Details here. Terrible law, all it brought was larger government and organized crime. We can also blame prohibition for the darn ATF. At least FDR did something right in ending it. I wonder if a hundred years from now people will look at the war on drugs the same way.
A few things happened here. Recently I have put some time and energy into stocking a few extra household items. Stuff like laundry soap, light bulbs, etc. Also picked up a few OTC meds and a half gallon of 'emergency whiskey'. While obviously not a good choice for some emergencies but for plenty of more likely ones 2 drinks at the end of a long day would be nice. It isn't a bad idea to stash some of whatever you like.
Didn't really do a long run but overall last weeks fitness efforts went decent.
Ended up selling off the crimson trace laser grips that came with my new revolver. They are cumbersome for concealed carry being fairly large for a small gun like a J frame. They are just subtly too big to really let the gun do what I want. Also I shoot it better using the sights anyway. It's true they may be useful someday but that potential day is a long way off and during that time many new developments will likely come into play. Long before then I will probably be running red dots on my defensive pistols anyway. Also it dropped the price point for the little wheel gun which was nice. More importantly along with another sale freed up some cash for some things I will keep to myself at least for now.
Well that is what I did to prepare this week. What did you do?
This book is about a middle aged “prepper” who finds himself
far from home after a natural EMP (Carrington event, sun spots, whatever). He
is at a job interview in Atlanta when the whole event kicks off. The main
character and his new boss (just got hired by FEMA) are busy getting day drunk
to celebrate his new employment. He walks out of Atlanta towards the west with
the bouncer from the bar. The main character immediately begins acquiring
things that do not belong to him to aid in his survival and trip west.
the way they meet some people and get drunk with them. He gets a nice little .380 by trading money he knows is worthless that he acquired from an abandoned semi with the bouncers relative. Shortly therafter he gets an operational tractor in a lopsided deal and uses
it to drive the rest of the way home. He makes it home to Montgomery and his
elderly mother, ex girlfriend (who is a “prepper” and they are still close) and
some other acquaintances. After some hanging out and drinking they decide that
they need to bug out because things are going to get dangerous. They proceed to
“acquire” a couple more operational vehicles and then the whole tribe heads out to some
They get there and via a friend he made earlier and take
over a few houses for everybody to live in. After getting to the lake they
begin systematically searching empty homes for food, booze and things that they
can use. They also find a couple boats to use. Along the way they start making
friends and setting up some means of trade and small scale commerce. Anyway now
I will get to the usual format.
The Good: It was a fun easy read. Also this is a pretty nice
vision of a genuine end of the world event. Travel around, take whatever you
want and get drunk pretty much every day. This book portrayed people in a
generally positive light which is sort of refreshing. Many survival type books
have everyone turn into rapist cannibal murderers if the power goes out for an
hour. On the other hand as far as I recall not a single bad thing happened in the book, not violent conflict or even a nasty accident or illness which probably isn't realistic either.
Also the book did have some pretty good primitive living/
outdoor skills stuff. It was sort of awkwardly placed in and at some points it
seemed like 2 pages of a random wilderness survival book were accidentally
inserted to the story but it was good none the less. I have a good background
in this stuff and I picked up a thing or two.
The Bad: A
significant part of the book was pretty much a big cocktail party. It didn’t
really have a purpose in the book. To a certain degree this is a reflection of
actual human behavior like hurricane parties and such and I didn’t really mind
it. I’ve passed more than one power outage with a few folks and a case of beer.
However to me about the time when I pull a rifle out of the safe because the
world is going crazy it is time for the party to slow down or stop entirely. At
one point he is visiting a guy and they have a few beers. He goes to leave and
the guy hands him a cold 6 pack for the rest of the trip. Not saying I have
always been perfectly responsible in that regard but it was a bit much. While they are could
represent human behaviors as folks do tend to hit the bottle or whatever more
in bad time,getting hammered every
night and driving drunk are not the best plans for a survival situation.
Also the author seems to have a need to use the words “prepper”
and “72 hour bag” a lot. I wish I had a count on how many times each phrase was
used. It wasn’t quite The Survivalist style needless repetition but it did get
The Ugly: We could debate looting vs. scavenging or whatever
(got a post brewing about that) but in any case they take everything they want
which isn’t nailed down or guarded. In any case as Suburban Survivalist said “there
is enough looting to make Jim Rawles go catatonic.” According to the main
character everything that they find is abandoned and they need it so it is free
game. At one point they break into an auto shop to take a pair of ATV’s.
