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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #140 - Going to NRAAM 2017

There's no yellow brick road, but be sure to follow the GBVC cast at NRAAM!
  • Beth is still going to NRAAM... but the USCCA is not. Beth tells us how the NRA dis-invited them.
  • Some relationships are fiery; this one ends in arson. Who lit the fire? Sean takes a look.
  • Barron is on assignment this week.
  • Discretion is the better part of valor, and so Miguel reminds you to pick your fights lest you get in over your head.
  • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin talk about concealed carry handguns as Personal Protective Equipment.
  • Tiffany is on assignment this week.
  • Friend of the show Sarah Cade asked Erin, "How do you find your family members in an emergency?" Erin has some ideas.
  • For some reason, family members seem to get upset when their criminal spawn get shot! Weer'd brings us the grandfather of one of the home invaders killed in Oklahoma.
  • And our plug of the week is NRAAM 2017. Follow us on Instagram!
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:
 Finding Lost Family Members
in an Emergency
This week’s topic comes to us courtesy of friend of the podcast Sarah Cade, who asked for advice on how to find family members in an emergency. And that’s a great question! However, it’s very tough to answer because in an emergency, the best way to contact family members - cell phones and the internet - may be down, or so overloaded with traffic that no signal can get through. However, there are some tips and tricks I can pass along to make finding a lost family member easier.

Now the first thing to keep in mind is that during a disaster, texts are far more likely to get through than voice cails, because texts require far less data. So ensure that family members have a phone that can send and receive texts! At this point I think even the dumbest flip phone can text so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Next, make sure that your family members have a way to keep that phone charged! There are a variety of ways to do this, with the simplest to make sure that each phone has a charging cable and both a wall and car adapter. A portable battery to charge the phone when they can’t get to an outlet is also a good idea. I recommend the Anker Astro E1, which is literally the size of a candy bar and can fully charge an iPhone 7 twice, and only costs $17 from Amazon.

Another good way to keep your cell phones operational is with a hand crank dynamo. I like the ones that are also flashlights and AM, FM, and Weather Band radios because that’s a lot of utility in one package. The iRonshow Emergency Dynamo costs only $17.99 and belongs in every prepper’s bag.

But even if the cell network is completely down, a cell phone can still be useful in locating your loved one. Make sure that you have a picture of each of them on your phone - if you have the time, take a picture of them right before you evacuate so you also have a visual record of what they were wearing - and so if you get separated from them, you can show people their picture on your phone while asking “Have you seen this person?” rather than trying to describe them.

Now back in episode 9, I recommended that people scan their critical documents - drivers’ licenses, passports, vaccination records, etc - and keep them in a thumb drive. This is still a good idea! In fact, you should have other family member’s information on this drive as well, because if you can make it a FEMA shelter, the government or the Red Cross might be able to help you find out where your family is, and having copies of their documents can’t hurt in trying to locate them.

Of course, you don’t want all that personal information hanging loose on a thumb drive, so I suggest encrypting it. I’m sure Barron will jump in next week if I get it wrong, but I’ve found that a great tool is an on-the-fly encryption tool like VeraCrypt which creates a virtual encrypted disk on your thumb drive. So long as you remember the password, you can open the encrypted files easily, but it will take others a long time to break through it!

ProTip: since you need to actually run the program to decrypt your data, install a copy of it on your thumb drive as well.

Finally, the best way to find your family members in an emergency is simply not to lose them in the first place. Pre-plan rendezvous spots if you ever get separated in an emergency. For example, my family uses the acronym ACE: if we get separated, or we cannot reach our house due to a disaster like a fire, our rendezvous spots are, in order: the Airport, our Church, and the local Epic Theater.

If you have to evacuate in multiple vehicles, make sure that every single one of them has a detailed atlas for every state you may have to travel through, and designate meet-up spots in case you get separated. This may be as simple as "the first rest stop across the state line" or as complex as a street address. Write these locations inside the cover of the atlas so they won't get lost.

And yes, I said locations, plural -- on a long journey you need more than one. General rule of thumb for military convoys is a rally point every 20 miles or so, but you don't need to go that route; something simple like "every Chevron station at an interstate exit" or "every highway exit that ends in 5" will suffice for most purposes.

So there you go, Sarah; I hope you found this helpful. And if you or any of our other listeners think of something I missed, go to Gunblogvarietycast.com, click on the Contact Us tab, scroll down to Erin, and leave me your idea in the comment box. Don’t forget to click on “More ponies” before you hit submit!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #139 - Beth, What Is Best In Life?

