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Sunday, November 19, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast Radio #170 - Weer'd Underpants


Erin wanted to call this the "Zombie Miguel Episode" but figured that would just confuse people.
  • Beth feels that  RSO's (Range Safety Officers) are basically the black belts of the gun world. She and her husband explain why.
  • Homeless guy beats another man to death in a trailer. Sean looks at his permanent record.
  • Barron is on assignment.
  • Miguel is not so much on assignment as "wandering about Southern Florida, looking for his brain." His words, not ours.
  • In this week's Main Topic, Sean and Erin discuss the dumbest GQ article ever: "Inside the Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns".
  • Pro-gun votes are good, but integrity is better. Tiffany weighs in with her opinion on the matter of Roy Moore.
  • Erin finally noticed that in 169 episodes, she's never once talked about sharpening your knives. 
  • Anti-Gun Researcher Tom Gabor speaks out against Stand Your Ground and whatever else comes to mind. Weer'd brings the facts.
  • And our Plug of the Week is the "Captain Underpants" series of books. Weer'd's daughter LaWeer'da tells us more.
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:
Keep Your Knife Sharp
I have been doing this segment for three years and I only just now realized that while I’ve talked a lot about knives, I haven’t talked about sharpening them. This is an oversight I intend to correct immediately. 

A sharp knife is essential for safe knife use. Not only does a sharp edge cut more efficiently, but it prevents operator injury; a sharp blade produces a smooth cut, while a dull blade can twist in your hand while cutting or come to an unexpected stop.  

However, sharpening a knife is more art than science. It’s very, very easy to do it wrong and damage your knife and maybe even yourself in the process. Fortunately for us, there are some handy and affordable sharpeners out there which are pretty much idiot-proof. 

My current favorite is the Lansky Quadsharp. Like the name suggest, it has four sharpening angles for different applications:
  • a 17 degree angle, which gives an incredibly sharp edge suitable for filleting and fine slicing, but which is also easily dulled or damaged through hard work;
  • A 20 degree angle, which is less of a razor but is better suited for repetitive or difficult work, such as skinning or kitchen tasks;
  • A 25 degree angle, which is far more robust and is a good all-around edge for outdoor knives;
  • And a 30 degree angle, which is for heavy-duty cutting and chopping blades, like axes, hatches and machetes. 
The use is very simple: Select an angle; put the blade in the slot, and gently -- DO NOT PRESS DOWN -- pull the blade through the carbide cutters. 
There’s no set number of times you should do this; just keep going until it's as sharp as you like or it isn't getting sharper. You can usually hear the sound of the knife change, and the pull will feel different, when the majority of the work is done.

Sometimes a pull-through sharpener will build up a burr line on one side of the blade. This is not unusual; variations in stroke or carbide surface can do that, and I fix this by alternating the direction of sharpening strokes. Just turn the knife around so that you’re pulling away from yourself rather than toward yourself, and a few strokes ought to clean that burr right up. 

However, there are times when you can’t use a pull-through sharpener. Maybe it’s an axe and the blade won’t fit, or maybe there’s a ding or other damage to the edge that needs to be repaired before it can be sharpened. When that happens, you need more aggressive tools. My go-to tool in situations like this is a two-grit puck sharpener. This is less easy than the pull-through sharpeners, so you’ll want to watch the video linked in the show notes, but it’s pretty forgiving for beginners. 

A sharpening puck will put an edge on practically anything; I use it to sharpen my mother’s hedge trimmers, but it will put a working edge -- i.e. not terribly sharp, but sharp enough -- on practically anything. This is fine for tools which do most of their cutting with weight and impact, like an axe; if you want a finer edge, you’ll need go to something different. 

Diamond sharpeners are great for sharpening troublesome knives, but you need to be careful with them. Not only do they require more skill because you are essentially eyeballing the angle and freehanding the sharpener, but they also have a tendency to scratch the heck out of the knife. If you have a knife with an attractive finish or patina along the surface, be advised that diamond work will leave track marks! However, with some practice you’ll soon discover you can quickly fix most knife problems and sharpen them in the field, so don’t be afraid to practice on a cheap knife!

