Showing posts with label women. Show all posts
Showing posts with label women. Show all posts

Friday, January 15, 2016

Concealed or I Suppose Open Carry and Social Interactions/ Dating

I am interested in your experiences, both good and bad, as well as thoughts on being armed during social interactions, dating, etc all. I know not all of my circles are rabid gun people and suspect yours aren't either. No right or wrong answers, I am just curious.

Thanks in advance

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Quote of the Day

"I'll take the simple life. Give me an AK-47, a good guard dog and a nymphomaniac who owns a liquor store."
-Bob Brown on "The Unit"

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Solo Stove Contest Winner

Drum Roll Please. The winner of our Solo Stove Contest is Pineslayer. Sorry Buddy but when I asked if Lindsay Vonn was willing to be shipped to your house USPS she declined. Our friend Google did deliver this picture for you, so that is something.

Any way drop me a line with the addy you want the stove to go to.

A big thanks to Solo Stove for supporting the blog by sponsoring these give away's.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Liberal/ MSM Stupidity: Womens Rights in Afghanistan

Afghan lawmakers block law on women's rights

This article has been in the yahoo news you see when  checking your email for a few days. Honestly it baffles me. Clearly the person who wrote has either never been to Afghanistan or has been brainwashed and is borderline mentally retarded. 

 Women's rights in Afghanistan isn't going to happen. My odds out lifting Jim Wendler in the morning, beating George St Pierre in an MMA match before lunch, out shooting Gerry Miculek in the afternoon then making a better dinner than Rachel Ray are higher than the odds of women in rural Afghanistan having anything that resembled rights or freedom.  It's just not going to happen.

 Major cities may differ slightly, and are historically more western/ liberal, however in the majority of Afghanistan women have no rights and are essentially properly. Women can be raped, beaten, killed, sold or married (same difference in that culture) as the male head of the family wants with no repercussions. That is the culture and it is not going to change.  I do not say that happily but it is absolutely true. Changing rural Afghanistan, and do not be confused the majority of the population, as well as the real axis of power in Afghanistan is rural, is next to impossible. The Soviets tried for 20 years, spending untold billions and killing millions of people. If there is a way to more brutally attack a way of life than the Ruskies did in Afghanistan I don't know what it would be. Heck, We've been there for more than a decade trying the soft and nice approach. The Afghan and in particular Pastun culture is not going to change. 

 Without getting further into Islam or Afghanistan lets get back to what this article shows us. Liberals seem to believe they are capable of imposing their beliefs on anyone. They seem to believe they know what is right for everyone, everywhere. They are confused when their agenda's simply do not appeal to people. They are even more confused when legal statutes and the implicit threat of force fails to make people comply. The idea that people are willing to ignore laws, face risk or ultimately fight/ die for their viewpoints is something they do not understand.  



Thursday, January 3, 2013

RE: Bags in EDC Contest

Received a comment about the rules for our EDC Contest today that is worth addressing.

 First lets review the full rules:

The broad strokes are this. I want to share and discuss the stuff we carry around every day AKA EDC. Taking pictures of our stuff and talking about it is my goal. Looking both at broad tools (pistol, folding knife, light, multi tool, etc all) and specifically digging into the this vs that of a Wambanger 29 vs a Doohickey A3.

The prizes will be as follows:
1st Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
2nd Place: 1 Blackhawk Holster donated by ($50 value)
3rd Place:  1 Snare-Vival-Trap cough garote cough donated by Camping Survival ($17 value)

Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value)

The Details:

The contest will run from today until 31 January. Typically I would have it run for a month but I want to give a bit more time since lots of folks are doing other things from Christmas through New Years. Still I wanted folks who might be off work and have some spare time to have the opportunity to knock out their entry thus the extra week.

As discussed above a submission will be a picture of the stuff you personally carry around on a normal daily basis with high regularity as well as a blurb/ essay discussing the stuff and it's role. I'm talking on your belt and in your pockets not in the car or some bag that generally travels near you but actual on body cary.

[Edited at 9:22 on 12/24 to include. Received a good question. Purses can count for women. They are a terrible way to carry defensive weapons but that is another topic. Honestly just didn't think that through when writing the rules. Guys I am still not including the Murse/ man bag/ Jack Bauer satchel or whatever. Life is not fair and you can call it sexist if you want. The reason is that women have their purses a pretty much all the time out of the home, probably at a higher percentage than active CCW holders have guns, while guys have some awkward bag that might go into the car occasionally.]

