Listening to Katrina: Have your Stuff together

I just stumbled across a blog entitled Listening to Katrina.  It has a great set of instructions on getting your life’s documents in order for Bug-Out purposes.  Check it out.

Personally, I refer to my document collection as my “Death Binder”.  The idea behind it from my perspective is that if something happens to me, the binder exposes to my family where all the bodies are – financial accounts, passwords, codes, combinations, guns, insurance, utilities, et cetera.  Additionally, I scan everything: bills, checks, insurance policies, important documents, unimportant documents.  I, however, need to do a better job in keeping it current, as well as keeping redundant copies around.  The workbook and project list on the above referenced blog have provided renewed motivation to get ‘er done.

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Friday’s Shooty Goodness

I took the day off on Friday to meet with some friends whom I don’t get to see nearly enough due to insufficient proximity.  Our meeting place was one where we could shoot the large number of guns between us.  A tiny sampling:

We had a bunch of good firsts amongst us:  for many, first time shooting muzzleloaders, and first time shooting an IDPA qualifier course; for all, first time shooting suppressed, the .458 SOCOM and (I think) the 7mm Magnum.  We had a bunch of good thumpers there, I’m still sore in the shoulder.

Running the .458 SOCOM was excellent.  I’m pretty sure I squealed and giggled like a little girl the first time it went off.  After some false starts (Aimpoints have a particular orientation!), we got it sighted in at 50 yards.  I’m very happy with the purchase, and now need to get my reloading gear setup so I can start churning out ammo – that stuff is expensive!

The suppressor my friend brought was also excellent.  After the first shot, I think we were all convinced to add one to the stable.  With subsonic ammo, it was hearing safe – you heard the action cycle, and the bullet hit the berm.  Not much else.

As far as I’m concerned, good times were had by all – I’m looking forward to doing it again.

Posted in Range Report | 1 Comment

Size Matters

Oleg Volk’s work, of course.

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Friday AR15 Porn!

Just because it’s Friday:

Left to Right:

– Bushmaster lower, RRA .458 SOCOM upper, Aimpoint CompML2 in LaRue Cantilever mount
– Stag Arms Lower,  Bushmaster Varminter 24″ 5.56 upper, Geissele Match trigger, Leupold 3.5-10×40 VX-III
– SBR registered Stag Arms Lower, RRA 10.5″ 5.56 upper, Daniel Defense Omega 7 rail, EOTech 512
– Stag Arms Lower, DelTon upper, EOTech XPS2-0

Posted in Firearms | 5 Comments

Hello world!

I’m in the process of migrating this blog to some new software.  Please watch your head during the construction.

As you can see, I’ve got the posts moved over, although without comments or category.  I fear comments may be lost, which makes me unhappy.  The feedback to my crazy ramblings is what makes this fun.

I need to adjust the banner pictures, but I’ll get around to that.  The old blog software is still there, but the site will look very ugly until it goes away.  Please look here instead.

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Voting 2010

Laurel has a very good post on voting vs. not voting. In summary:

I just think showing up to vote just to engage in the act of voting is missing the mark, and frankly counterproductive.

It certainly has me thinking. I love the idea of “None of the above”.

I was unhappy to see no third party candidates on my ballot this year. My Senate choices were the uber-liberal Joe Sestak, or the uber-conservative Pat Toomey. Giant Douche and Turd Sandwich, indeed.

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Renewed!

Just letting everyone know I’m not going anywhere… I just renewed my domain name until 2020!

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Scientia potentia est

If you’re not fluent in Ancient Roman, today we’d say “Knowledge is power”.

As a survivalist preparing for the post-apocalypse, it behooves us to learn as many useful skills as possible. Despite my general billing as a “Jack of All Trades (Master of None)”, no one individual can specialize in everything, which is where the survival “group” comes in. Beyond that, or in the absence thereof, reference material becomes a vital resource. Having the right bit of information can mean the difference between muddling through and failing catastrophically.

Knowledge vs. Information vs. Data

Let’s begin with a few definitions. I started to define these myself, then turned to the vast resources of the internet, where I found this article entitled Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom. Go ahead, take a moment to digest that.

Done? Great! I found it very interesting… Occupational hazard, I guess. Let me summarize for those of you who just come here for the thin survival content and naked girls with guns (hello, search engines!):

– Data is raw, unstructured facts with no context, meaning, or intent.
– Information is structured data.
– Knowledge is the application of information, which allows us to take action or make decisions.
– Wisdom is the ability to extrapolate events based on knowledge and experience.

The Internet
Clearly one of the best sources of both data and information is this wonderful internet. There is a myriad of readily accessible “stuff” on any topic, available for the taking, much of which was not available to the public just a decade prior.

