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Sunday, September 24, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast #162 - South Florida Knows How To Hurricane

That's "be prepared for a hurricane" and not "make a rum cocktail."
  • Have you ever attended a Friends of the NRA Banquet? Are you curious about what it’s like? Beth shares her experience so you can decide if it’s something you’d like to do.
  • A man is accused of robbing three Charlotte businesses, but Sean finds out that his conviction record isn't the worst part of the story.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • In any situation you’ll get groups of people who have different skills and levels of preparedness. How prepared was Coral Gables, Florida for the long term loss of electricity? They apparently had their lawyers on speed dial. Miguel tells you what he thinks.
  • Our Main Topic is "Dry Fire Practice: Is It Boring?"
  • Tiffany finishes her three-part segment on the NRA Carry Guard Expo by talking about the good things she encountered within the Expo itself, especially the programs made for “the laaadieeeez.”
  • Back from her Evacu-cation, Erin has some tips and tricks for you to make your evacuation plans easier.
  • Now that the Brady Campaign’s Dan Gross  has been fired, Weer’d bids a farewell to Dan in the best way he knows how.
  • And our Plug of the Week is for the Pocket Pro II shot timer.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript -
 Evacuation Tips and Tricks
This was the second year in a row that I evacuated for a hurricane, and I’d like to think that I’m pretty good at it. So let me share with you some tips and tricks that I’ve learned. 

1) Know the order in which you want to load your stuff
For me, this is pretty simple:
  1. First I load my bug-out bag. Even if I can’t load anything else, that and the Get-Home bag I already have in my car will enable me to be a pretty comfortable refugee for several days. 
  2. The next thing I load are my guns and just enough ammo for them to fit inside their cases. Now, most people are wondering why I don’t load clothes next, and there’s are multiple reasons for that:
    • Clothes are cheap and easily replaced, while guns are expensive and a pain in the butt to replace. Besides, I already have changes of clothes in my bug out and get home bags. 
    • I don’t want my guns to fall into the wrong hands if looters get to my house before I can return. As a gun owner, I feel that I have an ethical duty to make sure my firearms aren’t used by criminals. 
    • In a worst-case scenario, I can trade a gun for something necessary, like food or shelter or transportation, because guns have intrinsic value. Clothes, not so much. 
  3. Then I add whatever gear isn’t in my bug-out bag but which would be useful for an extended absence (like camping supplies) or for sorting through wreckage, (like tools or protective clothing). 
  4. Next up are whatever portable electronic devices I can fit into a backpack, like my tablet computer and podcasting gear, along with recharging cables and docking stations. If I have the time, I’ll remove the hard drive from my desktop and put them into a protective waterproof box, like a Pelican Case.
  5. All of these have been items which are expensive and difficult to replace, going in order form “most useful” to “least useful”. If you’re making a list of your own, this is where you should put valuable luxuries like expensive jewelry, or irreplaceable sentimental items like heirlooms. 
  6. Then, and ONLY then, do I pack extra clothing. This is where your “nice to haves” go - things which would be nice to have with you but can be be replaced easily. 
  7. The last thing to go into my car are snacks and drinks. 
2) Have duplicates of your toiletries
I don’t know about the rest of you, but having a repeatable, reliable bathroom routine goes a long way towards making me feel normal and comfortable.

I recommend against packing up your toiletries as part of the evacuation process, because this will slow you down and you will probably forget things, like your favorite loofah sponge in the shower.

Instead, build an “overnight bag” complete with duplicates of all the things you use when showering, brushing your teeth, etc, and then grab that bag along with others in step one. That’s one less step to worry about and one more thing on your list that’s already packed.

What’s more, you can use this for things other than evacuations. If you’re going on vacation, or need to take a business trip, you can grab your overnight bag instead of having to pack, then un-pack, then re-pack your toiletries for another trip.

3) Have wonderful friends
Both times that I’ve evacuated, I have been blessed to have really great people volunteer their homes for me to stay in.

This hospitality is amazing, because not only does it save me the cost of a hotel room, but it also means I get to meet great people in real life and enjoy their company.

I’ve said this before, and I will say it again: if you’re a prepper, you can’t do it alone. You need people to help you out. Friends, extended family, other preppers in your group - all of these people constitute your Tribe, and you should cultivate those relationships. Go out of your way to help people, and they’ll be more willing to go out of their way to help you when you need it. 