Note that I said a normal day and with high regularity. Don't try to impress folks by exaggerating. I do not want to know what your ideal hypothetical EDC is but what actually goes with you to the grocery store, movies or mom's for dinner. It would be a real upward battle to convince me you carry a Glock 34 with 3 17rd mags plus 4 33rd mags, a snubby .357 with 4 speed loaders, a 12" bowie knife, boot knife, a swiss army knife, an IFAK, a GPS, a lensastic compass, a pocket survival kit, a USGI poncho, an IFAK, an extendable baton, a mace, a taser, 3 of those lifeboat rations, binoculars, a multi tool and some other stuff on your person every day. Ethical issues aside I will call it like I see it if somebody seems to be exaggerating.

I'm not going to be specific about format for the picture or blurb/ essay. If the stuff doesn't open on my windows PC I will reply saying it needs to be changed to something that works on my computer for it to be entered into the contest.

I usual edit guest posts for OPSEC, spelling and grammar. To help contestants out I can (if they want) help with editing by looking a submission over and sending it back with some thoughts to help in the editing process.

Submissions will be made via email to 

Winners will be picked by voting in early February. Details will follow as I firm this part up in the coming weeks.

I reserve the right to change prizes, contest dates or whatever else for any reason. Also I reserve the right to disqualify a contestant or even a winner for any reason, can't see why I would do this but things happen.

If there are any questions or I need to clarify something please let me know so that can happen.

Onto the comment:

 "I read the rules and understand that purses are allowed for women but I would recommend rethinking about men possibly carrying a backpack or even a shoulder bag. I have a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old and for the past 6 years I have always had on me a daddy shoulder bag that carries all of our gear, to include EDC. And when I travel to work, all my EDC gets transferred to my day pack which is sitting right at my feet at work. Just some thoughts."

After thinking about this all day I  have got to stick with no man bags. The first reason which was my original reason is that most men who have these bags do not really carry them around with high regularity.  Women carry their purses at a higher percentage than the most serious CCW holders pack heat. Guys just don't do this with their murses or whatever sort of maxpedia tactical whatever. Check discretely on a guy who supposedly carries a man bag all the time randomly and he likely will not bat enough to be in the big leagues. You may be the exception but that still doesn't disprove the rule. Also women's clothing and fashion is such that they have a harder time fitting this stuff into their pants and shirt pockets so it ends up in the purse by default.

The second reason I thought of today is that would be a different contest. My observation is that prepared women usually have the things a prepared man would have in his pockets in their purse full of normal woman stuff. A prepared mans bag is a whole nother topic.

I have a EDC/ get home bag and it is chock full of great stuff. There is a pathfinder trade knife, a leatherman, a knife sharpener, a steel bottle and cup, an IFAK, a boo boo kit, water purification tablets, 550 cord, a compass, a headlamp, a small led light, lighters and a fero rod, about 2k in calories, a survival blanket, a boonie hat and probably some other good stuff. The point is that comparing that as well as things I could keep in my assault pack vs what another guy keeps in his jeans or cargo pants really isn't apples to apples.

So no man bags are not allowed. The EDC/ get home bag could, or even probably will, be a different contest down the road. Honestly I do not have a way to know if this stuff lives in your pockets or takes up a small part of a diaper bag/ whatever. If the stuff fits in your pockets and for whatever reason occasionally goes in a bag take a picture and send it in to my email Hope that seems reasonable to everybody.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Video and Discussion: Womens Concealed Carry

I stumbled into this video while looking for the end of youtube. It is pretty interesting going over relevant options for on the body carry that work for a woman wearing normal clothes. It is my observation that most people will not significantly change their overall 'style' to carry a handgun.

They will either find a system (gun/holster/belt/etc) that fits what they actually wear or not carry. (Part of the problem here is that folks buy a full sized handgun planning to conceal it, get the cheapest Uncle Mikes holster in the store and put it on whatever belt they were using before. Spend a few bucks and get a good holster like a Bianchi 100 professional and a decent belt like a 'rigger' belt of one of the various gun belts made by numerous companies. End rant.) They will have the intention to carry but won't do so at a high percentage because it is not convenient and easy. Folks who fall into this group will then leave the darn pistol at home (worse outcome) or in a vehicle (bad) or gal's will stick it in their purse or dudes in some sort of a man purse thing. These are all bad ideas in their own ways. The darn thing needs to be on your body for it to be useful in most real world self defense scenarios.

I cannot speak to all of the specific pistols and holsters mentioned in the video. In general the systems she lays out seem to make sense. The only one I am less than comfortable with is using an ankle holster to carry a defensive weapon. It is my semi informed opinion that a person will not be able to access and thus employ that weapon in most scenarios. On the other hand folks won't be looking there for a gun so it might be a nice place for a backup pistol like that little .22 if you choose to carry one.