Take, for example, Google Maps. Simply by typing in the address, you have immediate access to high quality satellite photography, and in many cases street level photographs. It wasn’t too long ago that you needed to work for a three letter agency to have access to satellite imagery, yet I used it to evaluate properties for purchase. Sites like Terraserver allow you to order poster sized, laminated copies of these images – instant map table for defending your BOL!

Unfortunately, the internet of the post-apocalyptic world will likely be pretty bleak, so we must consider alternatives. The timeless fallback of stains applied to dead trees seems the easiest solution.

The Survival Library
My survival library contains books on a wide array of topics, including
– gardens and orchards
– raising, butchering, and preserving livestock
– cooking and storing food
– navigation and wilderness skills
– construction and vehicle maintenance
– first aid, emergency medicine, and firefighting
– shooting, reloading and tactics.

I’ve got staple texts such as Carla Emery’s Encyclopedia of Country Living. I’ve got military field manuals and books on guerrilla warfare and counter-insurgency. I’ve got survival fiction. I’ve got atlases and maps. I’ve got political treatises and manifestos, and the foundational documents for this great nation. I keep subscriptions to appropriate magazines, and store the back issues after I’ve read them. I’ve tried to cover a broad spectrum of things that interest me, not just today, but also for the future I want to experience.

Now obviously, having a book on emergency medicine does not qualify me to perform abdominal surgery, nor does having a book on firefighting qualify me to rush into the nearest raging inferno. Reading a book on snipercraft does not mean I can make a 1200 yard cold bore shot on an 8″ target. A book on square foot gardening does not guarantee I will feed my entire neighborhood on just 64 square feet of soil. Ability comes with training, experience, practice, success and failure. Further, the time to read has passed once an appendix has burst or the goat is kidding.

These books provide information, and the benefit of someone else’s experience. There is a lot of value in that. I try to read everything cover to cover. Frequently, I end up taking a book off the shelf and just browsing for 10 or 20 minutes, or however much time I have instead.

Here are some recent additions to the library:

Data in Real Time
Lately I feel that I’ve been missing a lot of activity around me, specifically that of public safety and emergency crews. I used to run a scanner almost around the clock, and always had a very good feel for what was going on in my town and county. I could usually anticipate when I would be called upon as an emergency responder, based on chatter on the radio. Eventually I gave that device to someone just entering the emergency services.

I’ve now decided to replace it, with a Uniden Bearcat BCD396XT. This is a small portable scanner, capable of storing many more frequencies than the base station I had just a few years ago, and capable of monitoring most of the traffic in the area (damn OpenSky system!). I selected it over another base station because I think the ability to have the information on the move could be vital in an emergency. I can easily attach it to an external antenna to use as an extended range base station.

Another option is to stream scanner feeds from the internet. Radio Reference hosts many live scanner feeds, for many areas. Downsides are that you can only listen to one feed at a time, and you are limited to what the person hosting that feed is monitoring. But, it provides another option, like listening to police activity near my home when I’m at the office in the next county over.

Summary
Having the correct information to influence your decisions and action is a good thing. Having a well stocked survival library is a big step in that direction for when the lights go out.

Posted in Tutorials | Comments Off on Scientia potentia est

Gun Permit Allows Visitors Quick Access to Texas Capitol

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/07/19/gun-permit-allows-visitors-quick-access-texas-capitol/

Article on Fox News this morning regarding their new express lane entry into the state capitol. Just show your CHL permit and walk right in. This is how it should be!

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Range trip with co-workers

A gentleman in my department at work recently had a late night knock at the door that left him a little rattled. As a result, he decided to acquire a handgun. He made the rounds of the department asking people’s opinions on what to get. This had the effect of shaking several closeted gun owners out into the light. As a result, several of us hit the range after work last week to turn some money into noise.

Of the six of us, one had never fired a gun before; one, only once before; one only had hunting shotguns; two each had a pistol that they shot on occasion (a SIG 228, and a 9mm S&W); and me. I ended up in the role of coach for the new shooters, which worked out quite well. I brought a handful of pistols for people to try. No surprise (to me), the Glock 20 was a big hit. Everyone was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to shoot, and how accurate it is. Personally, I put less than 50 rounds downrange. That was easily made up for by the new guys having a great time.

The unintended consequence here was that I tipped my hand a little too far in regards to just how much I know about firearms. I’ve never hidden the fact that I shoot “recreationally”. However, now I’m getting questions from many people about carry permits, C&R FFLs, self & home defense, opinions on different firearms, what ammo to use, and recommendations for local gun shops. Depending on the tone of the conversation, I usually manage to slip in a little history of gun control, some information on current gun politics, and recommendations for good training.

Every little bit helps the cause!

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