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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

One Aim: Safety For Everyone!

Operation Blazing Sword, in cooperation with the Central Florida Chapter of the Pink Pistols, is pleased to announce a FREE community seminar called "One Aim: Safety For Everyone!"

The seminar will begin with First Responders explaining what skills and training they can offer the community, such as First Aid and CPR classes, that will be helpful in any emergency situation. Keynote speakers Mr. Rommel Scalf and Mr. Steve Burnette will then give a 90 minute presentation titled “Active Shooter Survival Techniques”.

The seminar will be held on Saturday, June 17th, at the First Congregational Church of Winter Park, FL and begins at 1 pm.

We expect seats to fill up rapidly, so email and make your reservation today!


Apparently we are now at the time of year in Florida when we have thunderstorms every afternoon.

This is relevant because due to my allergies I have constant sinus congestion, which means that every time the atmospheric pressure changes (such as, y'know, when a storm front moves in or out) the pressure inside my skull tries to equalize but can't, which results in painful headaches.

This ought to offer an explanation for my lack of posting over the last few days. Also, ow.

I'm going to try to write some catch-up posts while I'm feeling well enough to think. The first one is a pretty big Operation Blazing Sword announcement that deserves its own entry.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #144 - The Gross

"A dozen, a gross, and a score,
Plus three times the square root of four,
Divided by seven,
Plus five times eleven,
Is nine squared and not a bit more."

-- Leigh Mercer, wordplay master and recreational mathematician (1948)
  • Do you get Holster Funk? Beth tells you how to avoid it while carrying in the hot, humid South.
  • Sell stolen guns and hold people at gunpoint? Momma might have something to say about that. Who got shot? Sean takes a closer look.
  • Barron is on assignment this week.
  • They say “Choose your friends well, for your enemies will choose you.” Miguel shines a bright light on those who have chosen us, and what he sees will shock you.
  • In the Main Topic we welcome Special Guest Gail Pepin of the Massad Ayoob Group and the Pro Arms Podcast.
  • How do you answer when people ask you "Just how many guns do you really need?" Two-Gun Tiffany gives us her answer.
  • After last week's fungal infection segment, Erin follows up with some creams and ointments that every prepper should have.
  • A State legislator opens a stand to sell lemonade, cookies... and an AK-47, because he objects to citizens selling their property without government permission. Weer'd points and laughs.
  • And our plug of the week is for Carolina Ceramic Coatings.
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:

Useful Creams and Ointments
Last week’s segment about athlete’s foot was unexpectedly popular! I received many replies about it, specifically in terms of home remedies. More than one listener reported that urinating on their feet in the shower cured their athlete’s foot. Other popular suggestions were soaking the feet in vinegar, or a 50/50 solution of tea tree oil and water, or my personal favorite because it didn’t require expensive components, "one tablespoon bleach to a half gallon of warm water for 15 minutes. Then rubbing the feet with olive oil after drying." I’m going to have to try that last one.

Also, I want to give a shout-out to listener Steven Bonaparte, who asked me if I meant Gold Bond medicated body powder, or if there was a special non-medicated version I was talking about. The answer of course is “I screwed up; I meant medicated. There is however an extra-strength version if you want that -- although not in handy travel size -- but there is no non-medicated version. Sorry! I derped!”

So on to today’s topic. I’ve already talked about how necessary it is to have body powder and antifungal cream in a bug out or get home bag, but there are other creams and ointments and deserve a place in your kit. Since we’re already talking about itchy feet, the logical place to begin is with an anti-itch cream. I like Cortisone-10 Maximum Strength, because it tames the itch of my athlete’s foot when the antifungal isn’t enough, but any 1% hydrocortisone cream will do. You can find it in any supermarket or drug store for around $5.

Itching isn’t the only kind of pain out there, and you really don’t want wounds to get infected in an emergency, so you’ll also want a combination pain relief and antibiotic ointment. I really like Neosporin with pain relief, which you can get for around $7 at any supermarket, but the words you’re looking for are “triple antibiotic” and “pain relief.” I know from personal experience that this works on things like rashes and sun burns.

But what if you have pain in the mouth? Not to worry, any 20% Benzocaine oral pain reliever will work. Not only will it soothe cold sores and fever blisters, but it will also help if you have a pain in your tooth and you can’t make it to the dentist immediately. A half ounce tube costs around $6, and you can get it from any supermarket. Sensing a pattern here?