When you become comfortable with estimating angles by eye and sharpening without a guide, you should consider carrying sharpening tools with you as part of your every day carry. After all, if you carry a knife as part of your EDC, you should carry a means to sharpen that knife as well. I carry the EZE-Lap Pen Style Diamond Sharpener and the Speedy Sharp carbide tool. Both of them are small enough to be carried in a pocket, and between the two of them you ought to be able to repair, sharpen and hone any blade. 

Speaking of honing, did you know that you can touch up any blade using just a coffee cup? It’s true. Take a ceramic coffee cup, turn it upside-down, and hone the blade on the unglazed portion of the cup using small, circular strokes. There’s a link in the show notes with plenty of illustrations on how to do this. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

WNW: SNL Grows a Backbone

For the first time in what, this century? SNL has decided to take a swing at the Democrats.

When Donna Brazile first threw Hillary under the bus, I wondered when she would commit suicide by shooting herself in the back of the head multiple times. Now I wonder if the rest of the country smells weakness in the Clinton political machines and is jumping on that.

Alternately, I wonder when Lorne Michaels will be found dead under mysterious circumstances...


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Day My Dog Bit Me

Today marks 5 weeks to the night that my mother's dog attacked me. 

I've tried to write about this before, but it was painful because I kept crying. In fact, that's one of the reasons I didn't post anything last week: I tried to write about this at the one month mark, but it coincided with my monthly depression, and I felt I needed to take a mental health break from writing in order to clear my head.

I acknowledge that no one is forcing me to talk about. Heck, no one has even asked me what happened, and that's a credit to them. I just feel like I need to get this off my chest. I don't know why I feel this way, but I do. Perhaps it's a kind of closure.

It was Tuesday, Oct 10, 10pm. I know what time it was because mom always turns off the TV and starts her bedtime preparations around 10, but it takes her between 30 and 45 minutes to actually get to bed. During that period, our dog Heath always became restless, and so I would play with him until it was time for him to get his teeth brushed and go to bed.
Yes, we brush our dogs' teeth. It does wonders for their breath and oral health. 
And yes, I would play with him right before bedtime. Dogs have this amazing ability to go from zero to 60, and 60 to zero, in seconds. 
So this night, like every night, Heath came to get me to play with him. He'd always do this cute little awroo-roo sound that wasn't a quite a howl and it was his universal code for "Play with me!" Some nights I'd find it annoying, especially if I was trying to get work done, or if I was tired and wasn't in the mood, but most nights I'd do it even if I didn't want to because I know too well how short a dog's life is and that I'd regret not playing with him while he was alive more than I'd regret the time lost, and that I'd miss playing with him while he was gone.

And now I'm crying again. Shit.

So he came to get me, and we played the usual games. Heath was an unusual dog in that he always needed to be the center of attention, always needed all the toys, hated to share.. but still loved to play. His ideal form of play was for him to get a toy, and for me to act like I wanted it and try to get it, but never actually take it from him. We played for a bit, and when he got a bit too stimulated I stopped with the hijinks and moved to generalized attention like petting, scritches and kind words.

He was sitting behind my chair in the family room, with a plush toy in his mouth. He was always a nice sitter and he looked very cute holding the toy like that, so I did something that both I and my mother have done literally countless times since we first got him back in 2009: I leaned forward to give him a kiss on the nose.

I had no idea that a dog could move that quickly, especially one with a plush toy in its mouth.

I'm actually not sure if I ever kissed him or not. All I'm aware of is moving up to his nose, while saying my usual "What a sweet boy", and the rest is a blur and a flash of pain before I'm holding my shredded lips in my hands and bleeding all over the carpet.