By Crom, what a podcast!
  • The USCCA Concealed Carry Expo is worth several shows. This week, Beth tells us what some of the women in the firearms industry have to say.
  • It's a complicated storyline in this week's Felons Behaving Badly, but the characters are much the same as they always are. Sean gives you their backstories.
  • Barron is on assignment this week.
  • Are you a snob? Miguel has a few words for you.
  • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin explore why no one is talking about that school shooting in San Bernardino last week.
  • Are you a parent? Do you have responsibility for others? Tiffany brings us an interview with Melody Lauer who, along with John Johnston, teaches the Contextual Handgun: The Armed Parent course.
  • Erin wants you to bury your stuff. Safely. For reasons.
  • From the "You can't make this stuff up" files, Weer'd brings you an interview with Moxie Cotton, a drag queen who will be helping school kids film a "gun violence documentary. Seriously.
  • And our plug of the week is "Concealed Carry is Herd Immunity Against Crime" shirts by our very own Erin!

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:
Cold, Hard Cache
Last week, I mentioned that best way to safeguard preps that you cannot control is to bury them. This is known as caching supplies, and has been used by militaries around the world for centuries, if not longer. What’s important to note is that the word cache - see ay see aitch ee - is from the French word “cashy” which means “one who hides”. A cache, then, is a hidden supply of something - probably something valuable, since someone has gone to the effort of hiding it. The website How to Bury Your Stuff has a phrase, No one can take what they cannot find, and I recommend that every prepper read it.

Now when it comes to caching supplies, there are three qualities to keep in mind: Accessibility, Portability, and Capacity.
Accessibility. This is the most important consideration, because a buried cache you cannot get to might as well not exist at all for what good it does you. The ideal solution is to cache on land that you own, as this gives you the best amount of control over it, but many preppers have caches concealed along the route to a bug-out location. If you do this, it is critical that you can get to these supplies at all times of the day and night, and in all seasons.

Access doesn’t always mean “can I reach the place where I buried my cache”, either; it can also mean how difficult it is to unearth it. If the ground freezes where you live, then you need to have a way to break through frozen ground in order to reach your supplies. Will there be flooding? A foot of standing water can make it nearly impossible to get to your cache. And if the land is public, there’s always the chance that the earth could be disturbed for a variety of reasons - erosion, development, animal activity - and reveal your cache to other people.

Portability. Once you reach your cache, do you need to take everything, including the case, with you? Or can you just open it, take what you need, and close it back up?

A completely portable cache needs to be small. Not only will a larger container be heavier, but it will also take more time and effort to dig up than if you only need to remove the lid. However, if you are in a hurry you may not have time to properly re-bury or otherwise conceal a non-portable cache, meaning that anything you cannot take will be lost, whereas with a portable container you can just leave behind an empty hole.

Capacity. There are differing schools of thought on this subject. On the one hand, it’s a lot of work to dig a hole, fill a container with supplies, seal it up, bury it, and conceal the evidence of the burial, so there’s a lot to be said for doing the “one and done” approach, especially on land that you own.

On the other hand, “one and done” means that if your cache is compromised, you have lost ALL of those preps. However, if you spend the time and effort to hide multiple caches, you stand a greater success of not losing all of them.
So with these in mind, I present to you various options for making your cache.

  • A wide-mouth Nalgene bottle is a great way to store a lot of small preps, or to have a portable cache, and they only cost around 10 dollars. If the bottle is opaque, or if you put have a sleeve to put it in, no one will see that it’s full of supplies instead of water, and these days no one looks twice at a water bottle unless they’re thirsty. I specified Nalgene instead of metal because plastic won’t rust the way metal will, and unless you are burying a cache in the desert or other dry climate, you need to worry about groundwater.
  • If you want to store a little more and are willing to pay more, an MTM Survivor Ammo Can costs $20 and holds up to 500 rounds of 5.56 ammunition, or 16 30-round magazines, or anything else that fits into a 7x12 inch space, like a pistol or money or food.
  • For a great combination of capacity and portability, kick it old-school with an Army surplus ammo can, which costs between $25 and $30 depending on if you choose 30 or 50 caliber. While these are made of metal, they are incredibly tough; there’s a picture on How to Bury Your Stuff that shows a can that was buried for 4 years, and the pistol and ammunition stored inside it worked perfectly. The can showed signs of rust and pitting, but could have probably stayed in the ground another 4 years without issue. Giving the bottom of the can extra coats of Rust-Oleum paint and wrapping it in a plastic tarp will also expand its functional lifespan.
  • To get more capacity at the loss of portability, get some food-grade buckets like I mentioned waaaay back in episode 5 and pair them with some gamma-seal lids for $12 each. They provide an airtight seal on the bucket and they’re very easy to open if you have opposable thumbs -- much less so if you’re an animal. We store pet food in ours and leave them on our back porch, and while animals have tried to get inside by gnawing the plastic, not even raccoons have been able to open the lid.
  • Finally, if you want a big container for a “one and done” solution, get a Military Grade 58-Gallon Waterproof Molded Barrel. They’re big - almost 2 feet across and nearly 4 feet high - and they’re heavy, weighing 18 pounds - but boy do they hold a LOT of stuff. I’m not sure how you’d get everything out of if without having to crawl inside, but you can fit anything short of a fully-assembled Mosin-Nagant inside. They’re also quite expensive - around $60 before shipping - but I can’t think of anything larger I’d want to bury.
And remember: If they can’t find it, they can’t take it!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

No One OKCupids Like Gaston

Salem has to take the week off due to increased work, so instead I will post something delightful he did two weeks ago.

