Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ice and Snow, Reprise.

It started snowing last night, and is still at it.  Not big heavy, wet flakes like we usually get, lighter and more like little grains of sand than feathery flakes.  The temperature in the house is 66 ' F.  The pump house is 62, the apartment is 64,  shop is right at 59, enclosed part of the barn is 54.  Outside temperature right now, at just after 3 a.m. is about 12.

There's about half a foot  of snow where it hasn't piled up, which is not a lot until you realize it's frozen into a solid sheet.  I'm not shoveling it so it's there until it melts. The wind is blowing tonight, sporadically.  I went out at midnight to check on all the buildings. All was well so I am not planning on going out again until dawn.

If you are going to move out into the mountains, and put yourself up on top of one of them, be sure you like the location. Because you are going to have a lot of time in winter to enjoy it.

The Popular Mechanics "Survival" issue is out.  Popular Mechanics is a good magazine. It's cheap, and sometimes you find really useful articles on how to do things you want to do but didn't know how to go about.

These always follow the same format. A couple of stories about people who got themselves into some deep kimchi , largely through ill luck, poor head work, the stupidity of others, lack of forethought, or a combination thereof. It's always the kind of thing that could happen to just about anybody.

Um! Smell number one stinku.

Then a couple of articles on things like preparedness planning (at the lowest level) and then some little quick articles. For instance, this one has a bit written by a "celebrity chef" who designed his own food storage so that he wouldn't run out of things like canned pumpkin and truffles when the apocalypse arrives.

 I got the impression the guy had never been further away from home than trips by air to Paris and New York, but it was funny if nothing else.

Besides , there are articles in the magazine that are not survival related, like how to restore furniture. Who knows when that will come in handy? I look at as an extra . ;-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Matt Bracken.

I am sure that I read a long post on this author on another blog. I think it might have been "Total Survivalist."

At the time I didn't pursue the issue because I had a lot of things I was juggling and it just faded from my mind.

Then recently, a post on an unrelated subject here brought it up again and there were a lot of people who really enjoyed his books.

So I bought the two above, on Kindle. Castigo Cay cost me about $6.00 and the Anthology was only about $3.00

I read the Anthology first, and I was impressed.  There are a few short stories, which were not bad, but the most significant of the contents were his thoughts on where we are now as a civilization, and where we are headed.  He was able to bring all the different components of life today into one integrated tapestry in a way I have never seen done before. It was impressive, and I found it to be highly motivating.

Then I read Castigo Cay.  The writing was very smooth and the technical construction was nearly perfect. The editing was excellent.  I will say this was one of the "darkest" novels I've ever read, to the extent that it made me feel uncomfortable. This story takes place not after a collapse, but during the course of it. It's a corrupt, dangerous society where the upper elements prey on the people at the bottom with impunity. Bracken has constructed a nightmarish scenario that does't take place in the distant future, but tomorrow.

I asked myself what I was reading it for?  I read for two reasons. One, to pass the time and entertain myself. The other is to learn , to pick up ideas that might make my situation here more tenable for myself and my family. To plug gaps and identify weaknesses.

I am not sure why I read  this book, but not for either of those reasons. Honestly, I'd don't know why I did.  I was glad when it was finished, because some of it was unnerving, fictional or not.

I know he has three other books out that everyone I've talked to recommends. I just have to decide if they are really for me.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

More snow coming.

Ferrets sleep a lot in the course of normal events. About sixteen hours a day asleep, and six awake.

In winter, they sleep even more. They don't hibernate, they just get sluggish.

The trash can next to my desk is a favorite place to take a nap. They like it more if the trash can is full of papers.

My ferrets don't care for snow. Ordinarily if they can get out of the door, onto the porch, they're out like a bolt of lightning. But when there's icy wind coming in the open door and snow on the porch, they opt for staying inside.

Another favorite nap location is one of the couch cushions, which they favor over the pillow I bought for them. I think they like the cushion better because they can get a better grip on it, and it's warmer.

The ferret pictures aren't gratuitous, without these guys I don't think I would be having as easy a time living up here in winter. When NASA finally sends a crew to Mars, they had better  take along some ferrets to keep everyone's nerves calm.