Anyway I hope this gives the gal's some ideas about how to make ON THE BODY carry fit into their lives.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Reader Question: Gear and Tools for Women

Awhile back I asked readers an open question about blog content. That lead to a question I have kind of sat on. Wasn't sure exactly how to answer it and then it slipped out of my mind for awhile. Anyway here we are.

The question was "I notice you like to discuss and review equipment. I would like to see an article on equipment addressing my needs. I am a woman and would like to see opinions of high quality, practical tools addressing a woman's normal physical traits--less upper body strength, smaller hand size, less powerful hand grip, etc."

This was difficult for me to respond to. On one hand it is absolutely true that women are physically different than men. They tend to be smaller and have less physical strength (particularly upper body) and endurance. Not saying all women are small or weaker than men but on average most are. On the other hand this can lead us down the "women need X because they are small/ weak/ whatever" rabbit hole. I will address relatively gender neutral issues first then gender specific ones afterwords.

In terms of physical size and strength for an individual it is about just that, height/weight/composition and strength as measured against a broad group of yardsticks (squat, deadlift, bench press, press, pullups, pushups, etc). The situation for a gal who is 5'7" #135lbs with a strength of X and a guy who has comparable stats are not magically different. It does not matter that she has boobs and and he doesn't. Everybody, even big strong people can have tasks they need to do that they cannot physically complete without friends or tools. It is just for some people that their breaking point is past most normal occuring tasks so it isn't really much of an issue.

[It doesn't quite fit anywhere in the rest of the post but I would be doing a disservice by failing to mention that getting stronger is a good answer to the problem of not being able to complete various tasks. If you can't pick things up then start squating and deadlifting. If grip strength is an issue do some flexed arm hangs, pullups or farmers walks. However I would recommend just starting a basic weight training program like 531 as part of your overall fitness plan. Too many people think they are somehow special and need a customized program they are invariably not capable of setting up. I hate to say it but you don't have a "weak spot" if you are just weak.]

My general observation is that strength lets you 'cheat' or 'cut corners' while those with less strength need to have the right tools for the job. If you can't open a jar or turn something with your hands then use a strap wrench, an oil filter wrench or the right set of pliers depending on the task at hand. For turning tough bolts some WD-40 is a good start. If that doesn't do it a wrench with a longer handle will create more torque or you can slip a metal bar over it for additional leverage. Before doing this I would make sure the thing is actually supposed to move the way you want it to. Though bolts do rust or get stuck brute force usually isn't the right answer in mechanical stuff.

For lifting things an old school lever and fulcrum is a solid option. For lifting and moving stuff I would look hard at getting a hand truck to do in the house/ garage stuff and some sort of garden cart for outdoor stuff or to aid in the dreaded on foot bug out. Also when it comes to lifting things the saying "many friends make for light work" is absolutely true. I am used to friends and neighbors helping eachother with a variety of tasks. Typically for small quick ones there is no compensation aside from a beer and a thanks. Dad and I helped the neighbor take the hard top off his jeep every spring and put it on every winter for years. We also helped friends drag a huge christmas tree into the house and put it up. A neighbor man helps my Grandmother move things now and then. If you have a bigger job like a couple yards of gravel to get spread or a pallet of brick pavers that need to become a path that is what unemployed young men and teenaged neighbor boys are for.

As to gear and guns I think there is a lot of profiling in terms of gender. One certainly doesn't need to get a certain gun just because of their plumbing. Depending on your training and hand size/ strength a variety of models might suit your needs. Thankfully adjustable backstraps and the Glock SF (short frame, they basically trimmed up the backstrap) made a lot of compact and full sized service type pistols a viable option to those with smaller hands. Broadly speaking frame mounted controls work better than slide mounted ones as they work with smaller hands. It is worth rehashing that if weapons will be 'pool guns' ie the guns with multiple users you have got to size them to the smallest user. A big guy can shoot the Glock 19SF and M4agery his small wife is able to use however she probably couldn't shoot a big double stack .45 and FN-FAL very comfortably.

As to gear  women will often do better with commercial backpacking/ camping stuff then the military surplus that survivalists love. While military stuff is getting more adjustable (MOLLE packs for example) it is designed for average sized men. A jacket that is a bit big can be overcome but if your boots don't fit things are not going to go well. Backpack/ rucksack's that really fit are probably also a worthwhile consideration. While it isn't cheap REI and other big outdoor companies have a lot of good stuff designed to fit women that is seriously worth considering. Boots and packs that fit are pretty darn important while a jacket or sleeping bag can be a bit big.