Here's what I have been able to reconstruct, based upon where the wounds were and where I found things later:
  1. He bites me in the upper lip on the center-left side. Although this split my lip in two places, this was a relatively minor wound as it only needed external stitches. This is probably because it was his incisors that caught me. 
  2. My head instinctively jerks up and to the left. This was unfortunate because it presented the dog with my lower right lip, and this was where the damage was most severe, likely due to a combination of one of his canines getting a grip on my cheek and my head continuing to move. 
  3. My head jerks to a stop because I have a 90 pound dog attached to my face. My glasses go flying, although I don't realize this at the time. 
  4. He lets go. 
  5. I realize I am in pain. To be clear, my body registered the pain when he first bit me, but all of this occurred in what felt like less than a second. If you've ever cut yourself, sometimes you see the cut and have enough time to think "Oh shit, this is going to hurt" before the pain hits, and this was similar; I felt the pain before my brain could process any of it. What's strange is that it didn't feel like a bite; it felt hot, like I was being burned. I also want to associate bright light with the event, but that's probably just my brain trying to integrate the blurry motion of the attack with the heat of the pain. 
  6. I realize the dog has bitten me.
  7. I see the blood on the floor. 
  8. I bring my hands up to my mouth and feel strips of bloody flesh hanging from my mouth.
  9. I see the blood pooling in my hands. 
  10. I realize "Oh, shit, this is serious."
This is the moment when time catches up to me and I have full memories and can act. I literally don't know how much time passed, because in my memories it happens all at once, like information coming in parallel. I don't see how it could have taken longer than two seconds, although I suppose it could have. On the other hand, if you told me it took a second or less, I wouldn't be at all surprised. 

I ran to the bathroom where mom was brushing her teeth, saying (shouting?) "I need to go to the Emergency Room!"  

Mom asked "What happened?", so apparently I didn't make a sound while I was getting bitten, which is something I find odd. 

"Heath bit the shit out of me!" I said, coming into the bathroom to look for something to stop the bleeding. "I'm going to need stitches." I noticed how much blood was dripping from my hands onto the bathroom floor and make some strange split-second decisions:
  • I'm bleeding like crazy. 
  • Fortunately, it's not spurting like an arterial wound. 
  • Head wounds always bleed like crazy, so since it's not spurting, I'm not going to bleed to death any time soon. 
  • I probably don't want to use a traditional gauze pad because it'll soak through instantly and I really don't want to put direct pressure on my shredded mouth. 
  • However, I need something to catch all this mess. 
  • I can't get to the blood-stopper gauze in the trauma kit because my hands are busy holding my face in place (at this point, I don't know how extensive the damage is, I just know that it's BAD) and I don't want to talk mom through getting it out because 1) she's terrible at taking directions under pressure and 2) I want her to concentrate on getting me to the ER. 
  • I look over to the hamper and see a clean red washcloth. I very clearly think "Oh good, it's red, that means it won't stain as badly". In retrospect, this is a very odd thing to be concerned about, but at the time I felt like this was a mission-critical piece of information. 
I told mom to hand me the washcloth and then did a sort of juggling act with my hands so that one of them was always holding the strips of flesh as I got the blood-catcher underneath them. 

This is the exact moment when I realized "Oh, shit, I might have pieces of my face missing." I don't know if I said this out loud or not, but I remember asking mom to take a quick look to see if she sees any parts of my face out in the room. I sent her to look because I didn't know if the dog would attack me again or not. I'm embarrassed to admit that it never once crossed my mind to wonder "What if the dog attacks her?" My only defense is that I was in survival mode, and that induced a form of selfishness; had I thought the dog was a danger to her I wouldn't have asked her, but it literally never crossed my mind because I was thinking only of myself at that moment. It's probably a survival instinct and therefore completely understandable, but it still bothers me.

At this point, mom was either getting dressed to drive me to the ER or was waking dad up, I'm not sure. There's a long story here regarding why dad can't just drive me, but the short version is:
  • Mom and dad sleep in separate bedrooms;
  • Dad went to sleep 2 hours prior;
  • Dad has Parkinson's and so doesn't react well to sudden changes, like being woken from a sound sleep;
  • My car isn't driveable due to electrical problems;
  • Dad's car is parked behind mom's;
  • I can't drive his car because I'm holding my face together;
  • Therefore, dad needs to move his care before we can go to the ER. 
I went looking for my shoes, my glasses, and my phone which had my ID in the case. I found two out of the three; the shoes were where I'd left them, but I couldn't find my phone because I didn't know where my glasses were. I eventually found them lying on the ground, ten feet away from where I'd been standing when I was bitten.