Ferrets are expensive. Their medical bills each year are usually considerably higher than my own. In fact, you can buy health insurance for them. But in an environment where you frequently get confined to a relatively limited area, they are worth their weight in gold.  They have tremendous personality, they're very intelligent, and they're loyal friends. If you get sick, they will sit up on the bed or camp out on the rug next to the bed and stay right with you. I doubt I would have lasted up here in these woods as long as I have without them. I'm very fond of my dogs, and my cats and chickens, etc. But those are all outdoor animals. Ferrets are right inside with me.

That little house is made out of Popsicle sticks. My son made it when he was a kid.  The ferrets can squeeze into it, and in summer it's a sort of summer residence for them. The mess next to their snuggy bag is undoubtedly residue from a bag of some kind of snack food my wife set next to the couch on the coffee table. Anything they can reach is fair game.  That includes keys, watches, wallets, eye glasses, or any other object they fancy and can move. They're very strong. I know all their secret stash locations though, so when something goes missing, like the tv remote, I can usually find it.

If you are going to live way out there, and you know there will be times you can't get out, you definitely need some ferrets

More snow is on the way. Supposed to start snowing Monday night. The Weather Channel says the models don't agree, so they can't say just how much.  I am in good shape on food, firewood, propane, water, animal feed, and the generator is back up and running. All my equipment is functional.  So I suppose I will just do what I usually do, and enjoy the beauty of the woods in winter.

Life is good up here.  I'm not leaving.  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Six Bears and his wife got shipwrecked!

Talk about being calm in adversity.

Home Satellite Radio: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Probably because it was what I was taught as a very young man, I believe in alternate methods of  long distance communication. There's not a lot of coordination with others you can do outside your visual sight range with no means of long distance communication. Relying on one means of doing so is not a particularly wise thing to do these days. So I have a cell phone, a fax machine , a land line, and the internet for two way communications up here on the mountain.

I also have CB radio and GMRS radio for short range communications with locals here, if I want to use it.

But humans have an insatiable desire to know what's going on, especially in times of great stress. It's pretty difficult to make intelligent plans in a vacuum of information.  To find out what's going on, I don't really need to talk to anyone, I just need to be able to receive the information, over whatever medium.

When it comes to just receiving, I've got UHF radios, VHF radios, shortwave  radios, FM and AM receivers, satellite radio and satellite television .

I have multiple scanners that work in the UHF and VHF range. 

The Good

Satellite radio for the home is largely obsolete now if all you care about is programming. With the internet, you get better selection and more control over what you listen to, than you do with Satellite radio.  I keep my home satellite largely as a backup  now. 

It's a composite system, comprised of three separate components that operate as one unit once assembled.  This gear is easy to get set up (even for me), easy to operate, and rock solid in reliability (the one exception: bad weather.)

The Docking Station

 The docking station is about the size of a "boom box." Primarily it consists of speakers.It takes 8 D cell batteries, or you can run it on the included ac power source.  If you want to, you can buy an optional power cord that will plug into the power outlet of your vehicle. ( a power source once quaintly known as a cigarette lighter, but now known by the more political correct moniker of "power outlet".) Then you can haul the whole system out and run it off the vehicle battery if you have no D cell batteries or other ready power source.

The Radio

The radio itself is smaller than a pack of cards.  It's powered by the docking station. You can buy very elaborate radios with all kind of whiz bang gadgets to go wrong later, even little video screens that play pictures associated with whatever you are listening to. This is the most basic unit, and I bought it operating on the Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) principle. My first radio lasted about a year, then just quit working. I bought exactly the same kind of radio to replace it, and it's been working fine for years. I leave the radio turned off if I am not listening to it, but on the day I lost the first one there was a thunderstorm and I'd inadvertently left it on. I haven't made that mistake since.

The Antenna

 The antenna is a simple plug and play arrangement. It has a few idiosyncrasies I'll hit in just a moment.  All you have to do is orient it and plug it into the docking unit.

 You plug the antenna into the base unit, then you orient the radio to the Southern sky, where the Sirius / XM satellite is in geosynchronous low earth orbit. There's a power bar on the digital display of the radio. It goes from one to five.  The radio will play on 1, but it cuts out sometimes. On two to five bars it's rock solid and crystal clear.

How do you orient the antenna? Get a compass and find the southern sky.  For outside installation, it's easiest to have a pair of GMRS radios, or CB walkie talkies, or a set of kids radios. Take the antenna out, and then have your spouse stand by at the radio. As you turn the antenna left or right and up or down, the person on the other end says "better or worse." Once you get a good signal, you're done.
Back when all tv (all three channels of it) was " over the air", everybody had to do this with rabbit ears or an outside antenna. So if you are young and don't remember those days, take pride in learning the skills of your ancestors!