Also they went to a “bug out” to a place where they did not
own any property or have an agreement with those who did. They made an
agreement (one in a long series of totally lopsided, convenient and essential agreements in this book)
with a homeowner once they got there but I am not sure if they planned to just
squat or what the exact deal was. It
could have been touched on and I missed it but they occupied several houses
which they did not own or compensate the conveniently absent owners for.
In any case after
they occupy a few houses at the lake they begin systematically breaking into
and searching every empty house for things they can use. In fairness to the characters
in the book they seem to not have a problem with other folks taking everything
that isn’t nailed down so at least they are not hypocrites which is good. Regardless
of ones take on looting vs. scavenging in real life I suspect a group of people
who acted that way could realistically face some consequences.
Conclusion: For the price of $8ish I thought it was a decent
value for my entertainment dollar. I got a few things out of it and it provoked
some ideas. I don’t regret reading it but doubt I will read it again.
The word simple has gotten a bad rap in recent times. We either think of it as a psuedonym for crappy or ugly or a nice way of refering to the developmentally disabled 30 year old who lives in his mom's basement, rides a bike and does handywork/ semi skilled labor. I don't see it that way.
Some of my favorite things are simple. One of my favorite meals is a good steak served medium rare with nothing on it, a potato with some fixings and some vegitables. My favorite drink is Scotch (blended typically but occasionally a single malt if I am celebrating or feeling fancy) with a handfull of ice. In a pinch the ice isn't essential. I like simple guns like AK's, Glocks, pump shotguns and double action revolvers. It is hard to beat a plain black wool pea coat.
When it comes to saving and investing simple things make or break you. If you simply live on less than you make and put the difference (after setting some aside for a 'rainy day') into a diversified set of instruments that make money things will go quite well. The way people mess up isn't by (assuming reasonable diversified choices) going with the wrong stocks or mutual funds or whatever but by not putting money away. See it is really simple.
I don't think simple vehicles or homes are a bad thing either. A simple reliable vehicle that will run reliable and get you where you want to go is a good thing. Often with reasonable planning you can (GASP) actually pay cash for them. Personally I would rather have a simple home, that I can afford to pay off in a reasonable amount of time and have money to save for the future, fund my child (and his planned sibling yet to be born)'s education and to be comfortable instead of having some cheesy wanna be Mansion which leaves us stretching and straining every month. It doesn't have to be a shack (though a small cabin or cottage if your family situation fits in it) but the idea of a normal modest 3-4 bedroom house with a couple normal bathrooms has slipped away recently. Not that a big house is bad if you can actually afford it but most folks, me included, can't. Why people set themselves up for failure buying stuff they don't need to impress people they don't like escapes me.
Simple plans are best too. It is said that a simple plan boldly executed will consistently give good results.
My point is that simple things are good. We rarely get ourselves in trouble by doing something in too simple of a fashion. Ever heard of that highly paid doctor who got himself in huge trouble by purchasing and living in a simple little house? I don't think so. Ever heard of an average Joe who got himself in trouble purchasing and living in a McMansion he just couldn't afford? I think we all have to realize that starting with a simple foundation and then, if we are truly able maybe expanding a bit is a prudent course of action. However I think that once we get past the silliness of it all, many folks are pretty happy with simple things and even when able see no reason to move away from them.
I have seen this video floating around and Saddle Tramp sent me a link to it. Finally got time to sit down and watch it this evening. I suggest a stiff drink. In fact you might want to have a drink before watching this and another for during it.
As survivalists and just plain folks living through the worst economic situation in a real long time we are all pinching pennies. However everybody has something that we splurge on. What is your splurge?
Personally I like top shelf booze. For a long time it was Crown Royal but as of late it is single malt Scotch. I don't drink much of it so the cost isn't really an issue. Maybe it is more of the principle of the thing then, that I'm getting exactly what I want cost be damned. A bottle a month and I am a happy camper. If I had to I would drink less good stuff than move to lesser quality.
Life is too short to drink anything less than good liquor.
A true story. A friend I work with told me about his divorce that happened several years ago. One of his friends was sleeping with my friends wife. After the divorce was final, he told his ex-friend to make a reservation at the hospital. It was not going to happen then, but someday, yes someday they were going to have it out.