By the time I'd found my glasses and given up looking for my ID, dad had staggered out of his bedroom wearing only a pair of sweatpants. (He sleeps nude, so thanks for small favors there.) For whatever reason -- Parkinson's, groggy from sleep, both -- he couldn't figure out how to unlock the front door. Our front door has a deadbolt, you see, but the deadbolt is key-operated because for some dumb reason, there’s a window right next to the door. Since a burglar could easily smash that window and then open the lock, we keep the key out of arm’s reach.

Dad either couldn't figure out the lock, or was moving too slowly to make me happy -- I was scared and in pain and bleeding all over the place, and a grown-ass man couldn't open a lock in a timely manner, so I feel somewhat justified in that attitude -- so I took the key from him to unlock the door my own damn self.

Unfortunately, I had rather a lot of adrenaline in my body at the time, and "putting a key into a lock" requires more fine motor control than you'd think. I remember, quite vividly, missing the key hole and hitting the plate around it several times. I don't know how many times this happened; for all I know, it could have been only 2-3 times, but it felt like a dozen or more.

Again, this is where my brain gets weird, because I actually seriously considered breaking the window in order to facilitate getting the door open. I don't know why I thought this, because it's not like it would be easier to open on the other side; I think I was just scared and frustrated and willing to destroy anything which thwarted me. (It's probably a good thing I didn't have a crowbar nearby.)

In hindsight, what I should have done was have my father go out through the garage. That's where mom keeps her car, so we were going to open it anyway. But I wasn't thinking about that at all; I had tunnel vision and could only think of one way of getting outside.

I did eventually get the key in the lock by taking a deep breath and forcing myself to calm down before I finally got it inserted and the door opened. I turned around to do... something, I'm not sure what... and Heath was coming up to me to investigate the commotion. He wasn't aggressive any more, he just seemed curious about the noise and the door opening and all the humans scurrying around. This was weird, and is part of the reason I think that him biting me was some kind of psychotic break, because 1) while I know dogs don't have much in the way of long-term memory, this was recent enough that it shouldn't have passed out of short term memory and 2) in my 40+ years of owning dogs, every single time of them has accidentally hurt us, it either runs away to hide or acts submissive. Either way, the dog knows it has messed up. But he wasn't acting like he even knew what had happened.

Meanwhile, I was having none of it. "Get away from me! You're not my dog anymore!" I shouted, and he ran off. Then I heard a sound behind me and saw my father lying on the ground just outside the front door. He has fallen and broken his hip once before, and I figured because it was a fall onto concrete and because it would be just my luck, that he'd broken his hip again. I believe my exact words were "Fuck this, I’m calling an ambulance." as I stomped my way to the house phone. The only reason I didn't make the call is because I heard my mother coming around from the garage and helping him up; apparently she'd gotten the garage door open and her car started, and wanted to see what was causing the delay.

Incredibly, dad didn’t break anything when he fell, so he managed to get to his car and back it up. I made one final pass to look for my phone, and then I went out and got into mom's car.

All told, the entire thing probably took about five minutes, but it felt like it took about 30. The entire thing with dad probably would have been rather funny in a "Benny Hill total clusterfuck" kind of way if I hadn't been bleeding and scared at the time. 

This post is already pushing 2500 words and I haven't even gotten to the hospital yet, so let's save that part for my next post. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast Radio #169 - The Personification of the Firearm

“The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.” ― Col. Jeff Cooper, Art of the Rifle
  • Beth detests the phrase “gun violence”. She’s talked about that before, so if she brings it up again, it must mean it's important! She has more examples and details.
  • A cop walks into a gas station just in time to interrupt an armed robbery. Sean tells us how this story ends.
  • Barron is on assignment.
  • In this week's Mental Flea Market, Miguel reminds us that some SOB won't try to murder you just because you're worshiping God.
  • David Yamane, sociologist and new member of the Gun Culture, has been saying it for a while now, but it bears repeating: the laser focus of gun control advocates on the criminal use of firearms ignores the REAL gun culture, which is the average gun-owning citizen.
  • Tiffany is on assignment.
  • Avoid that sedative! Erin explains how sleeping too soon after trauma can negatively affect your ability to recover from it.
  • A lone anti-gun crusader has proposed a "national gun buyback day".  Weer’d looks at the lies and delusions of grandeur as this nut promotes his little pipe dream.
  • And our Plug of the Week is MAG-20 / Classroom – Armed Citizen’s Rules of Engagement.
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:
Trauma and Sleep Disorder
It will come as no surprise to anyone that ever since I was attacked, I’ve had trouble sleeping. I should clarify this, though: to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t been having nightmares or reliving the experience. I just feel tired all the time, like I’m sleeping but not getting enough rest, if that makes any sense.