This is the entire system.  Radio, docking station, antenna, ac adapter. So much for the home base unit.

Vehicle Equipment.

Satellite  radio for your car is much less complicated. You buy a little radio, it plugs into the car , mounts like a radar detector somewhere on the dashboard, set up the antenna, and you are finished. Or, your vehicle may come with a system already installed.  The Jeep Commander came with a satellite radio, so I didn't have to fiddle with the kit. However, the Jeep Cherokee came without one (it's a 1999), so I got the whole kit for $35.00 from Sirius . They sell it at a loss so you will sign up for a second subscription to the service.

Whatever happens on the ground to wipe out FM/AM and television stations in a location during a Black Swan Event (like Katrina or an earthquake) the satellite gear will work if your vehicle is intact.
The one exception I can think of is EMP, which will wipe out all this gear outside of a Farraday cage. So something happens, local radio and tv goes off the air, no internet. You can still go out to the car and run your radio out there to try to see what's happening.  In a disaster, nothing is worse than having no idea what the story is.

The Bad .

As I mentioned early, weather can shut you down. Snow , rain, or heavy clouds can all attenuate the signal to the point where you can't operate the radio. You just have to wait for it to pass. If you mount your antenna outside, especially where the sun can hit it, expect it to last a year and then have to be replaced. If you mount it inside, in a window, it will last indefinitely but it's a lot harder to get a good strong signal. If you don't have any windows facing the southern sky you will have to go the outdoor mounting way. The antenna comes with about 30 feet of cable, so that at least isn't an issue.

Because there were once two satellite radio outfits, who later merged, you are still dealing with two equipment sets.  Sirius is what I had, and XM is the other. Now they are Sirius XM.  So when you are dealing with buying ancillary devices to enhance your set up, be sure you don't just order part Alpha because it says "for satellite radio."  You have to specify whether your other gear is Sirius or XM, and order the appropriate system part.  Slowly but surely, as the older equipment that is name brand specific is replaced by newer Sirius/XM gear this issue will go away.

There are lots of "packages" but they are set up the same way Satellite TV is. Unless you buy the top of the line subscription you get a lot of garbage like The Philipino Underwater Basket weaving Channel. You have to pay for a lot of stuff you will never use (like sports , for me) to get what you do want.

and the Ugly

These guys use Indian tech support and sales call centers. Everything you ever heard about Indian call centers is true. At Siruis/XM, one of their favorite things is to say they are going to put you on hold, then just cut you off if they don't know the answer. Or don't like your voice. Or need a smoke or a trip to the can.....

Their sales and technical support are absolutely atrocious.  They can get away with it because Sirius XM is on the only satellite radio provider in the U.S, and maybe anywhere as far as I know.

Below is a list of my package: It's long.  Most of it is useless.