I can't really speak to concealed carry issues for women. Brigid and Tam have almost surely written some great stuff on it. Limalife's youtube channel is also worth checking out. Really the fundamentals of buying gun(s) that fits your body and lifestyle, getting the equipment to use them like a good belt and holster, slings and whatnot then seeking out some training are the same for guys and gal's. Really if you don't know what you are doing it is probably best to seek out the training (most places worth training at have a few rental/ loaner guns available if you talk with them in advance) then get the stuff.

Anyway I am sorry to the lady who left the comment for the excessive delay. Also I hope somebody gets a thing or two out of this.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Why Women Still Can't Have It All?

I heard about this article from the Atlantic on tv and wanted to read it. I certainly don't agree with the political leanings of this woman or a lot of her ideas. I do however think it is a topic worth discussing.

I have touched on this before but the thing is that you have to make choices about how to spend your time and energy. Women expect, and are expected, to do more with their kids than men. Our culture tends to expect or at least accept that men will give some in this area to provide for the family. While our pressures are different the larger issue is still present for men. If I spend 2 more hours at work a day and a third (above what I do now) exercising I would do better at my job which would in time be a factor in my career. The thing is that means I would be around Wifey and kiddo for 2-3 hours less a day which is not acceptable to me. That is a choice I have knowingly made.

Beyond the work vs family debate the issue can be seen all over. Factor out some time to sleep, eat, do hygiene, etc and you are probably looking at about 16 available hours. Figure that half or a bit more goes to whatever you do to make money 5-6 days a week and you probably have 6-7 hours left.
A woman or man who chooses to spend another hour at work is by default not choosing to spend that hour in any number of other ways. That means they are a bit less of a spouse, parent or friend or aren't as good at their hobby or well read or well rested. One only has enough time, energy and money to do so much. You don't see tournament Jui Jitsu fighters who also are competitive marathon runners and 3 gun shooters that play a wicked game of bridge and are in bowling, softball and pool leagues. These folks who already don't exist certainly are not high powered professionals or business owners who have great active relationships with their spouses and children.

What is right or wrong for an individual, their family and their life is a complicated matter without clear cut answers. That being said I would say family will be there in 40 years when you are old and grey while a job, sport or a hobby will not. Also as cliche as it is you can't take money or stuff with you when you go.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pic Post

 Got to love Vladmir Putin. He really is a bad mama jamma strait out of a Tom Clancy novel.

Not sure if this last one is an authentic old terribly un PC ad or a newly made terribly un pc ad. Regardless it is so steriotypical but with that shred of real life that is just great. Makes me think it is something Red from That 70's show would have said.

I spent the whole day writing at work so you all get pictures. Lots of things are in my head but I am totally wrote out. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Interesting Video

Tam linked to a video. Two young women are walking down the street and a staggering drunk spits at them, seeming to hit one. They walk off camera and her friend comes back to presumably yell at the staggering drunk who then KO's her with an elbow to the face. Warning, the video I am about to link to portrays real life violence, namely a chick getting KOed by a jerk. You can watch the video here if so inclined.

The gal really messed up by coming back and yelling at him. Of course I am not saying she deserved what followed but it could have been avoided. When the other person is clearly aggressive and a lot bigger/ stronger than you escalating a situation is not smart.

The legitimate options would be to A) call the cops, B) just leave, which only makes sense if you want to avoid interacting with cops due to warrants, being 18 drinking on a fake ID or have a pocket full of designer drugs, or lastly C) violence. I won't debate this one, I would send the guy to the ER for sure. However that option isn't so available for gals. Unless she wanted to shoot the guy or fastpitch a brick to the back of his head fighting with a drunk (even as drunk as this guy) jerk like that is a bad option for most women.  It is worth noting that cops look for someone that shoots a guy or cracks a skull with 50 mile per hour brick a lot more aggressively than for winners of late night fisticuffs.

Note that none of the options involved talking to this guy. Even a big healthy guy would be stupid to do that. You are not going to have a rational conversation so it is better to just act if you are so inclined. As Wifey said "you don't talk to crazy."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Feminism Screwed Everything Up

Alternate title: Time to offend everybody

I have been reading a lot of stuff about gender roles in the modern world on Patrice's blog Rural Revolution. It was also in part by this this widespread article in the WSJ titled Where Have The Good Men Gone?  and an interesting recent post (warning foul language and sexual content) by American Mercenary. Of course the my thoughts and writings are solely my own so please do not harrass Patrice or AM for me being an offensive jerk.