Time went by, and like a lot of guys after a divorce, he started hitting the bottle. One night he is at the bar drinking with two of his buddies, and he decides its time. He calls up the ex-friend and tells him to come on over to the bar and lets settle this thing, he has half a beer left, he will be waiting for him. He waits, finishes his beer and its a no show. Calls up the ex-friend and tells him, he is on the way. Tells his two buddies they are going for a ride with him.
Arrives at the house. One buddy stays in the car, the other one goes with him. Kicks the door in. Inside, the guys brother is there. He doesn't know what the heck is going on. My friend is all "likkered" up and beats the H*** out of him. (one on one, not two on one) Next up is the ex-friends wife. (She does not know what is going on either) She is on the phone talking to 911, screaming that he is going to kill all of them. He grabs the phone out of her hand and smashes it, then slaps her around some. Next up is the main course. The ex-friend is found hiding in a closet. Drags him out and starts ass kicking process. No sooner does it start and it seems like twenty of those cars with the lights on top are coming down the road making LOTS of noise. Time to leave! He gets out the door and gets about 30 feet before they get him. Free police car ride.
I heard his tell once about arresting a boy for possession of whiskey in the Territory. It was against the law then to take any sort of liquor into the Territory; officers were very strict about enforcing that law, because the United States Government didn't want the Indians to get hold of any alcoholic drinks.
A lot of people think it is a good idea to stock alcohol either for personal use or barter. There is going to be a lot of pressure, stress and grief during a crisis or break down. Know who in your group is suicidal or violent under the influence of alcohol. Keep tight control of the "likker."
I want to thank Ryan, Chad and Ryan for allowing me to post this at their site.
I remember a conversation once with a young enlisted soldier and his buddies. We were waiting in line just chatting about life to pass the time. This young man's buddies were talking about going out drinking down town which wasn't surprising as that is pretty common. He said he wasn't going because he gets in trouble down town, he didn't offer and I didn't really care. More interestingly he then said he is never going down town again, unless he gets really drunk.
This is where I re entered the conversation. I mentioned to this young man the basic fault of that plan; that "unless he gets really drunk" is a pretty major exemption in his plan as he didn't mention moderating his drinking or in the extreme, swearing off the stuff entirely. Hopefully that young man will make better decisions in the future but more likely he will get drunk in the barracks and then go down town with his friends and maybe get in trouble.
It is the same thing with saving money. Far too often have I heard "I will start saving next month but this month things are bad". The thing is that baring some serious change in circumstances (I will get to that in a minute) next month is going to be just the same. It takes a simple but realistic look to see if your circumstances are likely to substantially change in the foreseeable future. For example, my co author Ryan is in Law School. When he graduates and starts working his financial situation will change radically. However if the every pay period/ month/ year stuff is kicking your butt and you can't seem to get ahead just hoping for things to get better isn't a plan. "I will save something next month" is a plan albeit a non solution because go figure next month isn't going to magically be better.
As for how to make it better I don't have easy simple answers. In order to create a surplus that you could save or allocate toward preps or use to pay off debt you will have to spend less or earn more. Sorry, no easy and painless solution. Cutting non essential stuff is a simple solution. If you pay $150 a month for the super duper satellite package and can't figure out how to drop your expenses there is no helping you.
For the rest of us. Getting a 12 pack of beer instead of a case and cutting out a fast food meal a week is a good start. If you do a rice meal (Spanish rice or something) and a breakfast for dinner (pancakes and eggs, french toast, etc) every week the bills will drop. Cancel a magazine subscription and rent a couple less movies a month and minimize impulse purchases then all of a sudden there is a small surplus. Couple that with selling a few things you don't use anyway and picking up some overtime or even working a weekend day or two and your small surplus just became a modest surplus. Once you get ahead a bit you aren't stuck when a small emergency happens and also you have the cash to lay out and take advantage of real deals. I think it is easier to put off making simple but not easy decisions (I laid out how most people can save some cash in a short impromptu manner, it just isn't easy to stick to it) with the baseless hope that things will get better than to really dig in and improve your situation.
The other way people go is to become complacent and just give up. To say that there is no way you can improve your situation and it is just how it is. While I do give these folks credit for not having some pie in the sky plan but that is largely canceled out by their giving up. I hate to hear this because I know they can make their situation better. It will probably be small progress but these things have a way of growing on themselves so eventually small progress leads to huge gains. It may not be easy and it certainly won't happen overnight but they can make their finances and life better.
When you recognize something as a problem choose a realistic solution that you can stick with.