A Quick Update

Looking over the blog, it appears that I haven't posted anything for an entire week. That's terrible.

I have a pretty good explanation, though:
  1. Last weekend, I received word that my part of Florida had the power restored, so I made plans to return home. 
  2. Monday, the person I thought I was going to get to visit on the way home had to beg off on account of sick kids, so that changed my schedule and meant that I was probably leaving too late in the day to make it home in one trip. 
  3. Fortunately, a lovely friend in Columbia, SC offered his guest room to me and I spent the night. So that's why there was no Monday post. 
  4. Damn near the rest of Tuesday was spent driving, and by the time I arrive home I was flat-out brain-fried and only wanted to rest. So, no Tuesday post. 
  5. Wednesday was spent unpacking. No, really. It seems to take me twice as long to unpack as it does to pack, because putting things where they belong (ordering them) takes a lot longer than putting them into suitcases (a mild form of disordering them) -- fighting entropy always takes effort. Plus I had to wash dirty clothes, remove the wrinkles from clean clothes that got mashed in the suitcase, etc. 
  6. Thursday was a headache in the morning and then recording the podcast in the afternoon, so I did actually accomplish something visible that day... you just don't get to see the fruit of that effort until tonight, when the podcast drops. Then my internet went out until morning. 
  7. Friday was just an utter cluster of everything that could go wrong actually going wrong. Most notable was when my keyboard stopped working for no apparent reason, and trying to get it fixed took up most of my time. Then I had to go shopping for a new one, and I didn't find one I liked, so I ended up ordering a new one on Amazon. 
  8. Yesterday was Salem Saturday. 

And the sad irony of the situation is that next week I will have to start packing all over again, because Friday-Sunday is the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Dallas. I'm so freaking tired of travelling, y'all, and I'm going to do it again on Thursday.

Plus I have to finish my speech.

And I've been invited to model for a Concealed Carry Fashion Show at GRPC, which is 50% flattering and 50% terrifying.

So basically... I'm fine, my family is fine, my dogs are fine, my house is fine, but I'm probably going to be an Amazing Stress Bitch this next week, so please don't hold it against me if you don't hear back from me until October 2.

And many thanks for being my readers despite my flakiness. Much love to you all!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

These Raptures Are Getting Tedious

By my count, I have now lived through three major (and countless minor) Raptures:

  1. The Great Rapture of '88, which actually was delayed until 1989, inconveniencing nearly everyone. 
  2. The Silent Rapture of 1994, predicted by Harold Camping, actually did happen despite what many naysayers claim, we just can't remember it. 
  3. And now, today, as I'm trying to go about my daily routine, another Rapture happens.

I got up today - a day like any other day - had my coffee and took my shower. I got dressed and forgot my wallet, so had to turn around and get it. I stopped in at Subway to get a good breakfast. Bacon, egg, and cheese on multigrain flatbread. Megan's a good Sandwich Artist, and always keeps a few eggs in the refrigerator for me, because she knows I'm terrible at waking up early. Unfortunately, when I got there, she'd already been Raptured, so there was nothing but a visor and a pile of clothes draped over the counter and no egg in the refrigerator.

Having to forego breakfast, I decided to pick up some groceries, so my next stop was Target. Target, unlike Wal-Mart, doesn't have door greeters, so I didn't notice anything amiss when I first passed through the automatic doors and walked past the Starbucks near the entrance. I thought the store was surprisingly empty, but it wasn't until I walked up to my usual checkout aisle that I noticed that Cheryl, the pretty older woman who always has a bit of an extra smile for me, was gone. Another frustratingly empty pile of clothes on the floor next to her register.

Unable to obtain groceries, I left the food spoiling in the cart at the registers and decided to go pick up a package from the post office. As you can imagine, this went as well as the rest of my visits - the entire post office had been Raptured. I'm not kidding. Every person in the place, customers included, was gone. In fact, the front windows, all of the packing materials, and an entire wall of PO boxes were gone as well, but whether that was from looting or some new kind of Rapture I'm not qualified to say.