To start out I am in agreement with many of the basic tenants of feminism. Women should be able to pursue all manner of educational opportunities, work outside of the home, start and run businesses, not have to deal with abusive spouses or butt slapping bosses and all that stuff. Though not really an issue in the western world they should obviously be able to own and inherant property, sign contracts, vote if applicable in their country, be protected from violence in the home, have freedom to marry who they choose and divorce husbands they no longer want to be married to, have custody of children, get access to basic medical care, etc all.

The real issue starts with a lack of understanding the inherant trade offs involved in these choices. In my personal observation feminism has a serious case of "have your cake and eat it too" syndrome. It is true that women can rise to the top of the business world, date and have sex like men, have fulfilling relationships and raise children but they probably can't do all of those things and certainly can't do them all at once. 

What I see is women who were told they can do everything. Invariably they often have to choose someplace to be mediocre. If they want to get to excell professionally then educational demands and working 60+ hours a week for years make establishing a meaningful relationship, let alone raising a family very difficult. On the other hand they can put their energy and time into home and family but if they are missing work all the time for this that and the other thing promotions are not going to come very readily. Certainly they will hit a "glass ceiling" which is another way of saying that the individuals who put in the time and have the capability get the promotions. Or they can spread their time and energy around and do fairly OK at everything.

[I have a female relative who was very successful in the business world. She did it with the same model that very successul men use. She went to college and started working in a large publicly traded company. She worked very hard and did some graduate work at a prestigious university then ultimately rose as high as one could in that company without being family. During this time she basically didn't have a life outside of work. She did not marry until her 40's and never had children. Only recently after a heart attack has she slowed down with work.]

In fairness the same is true of men. We can't work 60 hours a week, run a scout troop, coach a volleyball team, regularly practice a hobby, do fulfilling things with friends and be a great spouse. There just are not enough hours in the day.

Additionally feminists seem to want to be able to pick and choose where they are going to be treated equally and where they should recieve special treatment. The issue of women picking and choosing where to be equals is well stated in this passage from  Why Are Men So Angry? by Kay Hymowitz. "Women may want equality at the conference table and treadmill. But when it comes to sex and dating, they aren’t so sure. The might hook up as freely as a Duke athlete. Or, they might want men to play Greatest Generation gentleman. Yes, they want men to pay for dinner, call for dates—a writer at the popular dating website The Frisky titled a recent piece “Call me and ask me out for a damn date!”—and open doors for them. A lot of men wonder: “WTF??!” Why should they do the asking? Why should they pay for dinner?After all, they are equals and in any case, the woman a guy is asking out probably has more cash in her pocket than he does; recent female graduates are making more than males in most large cities.

Sure, girls can—and do—ask guys out for dinner and pick up the check without missing a beat. Women can make that choice. Men say they have no choice. If they want a life, they have to ask women out on dates; they have to initiate conversations at bars and parties, they have to take the lead on sex. Women can take a Chinese menu approach to gender roles. They can be all “Let me pay for the movie tickets” on Friday nights, and “A single rose? That’s it?” on Valentine’s Day."

A lack of expectations being in line with reality seems to be a consistent issue. Again they can have just about whatevery they want but good luck finding EVERYTHING they want. A guy who can be John Wayne when a goblin jumps out of a dark alley is probably not going to turn into Woody Allen and talk about feelings all night long. Guys who are relatively successful tend to work much longer hours than starving artists. Conversely starving artists don't make a lot of money. There are definitely some choices and trade offs to be made.

Gals also seem to want to be able to do whatever they want but have guys willing to romance and marry them whenever they are so inclined. They have changed in behaviors over the last couple decades and so have we. Coming back to an earlier theme they can't pick and choose our characteristics any more than we can theirs. The guy who is happy living alone, has a fulfilling life and dates or hooks up with women having no real intention to commit to or marry them is a cultural countemporary to the gals we were talking about earlier.

As to all the complaining about my gender. Instead of "growing up" at a given age for men it seems to be more conditions based. It is my observation that many if not most men seem to rise or fall to the expectations they are put under. Single men, men in relationships, married men and married men with kids all have vastly different social/ cultural expectations. In other words single guys will act like well, single guys and they will continue to do so until they decide to settle down if that is at 20 or 35. Now we are seeing men staying single longer so you get the super bachelor pads, crazy party trips, etc that a 20 year old college student can't pull off.

When it comes to choosing folks to date we all have to figure out what (both positives and negatives) is really important to us. Finding a person who has most of the good qualities you are looking for and none of the negatives that drive you nuts is the name of the game.