2              SiriusXM Hits 1  Music    Pop        Today's Pop Hits               •
3              Venus   Music    Pop        Pop Music You Can Move To       •
4              Pitbull's Globalization     Music    Pop        Rhythmic Hits From Around The Globe  •
5              '50s on 5               Music    Pop        '50s Pop Hits       •
6              '60s on 6               Music    Pop        '60s Pop Hits with Cousin Brucie                •
7              '70s on 7               Music    Pop        '70s Pop Hits       •
8              '80s on 8               Music    Pop        '80s Pop Hits       •
9              '90s on 9               Music    Pop        '90s Pop Hits       •
10           Pop2K   Music    Pop        2000s Pop Hits   •
11           KIIS-Los Angeles               More     More     KIIS FM LOS Angeles       •
12           Z100/NY               More     More     Z100 plays all the hits      •
13           Velvet   Music    Pop        Today’s Pop Vocalists     •
14           The Coffee House           Music    Pop        Acoustic Music/Singer-Songwriters         •
15           The Pulse            Music    Pop        Adult Pop Hits   •
16           The Blend            Music    Pop        Bright Pop Hits  •
17           SiriusXM Love    Music    Pop        Love Songs         •
18           SiriusXM Limited Edition               Music    Pop        Exclusive Limited-Run Channels-XL          •
19           Elvis Radio           Music    Rock      Elvis 24/7 Live from Graceland    •
20           E Street Radio    Music    Rock      Bruce Springsteen 24/7 •
21           Underground Garage     Music    Rock      Little Steven's Garage Rock Channel        •
22           Pearl Jam Radio                Music    Rock      Pearl Jam 24/7   •
23           Grateful Dead Channel  Music    Rock      Grateful Dead 24/7         •
24           Radio Margaritaville        Music    Rock      Escape to Margaritaville                •
25           Classic Rewind   Music    Rock      '70s/'80s Classic Rock      •
26           Classic Vinyl        Music    Rock      '60s/'70s Classic Rock      •
27           Deep Tracks       Music    Rock      Deep Classic Rock            •
28           The Spectrum    Music    Rock      New Rock Meets Classic Rock     •
29           Jam_ON               Music    Rock      Jam Bands           •
30           The Loft               Music    Rock      Eclectic Rock       •
31           Tom Petty Radio               Music    Rock      Music From and Curated by Tom Petty  •
32           The Bridge          Music    Rock      Mellow Rock      •
33           1st Wave             Music    Rock      '80s Alternative/New Wave        •
34           Lithium Music    Rock      '90s Alternative/Grunge               •
35           SiriusXMU           Music    Rock      New Indie Rock                •
36           Alt Nation            Music    Rock      New Alternative Rock    •
37           Octane Music    Rock      New Hard Rock •
38           Ozzy's Boneyard               Music    Rock      Ozzy's Classic Hard Rock Channel              •
39           Hair Nation         Music    Rock      '80s Hair Bands  •
40           Liquid Metal       Music    Rock      Heavy Metal-XL                •
41           Faction Music    Rock      Punk/Rock/Beats with Jason Ellis-XL        •
42           The Joint              Music    Rock      Reggae •
43           Backspin              Music    Hip-Hop               Classic Hip-Hop-XL           •
44           Hip-Hop Nation Music    Hip-Hop               Today's Hip-Hop Hits-XL                •
45           Shade 45              Music    Hip-Hop               Eminem's Uncut Hip-Hop Channel-XL     •
46           The Heat              Music    R&B       Today's R&B Hits              •
47           SiriusXM FLY       Music    R&B       Hip-Hop & R&B from the '90s & 2000s     •
48           Heart & Soul       Music    R&B       Adult R&B Hits   •
49           Soul Town           Music    R&B       Classic Soul/Motown      •
50           The Groove        Music    R&B       '70s/'80s R&B     •
51           BPM      Music    Dance/Electronic              Electronic Dance Music Hits         •
52           Electric Area       Music    Dance/Electronic              EDM DJ Mix Shows          •
53           SiriusXM Chill     Music    Dance/Electronic              Downtempo/Deep House           •
54           Studio 54 Radio Music    Dance/Electronic              Disco/Classic Dance         •
55           Utopia  Music    Dance/Electronic              '90s/2000s Dance Hits     •
56           The Highway      Music    Country                Today's Country Hits       •
57           Y2Kountry           Music    Country                2000s Country Hits           •
58           Prime Country   Music    Country                '80s/'90s Country Hits     •
59           Willie's Roadhouse          Music    Country                Willie's Classic Country Channel •
60           Outlaw Country                Music    Country                Rockin' Country Rebels  •
61           Bluegrass Junction           Music    Country                Bluegrass             •
63           The Message     Music    Christian              Christian Pop & Rock      •
64           Kirk Franklin's Praise       Music    Christian              Kirk Franklin's Gospel Channel   •
65           enLighten            Music    Christian              Southern Gospel              •