I've now returned home, and I intend to spend the rest of the day fuming in frustration, watching Star Trek on Netflix and playing video games, as I apparently can't get anything done thanks to these annoying Rapt

[note: the preceding is all that exists of this article. The author cannot be located, but this was found in his home]

Sunday, September 17, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast #161 - We Are But Mad North-North-West


Erin's neighborhood was supposed to get its power restored this weekend. Now it's been pushed back until Tuesday next week.

  • Beth says it's always the right time to talk to children about firearms, and the new book "Safety On" by Yehuda Remer can help you with that.
  • A second suspect has been identified in a NW Charlotte homicide, and good news! He's not quite as awful as the suspect they have already charged!
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • To be, or not to be: that is the question. Or perhaps the question is "to stay, or not to stay." And when the hurricane blows southerly, Miguel knows a hawk from a handsaw.
  • Our Main Topic is the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showing that more Americans than ever have a gun in their homes.
  • Tiffany covers a few of the Every Day Carry travel considerations that aren't usually discussed in the average concealed carry permit class.
  • Erin left the hurricane behind. But she has preps in place, so why evacuate? She shares her thoughts on avoiding troubles as a valid prepping strategy.
  • The Joyce Foundation Shell Group, States United, has cooked up a “Video Game” to oppose concealed carry Reciprocity, and gets the reaction from alleged Real People™. Weer'd has the audio.
  • And our Plug of the Week is for the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program.

Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!

Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.


Blue Collar Prepping Transcript -

Why Evacuate When You Have Preps?
As I write this, I’m comfortably ensconced at Castello Sorrentino, enjoying the delightfully cool North Carolina weather. The reason I’m able to  enjoy it so much is because Hurricane Irma largely missed my part  of Florida, contenting herself with knocking down trees and power lines. This means I no longer have to worry about the safety of my family or the integrity of our house, and my evacuation has become a vacation. 

Despite all this, though. I’m still having trouble shaking the feeling that I am now 2 for 2 at being a gigantic pussy when it comes to hurricanes. After all, what kind of prepper am I if I chose not to reply upon those preps, but instead to run away at the first opportunity?

Friend of the show Josh made a great point last week when he posted this to the BCP Facebook group:
It occurs to me that training with a firearm and preparing for disasters are very similar.
In both cases you are gathering the tools and knowledge to handle a situation if it gets bad. In both cases your education tells you to leave the area as soon as it seems likely things actually will go bad.
And I believe this with 100% conviction. Just like concealed carriers 
believe "You win every gunfight you avoid", we preppers believe that we survive every disaster we aren’t present for. Sure, you might be able to out-draw or out-shoot a bad guy, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get through the experience unscathed. You might get hurt anyway, or be arrested and tried for murder by an overzealous prosecutor, or be harassed by the media and hated by your community. 

Similarly, if you rely on your preps to get you through a disaster you could have avoided, at the very least you’ve consumed those preps and need to replace them. Progressing up the scale of awful, take a moment to realize that “surviving a disaster” and “surviving a disaster unscathed” are two completely different things. If you’re crippled, but you lived, then technically you’ve survived…

Now I understand that there are some situations where people cannot evacuate. Perhaps you have a family member who cannot be moved, and evacuating without them would be the same as abandoning them. Perhaps you don’t have a car or the funds required to get out. Perhaps you have a job as an emergency responder, and it’s your duty to help those who didn’t leave. In all of these cases, I understand why you didn’t go, and I don’t fault you for your choice. 

But what gets me are the people who have the ability to leave but choose not to evacuate -- like my parents, who say “We evacuated once back in 2003. We were stuck in traffic, and the dogs were hot, and we couldn’t find a hotel that would take us and our pets. We’re just going to stay behind.”  To me, this is like saying “We’d rather risk death than be inconvenienced by an evacuation.” I don’t get this. I just DON’T. It’s like hearing the anti-vaccine folks talk and realize that they’re saying “Having a dead child is preferable to having one with autism.”

So I just leave at the first sign of impending doom, because the best prep is not gear, not training, but the ability to get yourself out of dangerous situations - and the best way to get out of dangerous situations is not to get into them in the first place. 

This is why I’m up here in North Carolina, enjoying lovely weather and power and internet, while my family are sweltering in summer Florida heat without air conditioning. 

