industry. They are made by the fair hand of the wife of a student who attended an MVT class.
5) Payment options will be either PayPal, or check/money order through the mail. You will go on the waiting list in the order that your payment was received. The price will most likely by $185 at this time, plus shipping.

Ryan here: This seems like a cool product and very useful if you plan to hide from folks with Thermals. If I get my hands on one (T&E would be a hard sell as hangs head in shame I do not personally own thermals) I will write more about it.

More pics and details as well as the link to purchase can be found here. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dreams, Caches and Cabins

Maybe dreams are messages for us or something from our deeply hidden unconscious or maybe they are just some random stuff that pops into our heads. I do not know or particularly care. Anyway I had a rather odd one last night and wanted to remember it.

Was in the woods. It was the sort of dense low pine forest on flat terrain that we have here in CENLA but really could have been any woods down here from east Texas to the eastern Seaboard

I say we because I was with two people from work who we will call B and L. They are co workers and good people. I wouldn't necessarily call us friends but work friends is appropriate. The type of people you BS with in slow times, go to lunch with, hang out with at mandatory social events, etc.

We were on foot. We were not running away like folks with dogs were in pursuit or something but were moving deliberately in a situation that was not good.

We came into a small clearing, like the kind where there is still a bit of a canopy but the under growth is largely absent. It was clear this was where we were going, though it seemed to be a temporary stop to resupply.

The (I presume MY) cache was in a CONEX. It was not buried like the one in terminator though it was sort of obscured/ concealed so it was not readily visible.  We all went inside. At least part of the inside were shelves and racks full of various stuff.

We arrived partially equipped. It seemed like a larger group or camp got caught by surprise and folks scattered to the winds with whatever they could grab in a few seconds. Somehow I had a rifle and a FLIC or something holding ammo, another guy had a rifle but no gear and a third had only body armor. B who was short a FLIC quickly claimed and much admired my war belt. I recall thinking we would have to sort of who got which of MY fighting loads later but that it was not a concern for right now. L felt a lot better when I handed him a rifle.

We seemed to be getting ready to go do something or another. If we were going back to wherever we left or elsewhere was not clear. In any case when we were mostly equipped the dream faded out.

Discussion: I have put some energy and resources into caches in the last couple years. Am not quite where I want to be but am closer than ever before which is something. Would like to set up a couple more small caches and a big one.

- For the small ones I would need to purchase the more expensive items which would go in them so there is a cost factor of a few to several hundred dollars. One would likely be more rural patrolling/ E&E based and the other more urban based. Very realistically I could do one of these per year for the next two years and have that knocked out.

-The big one would be on a piece of land I own ideally with some sort of structure. In this situation I would seriously look at doing a Sarah Conner Baja style cache. Thanks to Alexander Wolfe for having the pic ready to find when I typed Sarah Conner cache into google.

Though more realistically 2-3 smaller ones in 3-4ft pieces of culvert or water tanks would probably make more sense. Smaller caches would keep all off my 'eggs' from being in one basket and also be easier to put in discretely and incrementally as finances allow.

We looked at a place not too far back but it didn't turn out to be such a good option after a deeper look. Money is definitely a consideration here. If the perfect place came up we could swing it now but that would not be smart. We are going to need to do some saving to make it work in a reasonable and responsible way. I would like to say this is a realistic 5 year goal but baring a significant cash influx or finding the perfect place and just saying 'lets do it' I suspect closer to 10 is likely.

So anyway I had a dream and have been thinking about caches and cabins. Hopefully this rambling monologue was interesting or informative for some of you. Happy Saturday!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Crushing Bench Press, PR's All Over

Had an excellent day on the bench.

Warmed up in the usual fashion 135, 185, 205.

225x5 (previous rep record was 4). This was easy, might have been able to do 6 but was saving some for later.

245x3 (previous rep record was 2). Barely got the last one.

275x1 (previous max was 265). This was strong. Almost sure I could have done 285 but adding 10 pounds from my old max was a solid success and I wanted to end on a high note.

Closed out with flies and some sort of a press thing. After that I alternated pull ups and situps for a bit.

An excellent day at the gym.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Libertors, Emergency Funds and Random Thoughts

I finished the new Jim Rawles book Liberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse . It was excellent. Started working on the review and should have it done in the next couple days.

TEOTWAWKI Blog wrote an excellent post on Emergency Funds. This utterly non sexy part of preparedness is equally important and ignored in survivalism. The honest truth is you are going to need $500 to pay for a car repair or an unexpected doctor visit or cover a short paycheck than you will need a case of Tula 7.62x39 hp ammo (on sale for $229!) for the family AK or fish antibiotics.

You, yes you, seriously need an emergency fund. I do not care what sort of preps you have put back you need cash. Buckets full of rice will not put a new transmission in the family hauler a hundred and fifty miles from home.

As Alexander Wolfe noted it is prudent for some of this money should be in physical cash and readily available. It doesn't take much for the credit card system to fall apart in a disaster as there are a lot of potential points of failure. How much physical cash should you have on hand? I think for most people a months cash expenses (typically food, fuel, incidentals) is a pretty decent starting point.

It was not an accident that I picked a months cash expenses over a $$$ amount. The reason is dollar amounts do not factor in your situation. Jamie of My Adventures in Self Reliance is single and lives disability [Due to a medical issue, not the point of this post. Only mentioned it because it speaks to her income and applies to this situation]. $500 would last her a whole lot longer than Justin C's family of 8.

As of late I have started putting a little bit of money into different kits. $40 in various small bills will help in a lot of scenarios. I keep a fair bit of cash in my wallet shooting for around $200 and using $100 as 'zero' but maybe somehow I could end up with my bag but not wallet.

The idea of an S&W Shield is popping into my head again. Maybe next month.

Anyway I've got to go read some stories. Should have the Liberators review out for you tomorrow.

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