Speaking of cold sores - soothing the pain is great, but when you get an outbreak, those little bastards will just NOT go away. I’ve found that the best way to get rid of them is to use Herpecin L, which not only removes the discomfort but also speeds the healing. It also serves as 30 SPF sunblock. A tube costs around $4 and you can get it in the medicine aisle.

All right, you’re all set for skin pain, but what about deep muscle and joint pain? Get your cheap jokes ready because I’m about to recommend BEN GAY. Yes, it’s stinky, and yes, it has a silly name, but when you’ve got an ache deep inside you, nothing hits the spot like Ultra Strength Ben Gay and the pleasant burn that hurts so good. There are probably other good pain relievers out there, but I just like saying BEN GAY. A 4-ounce tube costs $6 and, again, can be found at the supermarket.

Finally, keep an eye on your medications, especially if you keep them in the car where it’s hot. When they reach their expiration date, don’t throw them away; just cycle them out of your bug out or get home bag and put them in the medicine cabinet where they will be used soon. Medicines within a year or two of their expiration date aren’t bad; they’re just less effective. So keep the effective stuff in your kit for an emergency!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Doctor Who: Down The Rabbit Hole

There is seriously no way I can discuss this episode without going into spoiler territory. This is the only warning you get. Anything past here and you risk spoilers. If you want the non-spoiler version, here it is: This episode is good. Very good. And you should go watch it, right now.

Elon Musk has posited before that there's a very good chance that we're all living in a highly sophisticated simulation during a talk. I've included an embedded link to a relevant video below, as the themes of this episode tie very closely into that theory. The misdirection and slight visual cues this episode uses to link that theory and give us clues begin with the opening title and continue at strategic points throughout the episode, until the moment where (with some great deal of satisfaction on my part) Narwhal is literally removed from existence. I suppose you could say that this is the first episode in which he doesn't appear at all, technically speaking. Which also explains why he was so much less annoying than usual.

Also, a tip of the hat to Stephen Moffat, who has finally justified the Sonic Sunglasses in my mind. In the Doctor's current blind state, the sunglasses provide him some form of mobility and sense, not quite on par with, say, Daredevil, but definitely in the same vein, as well as the perfect Chekhov's gun in the form of an electronic recording to send to himself. Well, his real self. Which we see happen in the beginning, but the interruption of the title sequence acts as a misdirection to pull our attention away from the giant EXTREMIS display.

Being a gamer myself, I was fascinated by this episode, and the usage of Grand Theft Auto and Super Mario Bros as analogy to explain to Bill what's going on was quite apt. Subroutines advanced enough to realize that they are in fact subroutines and not flesh and blood rebel against the simulation and "glitch." Having played quite a few games in my lifetime, I've seen a number of instances where an artificial intelligence for an non-player character will act in a manner seemingly outside of its programming. One can't help but wonder if it's some crude version of this happening. As for the Veritas itself, can this be the explanation of game-breaking bugs? An NPC realizing during the coding process that it's not real and sabotaging the code to the point that the game cannot be completed?

Harry Potter is blasphemy. Twelve said so.
This episode was very clever. It's full of little callbacks, references, visual cues, red herrings, and other such things that are meant to lead you to the conclusion while at the same time leading you away from it. It was the first time this year I wasn't just watching and was actively trying to figure out what was going on. There's occasionally digital artifacting that happens after the Doctor activates the Extremis file. The Pope traveling in person, which the Doctor remarks upon. Bill's outfit, as seen above, actually being modern and tasteful. Someone in the wardrobe department really hates her, as she's back in an ugly sweater by the end of the episode. The "portals" which are not unlike the windows Madame Kovarian uses to spy on Amy's flesh avatar. CERN somehow having a stockpile of Looney Toons dynamite on hand. The resolution also was quite satisfying, as even a copy of the Doctor ends up being clever enough to overcome his programming and sabotage the simulation enough to send a warning to his real-world counterpart, even if it's more evidence of how stultifyingly arrogant and confident in himself that he is.

Additionally, the monsters revealed in this episode may be alien, but they look like proper zombies, which is refreshing after the disappointment of the zombies in space of last week's episode, and they're promising as a series arc villain. Anyone else noticing that Bill is making quite the habit of dying, though? She's going to give Rory a run for his money if she keeps this up.

The vault's secret has been revealed. Missy, under guard for one thousand years, as per the Doctor's oath to the executioners, as shown in the flashbacks. How long has he been guarding it? That's what we're unsure of at this point. We know who is in the vault, and why she's there. What we don't know is how much longer she'll be there, and what will happen when she's out. The appearance of John Simm's Master will surely tie into that.