So as a result of this I started looking into how traumatic experiences affect sleep patterns, and I discovered some interesting information. The biggest surprise was learning that sleep after a trauma actually helps to cement the trauma within your mind!

In a 2012 study, two groups of rodents were exposed to a predator's scent, which was a traumatic event for them. One group was prevented from sleeping for six hours afterward, and one group was not. Interestingly, the sleep-deprived group displayed fewer physiological signs of stress and less PTSD-like behavior, such as freezing and a heightened startle response, than the group which was allowed to sleep. This was later confirmed with human experiments in 2015.

When you stop to think about it, this makes sense. It’s widely believed that while we sleep, our brain attempts to make sense of of the events of the day, filing them away into memories and running “what-if” scenarios. So it stands to reason that if you avoid sleep while the traumatic event is still fresh in your mind, there will be more “stuff” for your brain to process when you do sleep, and the likelihood of those events being turned into traumatic memories is reduced.

Fortunately for me, I suffered sleep deprivation after my attack: it happened at 10 pm and I didn’t get to bed until 11 am the next day, and I was only under local anesthesia instead of general when the plastic surgeon was sewing me up. This may explain why I don’t seem to be exhibiting PTSD characteristics.

I also asked for an anti-anxiety medication while I was in the ER, because I was quite understandably upset at my face being in tatters and was worried that I might have pieces missing. They gave me ativan, which did indeed help me calm down without making me want to sleep. I don’t know if this is causation or just correlation, but keep it in mind for future use, especially if the doctors want to prescribe a sedative.

If something like this happens to you, and you decide to delay sleep, you may have difficulty getting back on your normal sleep schedule. Here are a few tips and tricks for that:
  • Realize that there’s no such thing as a “sleep bank.” If you miss 8 hours of sleep, you don’t then need to sleep for 16 hours the next night. Just try to sleep your regular amount, going to bed and getting up at your usual time. 
  • Exercise before sleep is a bad idea, because it is more likely to energize your body and keep you awake longer. However, gentle stretching is a good idea as it should release tension in your muscles. 
  • Take a hot shower before bedtime. The body cools off as it sleeps, and so after a hot shower your body will start to cool off and that will send a message to your brain that it’s time for sleep. 
  • Don’t drink alcohol before bed. While it is a depressant and will indeed help you fall asleep, it will depress everything in your body including your REM sleep. Alcoholics claim they don’t dream when they sleep, and dreaming is essential to your health. 
  • Finally, if you’ve been lying in bed for an hour and still can’t sleep, don’t force yourself to stay there, Instead, get up and do something relaxing. Avoid watching TV or getting on the computer, because the light from the screen will stimulate your brain and make it think it’s time to get up. Instead, do something low-stress and relatively boring, like dusting the furniture or doing laundry. 
So to summarize:Avoid sleep for at least 6 hours after a traumatic experience, but after that, you should get back to your regular sleep schedule.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Memento Mori Corolla Cari

Well, it finally, more-or-less, kinda-sorta happened.

The little red deathtrap I'd previously written about has just about bit the dust. Kicked the bucket. Bought the proverbial farm. It is pining for the fjords, shuffling off of that mortal coil, running down the curtain and joining the choir invisible.

In short, the Corolla's had it. It likely wasn't even the stress of actually driving it the meager 14 miles a day, 5 days a week to the new job. Not a week before my interview, it refused to start. I called one of the only people in Albuquerque that I know and got a jump-start. It died again halfway to the Firestone a mile away, at which point we jumped it again. $500 and 2 days later, I had a new battery and starter, and it felt fine again. A month later, and here we are again.