I think many of the liberal authors who write this garbage might just live in a whussified urban psuedo yuppy world that is totally disconnected with reality. There are plenty of men out there, they just might not frequent art galleries or wine tastings. Real men are out doing something productive or getting together for a couple beers after work.

Instead of whining gal's should look at their expectations and the pool they are fishing in.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Manslator

Maybe a bit steriotype ridden but funny all the same.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Marital Decision Making

I am writing about this because it is, aside from money which I have talked about in the past (recap, prioritize and take a long view), the biggest roadblock I see people having in preparedness. I see folks whose preparedness efforts are stalled or seriously slowed, sometimes resorting to hiding spending or prep stuff from their spouse (not a good idea for numerous reasons).  I see marriages (I am going to use the term marriage but if you have a long term partnership that is similar it applies also) strained with bitter survivalists and their frustrated spouses. Different folks make decisions differently and it is very results based. If what you are doing works then by all means keep it up and feel free to discuss it in the comments section. If what you are doing doesn’t work then please read on with an open mind. Hopefully I can help, if just in some modest way.

Here are 3 basic concepts
It really helps to have a spouse with whom you share a similar long term vision. The way to do this is to really get to know someone and make you’re your big long term goals are aligned or at least compatible before committing to a lifetime with them. Somewhere between happily dating for the long term and seriously considering getting married Wifey and I had a series of conversations on what we want our life to be like, how we want to raise children, where we want to live, etc. We both had a few things that were really important to us and if I recall correctly we each had one or two things that were deal makers. We didn’t fight about it and weren’t mean or anything but both of us had a couple things that were serious enough for us to potentially reject the other as a spouse. We did some talking and thinking and figured out what we could compromise on and that we could both accept the others non negotiable issues.

It is sweet and cute to say that love will make it all work out but real life doesn’t usually work that way. If you want to live in rural Montana don’t marry somebody whose dream is a condo in LA or an apartment in NYC  as somebody is going to lose to some degree. (For those who choose a partner then have a significant change of heart on something that puts them at odds with their spouse over long term vision I don’t really know what to tell you. Maybe some ideas here will help.) If you want kids and your spouse doesn’t that is an issue. If you are dead set on raising the kids in a protestant church but you are dating an equally devout something else that is an issue.

Next is fairness. No unilateral decisions on major topics. To me major topics would be things that affect your everyday life or reach a monetary point where they are significant relative to your situation. I look at it sort of like a 2 person council where both people have a veto. If Wifey decided we should sell everything we own, donate it to some cult and go live in their compound in French Guyana that wouldn’t work. Why should I get to decide we should liquidate and move to a little ranch 200 miles from anything in Wyoming?  Along the lines of fairness money which is left after the basics of everyday life like shelter, food, utilities, etc should be spent on things you both want to do and or divided pretty equally. Not always exactly the same parse but it should be pretty even over the long run. Yeah that is a harsh pill to swallow but it is fair and right. (Sometimes the survivalist wants to consider everything they want for preps as essential expenses and thus outside of this sort of give and take. Unless the spouse is on board that just isn’t going to work. For us it is figured out on a case by case basis. Some purchases come from our money and others come from mine.)

The last is respect. Sometimes I hear, though it is fair to observe that I am just getting one side of the story, about someone openly dismissing or mocking the concerns or desires of their mate and making decisions by decree. A wife or husband who says that you can’t buy a couple extra cans of soup or a bag of rice at the store because they think it is not necessary. There is no way that I would ever put up with someone treating me like that and neither would my wife. We are both pretty strong personalities so that is not an issue in our house.

I look at it like this. My wife is very important to me. That means things which are important to her are by default important to me, even if I do not understand or necessarily agree with them. At times we have spent considerable time, energy and money on stuff I would not do otherwise, because it is important to her. Lord knows the same is true for her with all the crazy I bring into our house.

Now onto more specific ideas:
-We have had success with floating an idea and letting the other person have time to think about it. Simply mentioning “I have been thinking about…..…” and then waiting a few days or a week or two then talking about it again. This lets the other person think about something, figure out how it relates or affects other things and maybe do some research. This lets them be in the right frame of mind and prepared for a future conversation.