We all have that one friend we can't help but forgive. 
This one is a definite must-watch. The first definite must-watch of the season. I am outright impressed, and I urge you to watch this episode, and if you already have, watch it again with a more critical eye and foreknowledge. You'll see the clues that are leading you both on and off the path and just how well-crafted this one was.

Also, for the record, Penny is most certainly *not* out of Bill's league. If anything, it's the other way around.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Gotham Rain: Chapter 2

     Harley Quinn sits alone in a cell in the Extreme Incarceration wing of Arkham Asylum, sobbing quietly to herself, as she has for the past several hours.

Yep, that's me. You're probably wondering how I got here. Well, there's a good story behind it. I had the perfect plan: Draw the Bat into the nuttiest part of the nut hatch and wear him down with the adorably violent uncontrollable psychopaths before treating him to a nice dose of the electric floor. Quite rudely, he managed to make it through all the thugs I had with me without so much of a singe on his bat-patootie. Banged my head against a railing while he was at it, and tricked me into telling him where Mister J was, too. And... and, uh. Mister J... well, he wasn't too happy I let him down. I'm off the guest list. It's okay, though. I know he still cares. 

*record scratch* *freeze frame*
     There's a bruise on Harley's head and her wrist is strained from when Batman captured her and stuck her in the cell, but she's otherwise in one piece. With the Asylum under Joker's control, no one's been in Extreme Incarceration since the Bat left her in the cell. No one awake, at any point. She's pretty sure at least one of those guys that got stuck on the electric floor when she turned off the safeties is dead. She's not sure whether she's more upset that one of her mooks hasn't woken up or at how the Bat was so dismissive of her.

     Contrary to appearance, Harley is a very smart woman, smart enough to have earned a doctorate and an internship at Arkham Asylum. It's where she met him, where she found the new direction of her life, and what she thinks is true love. And it infuriates her to no end that even despite having met him then, lab coat and glasses and all, the Bat still underestimates her. Here, though, Harley sees no way out. Extreme Incarceration is where they put people they really don't want getting out.

     There have been noises since she was locked up. A few pretty significant explosions, and she's heard something rumbling in the walls. Something's going on outside, and she can only hope that means Joker's taken out the Bat. This is different, though; Harley's head perks up as she hears a door hiss open and a wet thump as something hits the floor. She presses her face to the bars of the cell and catches a glimpse of red and green near the doors.

    "Ivy? Ivy, is that you? Wow, babe, you don't look so good," Harley calls out, straining between the bars to get a better look.

     Ivy's voice is weak, raspy, the sound you make when you rub two dry pieces of wood together when she responds, "Quinn. Hold still. We have to get out of here. Batman's taken down the Joker and the police are swarming the island." She strains visibly, making it to her knees. She grasps one of the bars of the cell, and vines protrude from her arm, wrapping around the gap where the bars meet. Tiny strands of plant material force their way into the gap, and the bars slowly open, the hydraulics whining against the strain. Harley slips through the tiny gap Ivy created, and Ivy collapses in exhaustion.

Returning the favour
     "Pammy, baby, what'd he do to you? That awful Bat. He banged me up pretty bad, too," Harley says, as she catches Ivy before she hits the floor. She slips under one of Ivy's arms and lifts her, and the two begin to stagger towards the exit.

     "Not... not Batman. Joker... Joker pumped me full of that Titan trash. I don't feel so good, Harl..." Ivy manages before passing out. Harley clutches the vines on her arms and lifts her over her shoulder, feeling a swell of conflict passing through her. Mister J wouldn't hurt Ivy, she thinks to herself. Ivy's been one of the only people that's been nice to her, nicer even than... her mind won't let her finish that thought. He wouldn't hurt Ivy, and he only hurt me because I let him down. I didn't finish off the Bat, so I had it coming.

     She'll make it right, though. She has to. She'll make it right and he'll take her back and everything will be fine. She's just gotta get out of the Asylum first and back to the City.

     Then back to Mister J, so I can make this right. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Update on the Onstotts

Sabra has written about her experience here.

Big thanks to everyone who has donated to their fundraiser!