I was leaving work about 10 days ago, and it was a normal evening. The temperature was a hair under 70, which feels quite nice here in Albuquerque, and the setting sun was painting the sky with smears of all manner of reds and purples. Heading east and uphill, I noticed the lights on the dashboard didn't look right. The brake and battery warning lights were both on.

Breaking all etiquette of the road, I pulled out my phone and googled "brake and battery light on" and was dismayed that the likely culprit was a failing alternator, especially as Firestone had tested the alternator when I brought in the car a month prior. I called them back, and ended up dropping off the car for them to look at first thing in the morning.

Turns out, the alternator might not have been the culprit, but to even test it properly, it would have to be replaced. A fuse had blown in the small fuse box attached to the positive battery terminal and melted the entire assembly. Which they don't sell and can't seem to find anywhere.

Frankly, the Corolla just isn't worth repairing anymore. There's too much wrong with it. But it did come along when I needed it most (just after my divorce, and getting back on my feet), saw me through a few relationships (especially interesting was the sex fiend who loved the way the car vibrated when idling) and evacuated me from at least two hurricanes. It's time to put it to rest.

Ladies, gentlemen, and multiforms, with all that said I present you my new ride:
Free Candy!
Yep. That's a 99 Ford Econoline. It started life as a Budweiser delivery truck. As I'm told, Budweiser took the van to a mechanic one day, said "Fix everything" and the mechanic said "OK, done, here's the bill." Budweiser didn't want to pay the bill, so he kept it. No rims, tinted windows in the front, no windows in the back. There's a cage behind the front seats. It's packing a Triton V8 and sits higher than a short bus. It's also entirely anonymous, as nearly everywhere you go, you'll see one just like it. It was originally intended as a stop-gap between the Corolla dying and whatever new car I can finance with the new job, but it's really started to grow on me over the past week.

I think I'm going to keep Free Candy, the Great Beast of Black Mesa for now.

I'm not sure Erin has convinced me to actually paint the words "FREE CANDY" on the side yet, though.

Editor's Note: Actually, I want him to paint it to look like this:

https://imgur.com/gallery/I3k9faY

Monday, November 6, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast Radio #168 - The "I Can't Think of a Good Title" Episode


Erin is back, Miguel hurts, Tiffany pops bubbles and Beth loves socks.
  • What do flashlights, tourniquets, and socks have in common? Beth answers that question as she tells us about attending a class taught by The Complete Combatant.
  • The suspect in a Halifax quadruple murder was out on bond at the time of the killings. What had he been charged with? Sean looks a little deeper
  • Barron is on assignment.
  • The past is catching up with Miguel. The bills from his past misdeeds are coming due, and it’s all because he lived by the mantra "No Pain, No Gain".
  • The anti-gun podcast Loaded Conversations had what they billed as a “Constitutional Scholar" on episode 16 who made all sorts of untrue statements about guns, the law, and the Constitution. We asked noted gun law expert Alan Korwin to weigh in on what this 3rd Year law student had to say.
  • What can Second Amendment advocates learn from lefty liberal lifelong democrat and former NPR CEO, Ken Stern? Tiffany explains in this week’s episode of The Bridge.
  • After every emergency, good preppers evaluate what they did wrong and what needs to change so things go right next time. Erin lists the lessons learned from her dog attack.
  • To bring light to the misinformation on the 2nd Amendment Debate, a Progressive host invites a bunch of Bloomberg stooges to spout their propaganda in response to softball straw-man questions!  Weer’d brings the voice of reason they intentionally excluded in.
  • And out Plug of the Week is the Dirty John podcast.

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:
Prepping Lessons Learned From Erin's Injury
We preppers always strive to be ready for anything and everything. However, despite this goal, we can never truly be prepared for EVERY thing that happens. It’s just not physically possible; you can be ready for 99.9% of all things, and you’ll still get blindsided by that one time in a thousand. What you do in those cases is use your prepping experience to adapt to the situation, and then figure out what you can do to prevent it from happening again.