I posted this to Facebook with the caption Wow, I have no idea why this person is single....


A friend replied with Not sure what gender this person is, but I want to add the caption: "If Gaston had a Mensa card."

And then Salem, in his guise as MC Sal McG, responded with this delightful filk:
Nooooo oooonnnee's

Smart like Gaston
No one brags like Gaston
No one talks about percentile marks like Gaston

As a specimen yes they're ingratiating
My what a guy, Gaston!

No one jogs like Gaston
Burns off carbs like Gaston
No one hits the ellipticals quite like Gaston

When he was a lad he'd do 5k a day
Every morning while reading textbooks
Now that he's grown he'll do 10k a day
So his brains can impress like his looks!
Would you like to hear Salem sing that? Of course you would.



Traveller Tuesday-Thursday: That Way Madness Lies

I'm not even going to explain this, because it would take too long.

My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.
I started working on it.... a while ago... and thought for sure I'd be done on Tuesday. Then Wednesday. Now it's early Thursday and I've already passed through "This won't work the way I want it to", "What a stupid idea," "I've wasted too much time on this already to give up now," and am not camping out at "Screw it, I've done this much , I might as well post it and get partial credit. Maybe someone will have a brilliant idea about how to make it work."

400 quatloos to whomever not only recognizes this chart but also figures out what I'm trying to do with it.

(Hint: it's not complete)

Monday, April 10, 2017

SHTF: Passover Candles for Prepping

No, it's not disrespectful, or poor form, or sacrilegious: I asked about that and was told it wasn't.


Go read more at Blue Collar Prepping.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #138 - Everything Sounds More Profound in Latin

Semper ubi sub ubi.
  • Beth is at the USCCA Concealed Carry Expo, and she takes some time out of her incredibly busy schedule to tell us about it.
  • In one of the worst crimes we have ever talked about on the podcast, Sean looks a little deeper to find out what kind of creature would murder two little girls - one only four days old.
  • Barron is on assignment this week.
  • Politicians frequently mistake themselves as public masters. Miguel tells us his idea for whipping them back into proper public servants.
  • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin talk about the US Senate going nuclear and imposing the Reid Option on Supreme Court filibusters.
  • Tiffany is on assignment this week.
  • Inter arma enim silent leges: "In times of war, the law falls silent." But what about when your choice is break the law and survive, or keep the law and die? Erin tells us about "The Doctrine of Competing Harms."
  • One of these days the anti-gun leadership will force Loaded Conversations to stop broadcasting their utter hatred of people like us - but today is not that day, for it truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Weer'd focuses on Gays Against Guns leader, and Loaded Conversations co-host, Dr. Dwight Panozzo, PhD.
  • And our plug of the week is the SFD Responder from Safer Faster Defense.
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 Lucky Gunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript:
Ethical Prepping and the Doctrine of Competing Harms

Over the years, the Blue Collar Prepping blog has talked about some subjects which, while not illegal themselves, could certainly aid in illegal activities. For example, last year Chaplain Tim talked about lock picking, and this past Thursday he talked about how to siphon gasoline from underground storage tanks as a way to fuel your vehicle after a disaster.

Like Tim, I believe there’s no such thing as inherently bad knowledge for the same reason that I believe there’s no such thing as an inherently bad tool; it’s what we do with those tools, or that knowledge, that matters.

There’s also the fact that in a life or death situation, it is permitted to break a the law when following it would cause more human injury than breaking it. This is known as the Doctrine of Competing Harms here in the US, although it is sometimes called the Doctrine of Necessity or the Doctrine of Two Evils.

For example, if you are lost in the woods and you are in danger of dying from exposure or dehydration, it is legally defensible for you to break into an unoccupied cabin in order to save your own life, because a human life is more precious in the eyes of the law than personal property. You can get in out of the cold, you can build a fire, you can even drink water and eat food, because this trespassing and burglary is being done to save a life.

However, it is not legally defensible for you to then ransack that cabin or take items from it. Once you are out of danger, anything else you do is prosecutable. Now, some of you are likely wondering “This is all very well and good, Erin, but what does this have to do with prepping?” And the answer to that is ethics.