-Don’t set yourself up for conflict. If at all possible avoid this or that situations in favor of more open ended ideas and then deal with the finer details. Instead of we have to do/buy/etc this plan/thing/lifestyle talk about the broad concept you are interested in. Even if you have something specific in mind leave wiggle room to come to an agreement. Also don’t push for a decision on anything right away, especially the first time it is being discussed. Think shades of grey not black and white. The worst case is one where it is yes or no right now that is pretty oppositional as you obviously want to do something right now. You are leaving your spouse no room to maneuver and they either have to go along with your crazy scheme or not. They are either with you or against you, more likely against you otherwise you wouldn’t be having the conversation. Frame the situation in your favor by giving both sides room to maneuver and come to an agreement when it naturally occurs. Better to get most or some of what you want in a week or two than none right now.

We have had luck with one person telling the other about a broad concept they would like to pursue and after they have some time to think about it comparing ideas on how to get there. Example, awhile back we needed furniture, pretty much a whole house worth. Instead of necessarily discussing every piece Wifey wanted to have a furniture allowance so to speak. My wife mentioned this and that we were only going to be able to find so much stuff sitting by dumpsters so we would need to spend some money. After I thought about it a bit the idea seemed sound and I proposed a dollar amount. I think we had the same idea but her letting me come up with a starting point for the discussion/ negotiations was a good way to go. It means that you have an agreement, if not a perfect one, right from the beginning. We have done the same type of thing in numerous other situations.

-Don’t make your spouse be the bad guy. Bring ideas to your spouse that are affordable, logistically feasible, fair (remember, every free dollar is not yours to spend on preps or whatever you want) and pass the common sense test. My wife spiked down my dream (thanks to the Matthew Bracken books) of retiring onto a sail boat like Gabriella Reece in her prime and I have buzz killed Wifey’s ideas to get all sorts of animals that were for sale on Craigs list; having a horse/ alpaca/ pony when you live in an apartment would not work well. However these are extreme cases and it rarely happens. Spending every dollar you have in savings on a sweet rifle is a stupid idea and you don’t need the spouse to tell you that. Not surprisingly, most folks don’t want to move to a shack out in the woods and rather like indoor plumbing. While I am in general on the side of the paranoid survivalist in the relationship I can see that sometimes their expectations or ideas are not very realistic.

-Lastly I have observed that a good way to get the spouse (within reason) to go along with what you want to do is to go along with what they want to do. Or more accurately the opposite is true. I’ve seen folks get into a tit for tat cycle with this and it just makes everybody unhappy. If Wifey wants to do something I am about always agreeable. [With the small to medium stuff if it is important to her we make it happen though the exact dollar amount or timetable may need to be adjusted. For the big stuff we tend to share a common vision of where we are going so it generally falls into place pretty well.] Conversely we act on a significant amount of my ideas. Considering I am a paranoid and have all sorts of crazy ideas that is pretty darn good. The end state is that, within economic and logistical reason we both get most of what we want.

These ideas and concepts have worked pretty well for us. We don’t really have conflict or tension about this kind of stuff and I am able to action a lot of goals and ideas which other folks have difficulty with. Hopefully this will at least give you some ideas.

How have your experiences been when it comes to marital decision making and survivalism/ preparedness?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Quote of the day

“How about I stay out of your whoring and you stay out of my thieving”
-CPT Reynolds to Leonara

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Modern marriage, family, life and poverty

Occasionally I go out on a limb from my usual topics and today is going to be one of those days. It has been building in my head for awhile and I want to talk about marriage. I am going to try to do this in the most reasonable way possible without excessive criticism (a little funning is fair game) of anybodies position. So whatever your stance or lifestyle choices are please do not read into my words and get all offended. More likely than not what you read into this will have far more to do with you (and your feelings about your life) than it has to do with me.

I am going to start out by saying that marriage is a weird thing. It is weird because more so than government or money or anything like that it is an idea. What makes it so weird is that unlike government (which is what it is) or money it means very different things to different people. Unlike say a hundred dollar bill which, though of course it is relatively more valuable to an unemployed laborer than Bill Gates, we pretty much agree as the same value, the value peoples values of marriage vary widely. These views are affected by race/ ethnicity, culture, location, socioeconomic status and of course religion. Even the environment you grew up in can make a person who grew up 1 block away from another otherwise similar (on paper) person have vastly different viewpoints.

Some folks take marriage very seriously and others use it as something to get their 15 minutes of fame on who wants to marry a reasonably attractive nobody/ doctor/ midget stripper/ has been E list celebrity. Some people give it serious consideration and reject potential candidates who are close to, but not quite desirable and others seemingly put more energy into their choice of cars or haircuts. The bottom line is that a given marriage is worth precisely as much as the two people in it think it is worth.