66           Watercolors       Music    Jazz/Standards  Smooth/Contemporary Jazz       •
67           Real Jazz              Music    Jazz/Standards  Classic Jazz          •
68           Spa         Music    Jazz/Standards  New Age             •
69           Escape  Music    Jazz/Standards  Easy Listening    •
70           BB King's Bluesville          Music    Jazz/Standards  B.B. King's Blues Channel              •
71           Siriusly Sinatra   Music    Jazz/Standards  Standards By Sinatra & More      •
72           On Broadway     Music    Jazz/Standards  Show Tunes       •
73           40s Junction       Music    Jazz/Standards  '40s Pop Hits/Big Band   •
74           Met Opera Radio             Music    Classical                Opera/Classical Voices   •
76           Symphony Hall  Music    Classical                Classical Music   •
77           KIDZ BOP Radio Talk & Entertainment     Kids        Pop Hits Sung By Kids For Kids    •
78           Kids Place Live   Talk & Entertainment     Kids        All Fun for Kids  •
79           Radio Disney      Talk & Entertainment     Kids        Pop Hits For The Entire Family    •
80           ESPN Radio         Sports   Sports   Mike & Mike/Sports Talk/Play-by-Play   •
81           ESPN Xtra            Sports   Sports   Sports Center/Finebaum/PTI and More                •
82           Mad Dog Sports Radio   Sports   Sports   Mad Dog Russo, Stephen A Smith            •
83           SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio                Sports   Sports   Sports Talk by Bleacher Report  •
84           SiriusXM College Sports Nation  Sports   Sports   College Sports Talk/Play by Play                •
85           SiriusXM FC        Sports   Sports   Soccer Talk & Play-by-Play           •
88           SiriusXM NFL Radio         Sports   Sports   24/7 NFL Talk & Play-by-Play       •
90           SiriusXM NASCAR Radio                Sports   Sports   24/7 NASCAR Talk & Races           •
91           SiriusXM® NHL Network Radio™               Sports   Sports   24/7 NHL® Talk & Play-by-Play    •
93           SiriusXM Rush   Sports   Sports   Covino & Rich and Combat Sports Talk    •
94           SiriusXM Comedy Greats              Talk & Entertainment     Comedy               Greatest Comedians Of All-Time-XL        •
95           Comedy Central Radio   Talk & Entertainment     Comedy               Comedy Central Uncensored Comedy-XL             •
96           The Foxxhole     Talk & Entertainment     Comedy               Jamie Foxx Presents Comedy & More-XL              •
97           Jeff & Larry's Comedy Roundup                Talk & Entertainment     Comedy               Great American Comedy-XL        •
98           Laugh USA          Talk & Entertainment     Comedy               Comedy For The Entire Family    •
99           Raw Dog Comedy Hits    Talk & Entertainment     Comedy               Today’s Comedy & Up and Comers-XL   •
100         Howard 100        Howard Stern    Howard Stern    The Howard Stern Show–XL        •
101         Howard 101        Howard Stern    Howard Stern    The World of Howard Stern-XL  •
102         Radio Andy         Talk & Entertainment     Entertainment  Andy Cohen Pop Culture Talk, More-XL •
105         Entertainment Weekly Radio      Talk & Entertainment     Entertainment  Entertainment Talk & News        •
106         OutQ     Talk & Entertainment     Entertainment  LGBT Talk & Entertainment-XL   •
108         Today Show Radio           Talk & Entertainment     Entertainment  The TODAY Show - All Day            •
109         SiriusXM Stars   Talk & Entertainment     Entertainment  Ellen/Jenny McCarthy/Dr Laura/MoreXL               •
110         Doctor Radio      Talk & Entertainment     Entertainment  Real Doctors Helping Real People             •
111         Business Radio  Talk & Entertainment     Entertainment  Business Talk Powered By Wharton         •
112         CNBC     News & Issues  News/Public Radio          CNBC Simulcast •
113         FOX Business     News & Issues  News/Public Radio          FOX Business Simulcast •
114         FOX News Channel         News & Issues  News/Public Radio          FOX News Simulcast       •
115         FOX News Headlines 24/7            News & Issues  News/Public Radio          FOX News Headlines 24/7            •
116         CNN       News & Issues  News/Public Radio          CNN Simulcast   •
117         HLN        News & Issues  News/Public Radio          HLN Simulcast    •
118         MSNBC News & Issues  News/Public Radio          MSNBC Simulcast             •
119         Bloomberg Radio             News & Issues  News/Public Radio          Business News  •
120         BBC World Service           News & Issues  News/Public Radio          World News       •
121         SiriusXM Insight                News & Issues  News/Public Radio          Inspiring Talk With A Sense Of Humor     •
122         NPR Now             News & Issues  News/Public Radio          NPR News & Conversation          •
123         PRX Public Radio               News & Issues  News/Public Radio          Independent Public Radio            Online Only
124         POTUS Politics   News & Issues  Politics/Issues   Non-Partisan Political Talk            •
125         SiriusXM Patriot                News & Issues  Politics/Issues   Conservative Talk            •
126         SiriusXM Urban View     News & Issues  Politics/Issues   African-American Talk    •
127         SiriusXM Progress            News & Issues  Politics/Issues   Progressive Talk               •