Yup. They really saved themselves some inconvenience, didn’t they?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Salem Watches Television: An Unexpected Discovery

Wooo that was a misleading title, wasn't it?

I love Star Trek. Not to the extent of my big three, which are Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, and Mystery Science Theater 3000, but in the eternal debate of Star Wars vs Star Trek, I'll always pick Trek. I remember seeing some of the movies when I was visiting my dad's family in Boston as a wee one, catching reruns in the afternoon, and staying up late to watch The Next Generation and Deep Space 9.

I still haven't (and most likely never will) finish watching Voyager. I keep meaning to watch the last two seasons of Enterprise, but can never find the time for it. I suppose this is for the best; those series will never reach the brilliance of story-telling that DS9 did, so I'll let them go.

I even enjoy the relaunch movies to an extent. Into Darkness was still visually pleasing despite being inferior to its inspiration, and it's a shame that nobody saw Beyond, because it was a lot of fun

What am I getting at with this nostalgic reminiscence? Well, Star Trek: Discovery will be coming out soon... I think. I say "I think" because I actually have no intention of watching it -  not from some misguided boycott or sense of betrayal or anything like that, but just out of a lack of interest. I've kept up with behind-the-scenes scuttlebutt on the series, and given the re-writing, re-casting, and overall mess that's been going on around it, I just don't see a reason to get invested.

I've seen public statements that have been comparing the Klingons in ST:D (and who thought that abbreviation was a good idea?) to both Muslims and "Trump's America", and which celebrated the gender and racial diversity of the main cast, but there has been absolutely no confidence shown whatsoever in the actual writing of the show.



ST:D (I'm not going to stop calling it that) just does not look interesting at all. Something which has caught my eye - though in a very surprising way - is The Orville.
That's... a nice ride.
I hate Family Guy. I viscerally hate it. I don't think I've ever enjoyed something that's had the creative hand of Seth MacFarlane on it; there's just something about his humour that doesn't click with me. So when I heard he was making something of a comedic tribute to Star Trek, I decided I was going to just stick to ST:D and be done with it.

Except for two things:
  1. ST:D is going to be on CBS All-Access, and I can't really think of anything else on CBS I want to watch, so I don't really want to pay for a subscription service for one show. I have a feeling this is going to be a fairly common sentiment as well, so a large portion of ST:D's audience is going to be torrenters, downloaders, and pirates. 
  2. The Orville is... actually pretty good. 
That last one was a shocker to me. I wasn't going to watch The Orville, but given how many people on my timeline were singing its praises, I gave it a shot. The effects aren't bad (a plus, given how it will save on budget with its minimalist style and slightly cheap CGI); the writing isn't over-the-top inexplicable Family Guy humour; the acting is serviceable; and most importantly, it's got heart.

While I feel that ST:D is going to be a lot of super-serious people pulling super-serious faces while bashing us over the head with a Trump-hammer painted in a vaguely Klingon-esque manner, The Orville promises a light-hearted space adventure somewhere between TNG and Galaxy Quest. And really, I think that's what I want right now. I think that's what a lot of people want right now, if the ratings are any indication. 
"Are they right? Am I out of touch? No... it's the viewers."
Here's to you, Seth. While Trek may be lost to heavy-handed message fiction, you've earned a chance. Don't waste it. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

An Even Five

I am convinced that the number 5 is even.

Not mathematically even, mind you, but conceptually even because humans have 5 fingers per hand , thus a "whole hand" is an even value.

If you want proof, think of it like this:
  • The number 4 is indisputably even. 
  • So is the number 6. 
  • But 7 is indisputably odd. 
  • So if you are given the sequence 4, 5, 6, 7 and told to eliminate the number which doesn't belong (or doesn't "feel right"), which one do you cross out?

You could pick "5, 6, 7" and not be wrong (because there's no wrong answer to this), but I'd wager that most people will pick "4, 5, 6" . This is because 5 both "feels" even and is right in the middle where it "ought" to be (because 5 is half -- right in the middle -- of Base 10). "4, 5, 6" just feels like a string of three even numbers that other sequences don't give.

Five is the "even" number that belongs in the middle. (Or at the end, which is why we love counting in units of five. Again, Half of Base 10.)

Post-Irma Erin

An update on how my family and I are doing can be found over at Blue Collar Prepping.

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