Of far more significance (since say post WWII) a couple of big things have happened that really shook marriage. First the requisite education levels (I say education not schooling intentionally) required to support oneself, let alone a family have gone up drastically. An average 18 or 20 year old can’t support a spouse and a kid on the skill sets they have been able to acquire. This is quite a recent change as not so long ago getting married in their mid to late teens was quite common. This leads to even more prolonging of the awkward period called adolescence where our economic system incentivizes (and our social system reinforces) postponing coupling and the raising of children until which time you can acquire the skills to support them. This period just keeps getting longer as an internship/ apprenticeship, putting in substantial sweat equity starting at the bottom and learning or higher education is mandatory for having any shot at a decent economic future. I would wager this has in part lead to a corresponding increase in the average age people get married at.
Also since women have relatively recently entered the workforce their need to get married for economic survival has plummeted and with it the stigma of not getting married very early.

Folks are often socially active and dating for years before getting married these days. This means that lots of people are sexually active before getting married. (I see no point in getting bogged down on this though we will revisit it as it pertains to children and economics later).

Also women are now capable of physically having children far later and far more routinely than in the past. This is leading to some career women in their 30’s postponing marriage. That old biological clock has been slowed down.

I have personally found that men in their mid to late 20’s are in no hurry to get married even if they are in a stable relationship with a woman they plan to be with (and might even cohabitate with). Part of this could be that they are trying to get economically established and are not in a hurry to have kids. Maybe they want some time to pursue other goals. I currently have a theory that a lot of the reason these men are in no hurry is that they are not getting a wife in the most traditional stay at home sense. Since folks are getting married later girlfriends have jobs, etc which they typically do not, for numerous reasons, plan to leave any time soon. Since these women typically make less money than men going halfsies with no immediate plans for children might not look that appealing. Conversely for a lot of women then economics plus stability and womanly social pressures incentivize pushing marriage. However, Wifey points out that the social pressures and situations in larger urban areas are very different. She says in big cities often it is women who are holding off on getting hitched. I don’t know about that (she knows lots of these things) because I try not to talk to people from big cities.

Now we get to children and economics. The heritage foundation did a study on child poverty. Basically it says that if both parents have graduated high school and are married the odds a child will grow up in poverty are about nil. My initial thought was “turns out that if you graduate highschool, get married and then have children your odds of poverty are almost nonexistent. Go $&%(#ing figure”.

I took the time to read the study and it was interesting. They noted that most single mothers are not teenagers but in their mid to early 20’s and that typically they are in a relationship with the father. They do not “plan” to have a child but do stop using birth control which is essentially a plan to have a child as they are having sex. A friend of mine said “No girl over 20 gets pregnant by accident” and while I am sure once in a blue moon it does happen more likely it is intentional. Often the mother and the father are even living together.
The one thing that bothers me is that the way they get these statistics is IMO seriously misleading and designed to product shocking gotcha statistics. They only count the fathers income if he is married to the mother. Two parents living together raising a child will not have both of their incomes counted by this method of tabulation unless they are legally married, even if they are stable, the father contributes significantly to the household and has for years. Since the women in this group tend to have few marketable skills they don’t make a ton of money. The shocking statistics which come from this article are IMO seriously flawed and arguably intentionally misleading. They do note (I am sure accurately) that these relationships often break up and whatever informal support the father was giving may taper off. Despite my issue with the statistics this article is interesting, brings a lot of ideas and is well worth the read.

To me saying marriage is the magical solution to all of the problems of child poverty is seriously flawed. Why would we think the same couple in the same situation would act any differently if one Tuesday they got off work early and went to the courthouse to get married? Folks who barely know each other, jump into a relationship and then have a child, quite possibly without the father being on board beforehand, having given little consideration for how it will affect their future and if they really plan to be together forever are almost doomed from the start.

What we need to stabilize childrens lives is GOOD MARRIAGES and good stable long term relationships that act like good marriages. Parents, who sew some wild oats, party hard, hike the Appalachian train, try to make it on Broadway or whatever they need to do, then get their stuff together in terms of a career path, get to know each other, decide they plan to stay together forever AND THEN HAVE CHILDREN. What shocking, revolutionary ideas! When folks do these things out of order the results are almost always less than optimal. Sort of like baking a cake you have to do these things in the right order under the right conditions or the result is a big mess.

Values and good decision making are the answers. How to cultivate these is something I am far less than certain about. I think on an individual level it comes from parents and families. On a larger scale getting rid of disincentives (often women will qualify for welfare but not if the fathers income is counted) is a good start though that only works in certain socioeconomic groups.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Quote of the Day

This makes me want to drive around in an ’86 Camarro with a girl from reform school”
Me on hearing “Paradise City”
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