128         Joel Osteen Radio            Talk & Entertainment     Entertainment  Positive Inspiration For Life         •
129         The Catholic Channel      Talk & Entertainment     Religion                Talk For Saints and Sinners           •
130         EWTN Radio       Talk & Entertainment     Religion                Solid Catholic Talk            •
131         Family Talk          Talk & Entertainment     Religion                Christian Talk     •
132         Boston/Philly/Atlanta/Pittsburgh             News & Issues  Traffic/Weather               Traffic & Weather           
133         New York            News & Issues  Traffic/Weather               Traffic & Weather           
134         D.C./Baltimore/Miami/Orlando News & Issues  Traffic/Weather               Traffic & Weather           
135         Chicago/Detroit                News & Issues  Traffic/Weather               Traffic & Weather           
136         Dallas/Houston/St. Louis/Minn.                News & Issues  Traffic/Weather               Traffic & Weather           
137         SanFran/Seattle/Phoenix/Tampa-St.Pe News & Issues  Traffic/Weather               Traffic & Weather           
138         Los Angeles/San Diego  News & Issues  Traffic/Weather               Traffic & Weather           
141         HUR Voices         More     More     Real talk with real people             •
142         HBCU    More     More     HBCU Excellence In Education    •
143         BYUradio             More     More     Talk About Good              •
144         Korea Today       More     More     Korean music, news, entertainment       Online Only
145         SiriusXM 145      More     More     SiriusXM 145     
146         Road Dog Trucking           Talk & Entertainment     Entertainment  Talk for Truckers               •
147         RURAL RADIO    News & Issues  News/Public Radio          Agriculture & Western Lifestyle •
148         RadioClassics      Talk & Entertainment     Entertainment  Classic Radio Shows        •
152         En Vivo More     More     Contemporary English & Spanish Hits      •
153         Cristina Radio     More     More     Advice & Current Affairs               •
154         American Latino Radio   More     More     Talk Radio for American Latinos •
155         CNN en Español                News & Issues  News/Public Radio          All-News Spanish Language         •
157         ESPN Deportes Sports   Sports   Spanish Sports Talk & Play-by-Play           •
158         Caliente               Music    Pop        Tropical Latin Music         •
162         CBC Radio 3        More     Canadian             Canadian Indie Music First           •
163         Ici Musique Chansons    More     Canadian             SiriusXM’s “Chanson” Music Channel      •
165         Multicultural Radio          More     Canadian             The Cultures of Canada •
166         Ici Musique FrancoCountry          More     Canadian             Francophone & Canadian Country-Folk  •
167         Canada Talks      More     Canadian             Canadian Current Affairs & Talk •
168         Canada Laughs  Talk & Entertainment     Comedy               Canadian Comedy–Uncensored 24/7 XL                •
169         CBC Radio One  News & Issues  News/Public Radio          Canada’s #1 Rated Radio News Source   •
170         Ici Première        More     Canadian             Radio-Canada News & Information          •
171         CBC Country       More     Canadian             New Canadian Country •
172         Canada 360 by AMI         More     Canadian             Canada's News/Weather by AMI-Audio                •
173         The Verge           More     Canadian             New & Emerging Indie/Alternative          •
174         Influence Franco              More     Canadian             The New Indie Pop Alternative  •
184         Sirius Preview    Talk & Entertainment     Entertainment  Sirius Preview   
206         Opie Radio          Talk & Entertainment     Entertainment  Opie and Jim Norton-XL                •
207         SiriusXM NBA Radio        Sports   Sports   24/7 NBA Talk & Play-by-Play      •
208         SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio           Sports   Sports   24/7 Golf Talk & Play-by-Play      •
209         MLB Network Radio™    Sports   Sports   24/7 MLB® Talk & Play-by-Play   •
210         SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio   Sports   Sports   Fantasy Sports Talk         •
212         Sports Play-by-Play 212 Sports   Sports Play-by-Play         Verizon IndyCar, MLB, NHL, NBA, more
213         Sports Play-by-Play 213 Sports   Sports Play-by-Play         Verizon IndyCar, MLB, NHL, NBA, more
214         Sports Play-by-Play 214 Sports   Sports Play-by-Play         Verizon IndyCar, MLB, NHL, NBA, more
215         Sports Play-by-Play 215 Sports   Sports Play-by-Play         Verizon IndyCar, MLB, NHL, NBA, more
216         Sports Play-by-Play 216 Sports   Sports Play-by-Play         Verizon IndyCar, MLB, NHL, NBA, more
217         Sports Play-by-Play 217 Sports   Sports Play-by-Play         Verizon IndyCar, MLB, NHL, NBA, more
218         Sports Play-by-Play 218 Sports   Sports Play-by-Play         Verizon IndyCar, MLB, NHL, NBA, more
219         Sports Play-by-Play 219 Sports   Sports Play-by-Play         Verizon IndyCar, MLB, NHL, NBA, more
220         Sports Play-by-Play 220 Sports   Sports Play-by-Play         Verizon IndyCar, MLB, NHL, NBA, more