I have been thinking about the good things in life recently. Not talking about friends and family and meaningful relationships but dirty evil stuff. For example I recently got a Berkey Water Filter. It was not cheap and at least one person mentioned that two 5 gallon buckets and some handy work plus Berkey Filter Elements can make essentially the same thing. I like my Berkey. It is nice and shiny and looks pretty decent in the kitchen.
I like Crown Royal Whiskey. In fact I am sipping on some as I write this. It is smooth and delightful. Very hard to beat an ounce or two of it in a rocks glass with 2-3 ice cubes. Of course it is not cheap, about $25 or so a bottle. Recently I decided to stop buying cheaper stuff, to just buy and drink Crown Royal. One of my better recent decisions.
I do not drink much Crown Royal. If I slugged back a big bottle a week it would get expensive; though the economic cost would pale in comparison to the life problems it would likely cause. A pint of the wonderful stuff usually lasts around 3 weeks and a quart lasts a month and a half or so. $15ish a month is a pretty minor expense for us. Also we are generally frugal and earn modest though not horrible wages so cost on any single item isn't a major concern.
Splurging a little bit on something you really like is just fine. In fact I honestly encourage you to. Often the enjoyment and quality of life you will get is far out of proportion to the economic cost. It is just that you can not choose everything. Figuring out how to enjoy some nice things you care a lot about within an overall reasonable financial lifestyle is certainly a balance but far from impossible.
It is nice to live a frugal lifestyle. However I do not thing we need to entirely deprive ourselves of everything we like. Just pick the ones that are really important to you and make overall reasonable choices and things will be fine. Heck, you might even get to drink some Crown Royal now and then.
I am very proud to say that tomorrow Wifey will have been tobacco free for two months. I didn't say anything earlier because as anyone who knows a smoker is aware the relapse rate for quitting smoking (at least in the beginning) is quite high. While these things are never completely certain it really looks like it is going to stick this time. I am very proud of her.
There has been talk floating around about quitting this or quitting that so (keep in mind this is a big if) that is something happens you are ready. Tobacco, beer, wine, booze, candy and all sorts of other stuff comes up.
I think there is a huge difference between having an addiction and something you just like. Brutal self examination may be required to tell the difference. As a general rule I would say if not having something for a day is a major problem you are probably addicted; if you have physical or mental withdraws after not getting something you are definitely addicted.
For instance I like to have coffee in the morning but if for whatever reason I don't end up having any it isn't the end of the world. I don't get headaches if I can't have coffee or something like that.
I don't think we should give up all the things we like because some day we might not have access to them. Being pissed off now because you really want a mocha will not really help you from being pissed off if the world ends because you want a mocha. As Andy Mcnab , SAS once said "there is no way to train for being cold, hungry and tired". I extend that same logic for not being able to have what you want. It sucks and will suck just as much if you have a mocha today or don't.
I do however think that addressing addictions would be very prudent because the last thing you want to do is go out in a riot because you have the shakes because of lack of alcohol and the Mrs. needs more smokes.
Stocking some of your favorite luxuries would probably be prudent so at least you could have some for awhile or maybe for special occasions.
I think a lot of this stuff is also a value judgment on what others enjoy being somehow bad or less good. A person who NEEDS to have their special blue berry cereal or soy milk or non fat vanilla latte has just as much of a problem as one who NEEDS to have a glass of wine or whatever. I probably know half as many people who are addicted to foofy coffee drinks as I do that are addicted to something else.
Enjoy the luxuries you like and address the addictions.
We are a few days into being home. The second night we went out and had way too many drinks with my folks and uncles. Wifey definitely had the dreaded two day hangover and I have been taking it pretty easy since.
We went camping for two nights with Wifeys folks and some of their real close friends. Cooked some hotdogs, made smores and had a few beers. Got to try some home brew my uncle made which was cool. I do not make a habit of sleeping on the ground when not required to by work but otherwise it was a lot of fun.
Now we find ourselves in a hotel in a new town. Getting to see a part of the PNW I had never been to has been great. I really like it and Wifey does also. Going to be here for another day and then wake up read early and get headed back towards home.
We have definitely covered a lot of miles the past couple of days. Thankfully my sister had a car she could loan us for our visit. It has been a real help. We would have gotten everywere without it but not needing to worry about who is driving us here and who is picking us up there makes things a lot easier.
Haven't seen the news in 4 days or so and that is kind of nice.
Finished the book Rawls sent me so I will probably write a bit about that tomorrow.