So let’s use as a case study what happened to me when I was attacked by my mother’s dog. The first question people ask me is “Why didn’t you just shoot the dog?” and the answer to that is very simple -  First, I was in my house behind locked doors and getting ready to go to bed, so my firearms were not within easy reach. Second, the attack was -- fortunately for me -- not sustained; he bit twice and then stopped. Shooting him in the house would have made an unnecessary mess.

I concede the point that if he had continued to attack I would have needed a weapon to defend myself, and not having one could have resulted in a worse maiming or death.

The obvious answer to this is “Always have a gun on your body unless you’re bathing or sleeping”. This is troublesome because it is based on the premise that anyone in my family could attack me at any time, and that’s not a healthy level of distrust to sustain in a home. A much better answer is “If a person or an animal is dangerous, don’t allow them inside your home.” And we didn’t. Up to that point, the dog had shown no signs of aggressive behavior toward us, so it came as a surprise, but after that we removed the animal from our home.

One thing we did do properly is that we immediately got the bleeding under control. Getting out of the house wasn’t so smooth, however, because
  • My father’s car was parked behind my mother’s car, 
  • My father had gone to bed several hours earlier, 
  • My mother doesn’t know how to drive my father’s car, and
  • I couldn’t have driven even if I’d wanted to, because I was using both hands to hold my face together. 
This resulted in a Charlie Foxtrot that would have been funny if it hadn’t been happening to me:

First, mom woke dad up out of a dead sleep by pounding on the bedroom door, telling him to move his car. While she went to put on clothes to drive me to the ER, he stumbled out of bed, still incoherent with sleep. He was then unable to open the front door to get to his car, probably due to a combination of grogginess and being unable to adapt to new situations because of his Parkinson’s Disease, so I took the key from him to open the door.

Our front door has a deadbolt, but the deadbolt is key-operated because for some dumb reason, there’s a window right next to the door. Because a burglar could easily smash that window and then open the lock, we keep the key out of arm’s reach. Unfortunately, “putting a key into a lock” requires fine motor control, and when the adrenaline dumps a lot of fine motor control goes out the window. I remember, quite vividly, the key bouncing off the lock plate several times before I finally got it inserted and the door opened.

In hindsight, what I should have done was just have my father go out the garage. I can’t recall if the door was already open or not, but we had to open it anyway to get mom’s car out. At the time, though, I had a bit of tunnel vision and could only think of one way of getting outside. So the protip here is “Always think of other ways to get outside.”

After we got the door open, my father took a step outside… and fell on his hip onto concrete. At this point, I figured he’d broken it because he’s 81, so I believe my exact words were “F**k this, I’m calling an ambulance.” and I went for the house phone to dial 911. Somehow, however, my mother ended up by the front door and helped him up. Incredibly, he didn’t break anything in the fall, so he got in his car and moved it so mom could get hers out of the garage and take me to the hospital.

The lesson to be learned from this is “The person who goes to bed first shouldn’t box in the people who go to bed last.” After this, dad started parking behind my car in the driveway instead next to me, behind mom’s car in the garage.

Those are all the lessons I can think we learned from that night, although I will tell you this: Walking into an ER with a bloody face is a great way to bypass all the waiting and administrative BS and get seen by a doctor immediately.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Medical Bills Update

A huge THANK YOU!!! with hugs to everyone who donated to my GoFundMe. As of today, I have paid off the first two bills (for the initial ER visit and for the  doctor there who treated me -- why the doctor's services weren't bundled with the ER bill is a mystery to me) in full and  managed to get a discount on both due to being able to pay them immediately, in full, and in cash.

I talked them down to $643.80
I'm still waiting to get the bill from the ambulance drive from initial ER up to the hospital in Jacksonville, that ER's bill, and the plastic surgeons's bill) but I am confident I'll have enough money to pay those off as well.

The big question is "How much will it cost to get my face back to normal?" and that's not something which can be answered now, because as explained earlier, that has to wait until 2018.

Regardless of what procedures are required and what they will cost, I am confident that you lovely people will help me get through this difficult situation. While I know I cannot repay you (some of you donated anonymously, and some wouldn't accept payment from me anyway), I hope that one day I can pay you back with entertaining words, commitment to rights, and of course my friendship.

Thank you all!

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