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Another storm. Where there is no Dentist. New magazines. Holding your Ground.

We had two good days of weather.  Then this rolling through.  Heavy rain and very strong wind. I was sitting in the living room when the wind hit.  One second things were pretty quiet, the next it was back to hearing objects thump against the log walls of the house.  Now (0316 Wednesday morning), it's just rain.  Looking at the intellicast hourly predictions, the worst of it will be passing through about ten this morning.

I broke a tooth last night.  Wasnt' doing anything in particular, it just broke.  So today I had to try to find a dentist that accepts our insurance.  None of the local dentists do, but I found one in a town 45 miles away that does.  No that dental insurance in America helps much.  The insurance company sets an arbitrary amount for any service. It is always much less than reality. Then they pay a flat percentage of that, never more then 50% unless it's just a check up.  Then the dentist charges whatever he wants, he's not bound by the insurance company ruling like an in network provider is for health issues.  You pay the rest.  So, lets say a filling costs $200 at the dentists. The insurance company will say that a filling should not cost more than $100.  So they pay $50.00 and you pay the other $150.00.
Not very helpful.

Out of curiosity, I tried to see what the book Where there is no Dentist said.  Unless I missed something, it says for a broken tooth you have to find a dentist.

Although this was not terribly helpful in this instance, it's not a bad book.  If you had it, and an emergency dental kit you'd be better off than with nothing. The dental kits have all the things you'd need to get you through the weekend until you could get to dentist, and they don't cost much. You can augment them with things from the pharmacy .

This book is free online as a 245 page pdf. I bought the book in hard copy because the pdf 's are from 2010 and 2012 as far as I can tell.

As it is, I couldn't get an appointment until Feb 11. Tell me the U.S. hasn't become third world in this respect, at least.  Even ten years ago I could have called and they would have taken me right in. Not now.  I know why, too. There are ten gazillion illegal immigrants up here, all of whom go to the dentist frequently because it doesn't cost them anything. The government pays for their treatment, in full.  Not mine though, because I'm just a U.S. citizen, not a poor, pitiable immigrant.

This months American Survival Guide is really good.  I was surprised, because every article was interesting and useful. There are always a few articles in each issue that just don't catch my interest, because the survivalist/prepper community is pretty diverse . But this time around, I enjoyed the entire magazine.

There was an outstanding piece on Ham Radio.  I read the short article on how to deal with isolation twice, because this winter I'm getting plenty of practice. After thirty some odd years up here, I'm not a stranger to the phenomenon but the writer knew what he was talking about. The best article I have ever seen on sources of supply for long term food storage was in here, and several very useful sections on cold weather survival that weren't boring and just old rehashed thoughts.

There was a nice write up of a new Glock compatible carbine, which I know Captain Crunch would enjoy. If they don't have the magazine down there , CC, let me know and I will help you get the article.

All in all , even if you don't regularly read American Survival Guide you might want to splurge on this issue.  I subscribed because it saves you a lot of money off the cover price.

As always, Off Grid has some very useful information in it.  Do you remember, years ago, when  Doomsday Preppers set off a whole chain of shows on Survivalism and Prepping?  One of the first shows included a family who lived in suburb somewhere out west. They had a completely self contained home, where they did hydroponic gardening and raised their own Tapia fish. This months Off Grid has a simple to understand , step by step article on doing your own hydroponic garden. Even I, the last person on earth to have much enthusiasm for gardening of any kind, was interested.

Theres' a good section on pandemics and bioterrorism.   The Spot Three satellite emergency interface device gets a "thumbs up" and the review says the new one is even better than the earlier additions which were very good indeed.  I have a brother who carries a Spot Two with him when he goes hunting in Wyoming, and he has field tested the thing to nth degree.  He has nothing but good to say about it.

Another big plus, and something we've been talking about intermittently for a month or so now on the blog, is batteries. Off Grid has a spectacular article on all the different kinds of batteries out there to meet the needs of survivalists and preppers, and I learned some things I didn't know. That means either I wasn't as well read on the subject as I have been trying to be, or this particular writer was really an expert, or both.