Here’s an example of ethical lock picking: You come across that same unoccupied cabin in the woods and you’re going to die of exposure if you don’t get shelter and warmth. You could just break the lock or smash a window to get inside, but it’s more ethical to pick the lock, because it doesn’t destroy the cabin owner’s property. It’s also ethical to leave a note with your name and contact information, explaining what you did, and why, and what you used, and offering to compensate the owner for loss and damages. Not only is this the decent thing to do, but it also gives you affirmative defense against charges of trespassing, burglary and theft.

Similarly, if you are a prepper who owns such a cabin, it is ethical to keep it unlocked and stocked with food, water and firewood in case someone is stranded and needs shelter. That’s a common practice in Alaska and many parts of Canada, and I’ve heard it done as far south as upstate New York. Remember, the entire point of prepping is to prevent suffering and death. Clearly, your own well-being comes before that of others, but if your life isn’t on the line -- for example, you aren’t currently living in that cabin -- then your concern should be for other innocent people.

I will admit that things become a bit fuzzy if that cabin is your bug-out location and is filled with your preps, because in that case anything which is taken by a stranger in need is conceivably being taken from you when you might need them in the future. This is made even fuzzier if you keep firearms among your preps. In a situation like that, what I recommend is a bit of misdirection. Leave the door unlocked and some back staples like food, water and blankets for such a lost soul, but keep your main preps both hidden and locked.

Good places to hide your preps are:

  • Under the floorboards
  • Buried a few feet underground 
  • Concealed nearby, under a camouflage tarp or otherwise made to look like part of the terrain
Whichever you choose, it’s important to make sure that these preps are sealed tightly. Not only will this prevent damage from moisture, but a tight seal will lock in odors that might attract hungry wildlife.

Next week, I’ll talk about the best containers for such storage. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Bell Has Tolled, and For The Last Time

I don't talk about it much anymore, but when I was younger, I was really into professional wrestling. I was a mark (someone who believed it was real) for a while when I first started watching, but when I became a smark (a fan who knows about the choreography and storytelling) I began to enjoy it even more.

I've drifted away from it as I've grown. I used to be tuned in every Monday night for WWF RAW and WCW Nitro, through the Monday Night Wars and the nWo and all of the drama, but one thing kept me coming back: The Undertaker.

I wasn't there for the debut of The Undertaker, but I clearly remember through the haze of the years seeing on a friend's television a re-run of the Summerslam event where The Undertaker fought a fake Undertaker. I was mesmerized. Being a weird kid from a young age, seeing something so bizarre and otherworldly was inspiring and exciting, and growing from weird kid into goth kid in high school kept me connected to the 'Taker and his storylines.

The other day, after seeing Logan, I jokingly told a friend that I couldn't take Wolverine and The Undertaker retiring within a month of each other. There's some truth to that; The Undertaker retiring has hit me harder than any of the celebrity deaths that were all the rage in the last year. Even though I wasn't a regular viewer, and watching wrestling had dwindled down to finding streams of his rare matches on the internet some weeks after they took place, I still came back to watch The Undertaker fight.

I get that it's not real. He's not really a cult leader, or an undead cowboy, or an old west zombie mortician. I get that wrestling isn't a real fight... but it's still athleticism. It's still people putting their bodies at risk for entertainment, and it's still about putting on a god damn good show, and no one did that better than Mark Calaway.
Even at age 50, the man can still do a 40 inch vertical leap.
Even at a billed height of 6 foot 10, inches he's climbing the top rope and diving over it like a man a full foot shorter would do.
He's throwing punches that makes you cringe when they (at least appear to) connect.
And that's just the physicality! The theatrics are on another level entirely. They've changed over the years, keeping the gimmick of "The Undertaker" fresh, and I haven't always liked them (Big Evil and American Badass I can choose to overlook), but that coat and hat will always be remembered.

This last weekend was his final appearance. I haven't seen the whole match, but I saw the important part: I saw what happened after the match. They played his music, and the lights dimmed. He put his hat and coat back on, faced the crowds cheering him on like a victorious Roman gladiator, and then...

Then he took his coat and hat off. Folded his coat and laid it in the ring. Took his hat off and laid it on his coat. The Undertaker retired.

It was time, too. I'm glad he's walking away at this point. Tall guys like him are prone to injury, and given how hard he's worked, and how much he's put that body through, he's probably falling apart by now.

He's left a huge legacy behind, both in the ring and out, as I've heard stories about how he's helped out people and has been extremely supportive to the people he's worked with, and I'll always be a fan.

Good night, Dead Man. You'll always be remembered.
I've certainly paid my Ministry of Darkness Dues

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