Here's an updated needs list:
  • curtains
  • flatware
  • pots & pans (pref. stainless steel, but they aren't going to be picky)
  • school supplies (not much, but Sabra does homeschool Marie year-round pretty much)
  • books; a fire hose went in through the window where the book case was, and there was heavy smoke damage there as well (Sabra & the kids read mostly sci-fi/fantasy; anything used is great -- adult level or stuff along the lines of Dork Diaries for Esther and super simple beginner books for Marie)
  • stuffed puppies, kitties, and bunnies (just a few)
  • yarn 
  • cloth diapers (probably definitely a need at this point)

They've had several offers of clothes and they think everyone but Lewis and maybe Erik are taken care of.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Onstott's home just burned down

If it weren't for bad luck, I think that the Onstott family wouldn't have any luck at all.

From Sabra's Facebook page:
Do you ever say to yourself "The only way shit could be worse would be if it was literally on fire?"

I'm gonna have to find a new one.

WE ARE ALL JUST FINE. Not even stinky.
Paraphrasing from Sabra's various FB status updates:
Yesterday, the stove caught fire - AGAIN - to the point where we could not smother it as we had in the past. We GTFO and called 911. (For the record, when the house is on fire, I get the kids out and then grab the computers and Psalm's ashes.)
The good news is that everyone is fine and we saved the 100% irreplaceable stuff. The bad news is that the trailer is uninhabitable and that the firefighters told us we shouldn't take our clothes because the carbon from the smoke won't wash out. We're currently staying at a hotel provided by the Red Cross, and we're going to move into the trailer next door as soon as the power gets turned on.
Sabra's husband Erik even gave in to my constant nagging and blogged about it:
I wouldn’t normally do this, but…

Gonna make this quick & dirty.

I got a text from Sabra yesterday afternoon saying a fire had started in the kitchen. The fire was contained to there, and everyone’s OK. We were able to secure another place from our landlord, and Sabra got all our electronics out and items of sentimental value…

…but there was a lot of smoke damage and the house is uninhabitable right now. Because of the smoke damage, all of our clothes are lost, as are all of the kids’ stuffed toys and other things, as well as all our furniture — beds, everything. The lovely and gracious Erin Palette has set up a fundraiser for us. Anything you can spare would be greatly appreciated.
Like the man said, I started a YouCaring page for them. Please donate what you can; feeding and clothing six kids and two adults is a major undertaking when you're starting from scratch.

If you can't donate money but you have spare clothes or housewares, here is what they need:
  • queen sized bedding 
  • twin sized bedding 
    • (we'll need beds too, but I am going to contact Catholic charities for help there) 
  • curtains 
  • flatware 
  • plates 
  • pots & pans (pref. stainless steel, but I'm not going to be picky) 
  • school supplies (not much, but I do homeschool Marie year-round pretty much) 
  • French press or percolator 
  • slow cooker 
  • baking stuff -- cookie sheets, baking dishes, etc -- I'm not confident enough to take anything from the kitchen since that was exactly where the fire was 
  • books (a fire hose went in through the window where the book case was, and there was heavy smoke damage there as well) 
  • stuffed puppies, kitties, and bunnies (just a few)
They might need:
  • yarn 
  • cloth diapers (flats, prefolds, covers, pockets, whatever you might have) 
  • random baby toys (most of his stuff was in my room, which took the brunt of things)
    Clothing sizes:
    • Erik: bottoms are size 36; tops size L 
    • Sabra: size 22/3X bottoms, 3X tops (I don't wanna be picky, but please no button downs as they don't close properly over my chest); bra is 42K/HH (HH is British) 
    • Bobbie: bottoms anywhere from a 4 to an 8; mostly small tops, but she can wear a few mediums too; she's femme (bra size is 34D) 
    • Lewis: men's M in loose shorts and tops; juniors women's 13 pants 
    • Esther: girls' 10/12 bottoms, 8/10/12 tops, kids' L; she would really like dresses 
    • Marie: girls' 6 NOT slim fit (because she's got a booty), girls' 4/6 tops, girls' S dresses 
    • Doug: boys' 3T bottoms; girls' 4 bottoms (these actually fit him better); boys' 4 bottoms ONLY if they have adjustable waistband; 3T to 5T tops work fine 
    • Duncan: 18 or 24 months; 12M tops if they're big
      Goodwill gift cards would be welcome since there is one very close to them.

      If you want to mail something, their mailing address is 6725 Walzem #34, San Antonio, TX 78239.

      Play us out, Sabra?
      Thanks for the well wishes and offers of help. Love all of you.
      Couldn't have said it better myself. 

      The Fine Print

      This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

      Creative Commons License

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