In the category of "Gee, I wish I had one of those" there's a great bit on outfitting the Toyoto Tacoma as a bug out vehicle. I don't really get into the vehicle thing as a hobby, but I can admire the ingenuity and versatility the people who rework these off the shelf trucks and SUV's demonstrate.

Finally, as the rain thunders down and I wait for the power to go out, there's a book I thought might interest people.  It's pretty old, and kind of a strange one, but it does make you think.

This is one of those books that came out about five years ago, published by a hole in the wall LLC.
The author is "Joe Nobody" which is kind of a shame. You can't find out anything about his background really, and there's no foreword detailing his experiences or qualifications for writing a book on this subject.

When I read it, it's more like somebody sat down at the kitchen table and used a bunch of military manuals to write the book.  Not that anything he says is ill founded, it's just it doesn't seem to me it's written by someone with real "dust up" experience.

Even so, it's well set up and there are useful things to be learned. The section on how to make early warning devices was interesting, and there are some good sources of supply for things like flares, distress rockets, etc listed in here.

The book is written for groups. I get the impression that the writer thinks anyone on their own should just go ahead and and curl up and die.  Still,  he may be right. We won't know til we know, once the Great Collapse Festivities kick off.

If you can still find it, the book didn't cost a lot back in 2012, and since it's set up in sections to accommodate the reader in terms of his own location and circumstances, it would probably be money well spent.

I go along with his first chapter, whatever else I might think.

" I believe the least likely method to be used against my location is a frontal assault. My logic for this is that our attacker does not have a political or military motivation.  They, most likely, want my food, water, supplies and  women. A frontal assault can be brutal on an attacker from the aspect of causalities."

I think he's right about the motivation of people who come after you at your retreat or fort up place.
Once people realize there are no legal consequences for bad behavior, it's Mardi Gras on a national level. Overall, this is a book worth taking a look at on a quiet evening.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Things you learn on late night radio.

Give up on American television news. People have been telling me that for years, and with the exception of Fox that's what I have done. The news is controlled and filtered and gives you a false impression of the world. Now even Fox has gone down the toilet.  Europe has a free press still, and I read a lot of European newspapers on line. But American late night radio is still uncontrolled. It's tough to keep up with. The stations are on the air at different times, and on different days. It isn't like television, it's more like BBC broadcasting in WW2 to occupied Europe.

A few nights ago, I heard that Finland was deporting 30,000 immigrants, shipping them off to North Africa.  Then on another station I learned that Sweden is getting rid of as many as 60,000 of the 80,000 that swarmed into their country.  I guess the Swedish Prime Minister has changed her mind since her "come here and enjoy our warm love" speech last April. Germany is about to start shipping them out in military cargo planes.  So I got on the net, and started checking the European papers.

A link to the Guardian, which confirms the radio broadcasts.

People always send me emails saying "linkage" when I quote any numbers, so here's the link but it's easy enough to find stories on the net. The numbers may vary but the intent is obvious. The trouble is, you can't do yourself any good by locking the gate after the horse is out of the barn. Just as we can never get rid of the millions of illegal aliens we have here, they won't be able to either.

A good shortwave receiver can keep you up to speed on events better than any other way I know. You have to verify what you hear through other sources, because some of the programs are broadcast from people's barns and the broadcasters can be a little odd, but all you need is the "tip." Then you can find more facts yourself.

 You can get a C. Crane catalog for free from their website. They have every kind of radio you could imagine, as well as every type of antenna.

Although you can buy shortwave receivers for ten dollars (Bell makes a lot of them) a really good set for listening can be had for just about $100.00.  There are people that know a lot more about radio than I do, like Dr. Jim and Kathy's husband. But even with my technical attention deficit disorder I can rig an antenna, or just use the whip, and get programs from all over.

It's a good investment in this day and age. When everything else is gone, satellite tv and the internet and whatever, over the air radio will still be going as long as anyone has a backup generator or solar power to transmit.

Satellite radio is good.  It can work off batteries or ac power, or  even a converter you plug into your vehicle.  It can  give you access to all the major news sources all over the world and it's crystal clear, doesn't depend on knowing frequency propagation,  You don't have to twirl the dials searching for a news program and it's always on the air.  But it's dependent on the satellites, which is not a good thing.

Well, the weather is still good though it's overcast and supposed to rain tonight. I better get on outside and do what I can before it starts getting colder again.