Sunday, August 30, 2009

Update to Sidebar

Hey folks, it's Sunday morning, bright and sunny. This week zipped by, but for me that's been a good thing. School is starting, and the teachers and administration were in all out panic mode to get prepped. We got 'em where they needed to be, but as always there is plenty of work waiting for me when I get back tomorrow.

You'll notice a few more goodies on the sidebar in the links section. For the survival-minded, I put in a link to Ferfal, aka "Surviving in Argentina," which will fan the flames of urgency to be prepared. While we are not Argentina, the rapid decline of a once prosperous country is eye-opening and shocking. Ferfal has posted religiously and is something of an icon for modern survivalists. I've read his blog from start-to-finish, and it's well-worth your time. Lots of shit that you probably never knew happened, happened. It's enlightening and somewhat scary.

Also in the mix, as promised, is a link to Started by Madogre and a couple of other guys, there's tons of good technical info on there for the firearms enthusiast-connossueir. It's also the only gun forum I can view while at work (as in during lunch). The rest have been blocked by the new firewall for "weapons."

I tout around a Phantom Light Holster everyday from Raven Concealment Systems, and now they are in the sidebar. Their store is over at The Malabar Front, a reference to the line of resistance of the Orwellian state. Considering where things are going right now in this country, the title is appropo.

Finally, I added Jethro Tull to the side bar. As most of you know, I am a Tull fanatic and have been for a long time. Ian Anderson is the musical genius behind the band, not to mention Martin Barre. While their music is modern rock with influences from various times and cultures, the band is perhaps best known for Ian's sometimes classy, sometimes crazy minstrel persona that comes out in their music.

That's it for now. Enjoy your week.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

24, 1984, preps

Well, we just finished Season 4 of 24 a few days ago. As I mentioned earlier, this has been the best season by far. Non-stop domination. There were so many great scenes in this installment, it's tough to pick out the best. One of my favorites is the staged robbery scene from which the above pic has been taken. This shows Jack at his best--on the edge!

I recently finished reading 1984 by George Orwell. Not the most edifying work, but I am glad I've read it. Now I know what all the hype is about. You can basically read the first 50 or 60 pages and get the gist of the world. The rest of the story is just the author's sick and twisted sense of humor being perpetrated on his hapless audience.

At present, I'm reading the Aeneid for leisure and A.G Sertillanges The Intellectual Life for study. At about this time every year, I start feeling the back to school ju-ju in the air, feeling that I should be studying, even though study is not presently a requirement for anything in particular in my vocation. I find myself fancying grad school and embarking on some great work of scholarship, but this never materializes. In about a month or so this present desire will give way to my desire for the smell of burning leaves, chopping wood, and hanging out by the wood stove.

I have more than half a cord of wood or so. It's split, stacked, and dried. I will likely purchase a couple cords in the coming months for the heating season and forgo the incessant foraging. I love cutting and chopping wood, but I want to spend my time in the garden patch this winter, clearing brush and debris. I am sure I will get some wood splitting in somewhere along the way, though. Propane is just ungodly expensive when you are getting filled up every two months. We will see how heating with wood goes.

I watched a documentary called Urban Dangertoday, available online. Actually, I skimmed through the last half of it. An interesting albeit cheesy documentary on homesteading/prepping. There's some good points about self-sufficiency and living off the land made in it, but unless you are a devoted or beginning prepper, it's probably just really lame. Myself, I picked up a few good tips from U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a depression survivor who built a neat little cabin in the hills. If you decide to watch any of it, his cabin walk-through is the best part. The rest you can skip.

Ok, that's it for now. Hope you all had a great weekend.

Over and Out,


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Forest Walk, Creek Swim...

Today, Clare and I went with some of the Hatkes down to a secluded spot, pictured above, in Passage Creek. The creek, about 5-8 minutes from our house, winds through Fort Valley and a narrow gorge, terminating at the Shenandoah river. The creek, possibly the cleanest creek in the state, is stocked with Trout several times a year, and though it gets fished hard, has many neat spots for fishing.

The spot pictured above is actually the swimming hole we visited, although only half of it is shown and the water was a bit lower today. One really nifty thing about this location is that there is a bit of a sandy shoal on which to hang out and launch your swimming expedition. It is actually quite deep in the middle of the creek, with enough space to do laps if that's your fancy, or jump off the rope swing.

Me, I was just happy to get in the water. The setting is almost western, with plenty of yellow pine lining the canyon. The relaxing sound of water splashing into the basin creates a splendid backdrop on which to relax and enjoy yourself, provided there are no yocals.

Actually we passed some yocals today as we slowly meandered toward our spot. Unfortunately, "Ginger," what looked to be a pit-bill mix, was not taking too kindly to our passage and starting to get out of hand. Its owners took control of the situation and further secured the leash, but it was certainly not the way I was hoping to start off our time at the creek.

As I watched this scenario unfold before me, I was going into the "zone," wherein the mind and body become broadly focused on the totality of a situation in preparation for a martial response. In this case, that was response was to draw my sidearm and put a 124 gr. hollow point bullet in the animal's rib cage. I am certainly glad it did not come to that, but it was one of those moments in which I was glad I was carrying. I would have not wanted to look on in horror, helpless, while watching someone get mauled.

For the record, I love dogs, but if you are out in public with an unsecured and potentially hostile animal, I will ask questions later--after I save my own ass.

In any event, it did not come to that and no sooner had we arrived then we had the place to ourselves. Swimming in the creek was uber-relaxing, the kind of thing you see in a tourist advertisement for a particular state or park. It was a real blessing to be able to spend a good chunk of our day there, and I look forward to returning.

Peace Out,


Sunday, August 09, 2009


So I finally made the pilgrimage out to Antietam. All I can say is, "Wow. This is a civil war enthusiast's dream."

We made the drive up via Harpers Ferry and Boonsboro, Md. Scenic and beautiful, we overshot our left turn to Sharpsburg by several miles. As it turns out, our turn wasn't marked by a sign, or at least well-marked, from the direction we came. But as we double-backed, we were dutifully guided by a hallowed brown sign. Thank goodness.

We crossed over the "middle bridge" of the battlefield continuing through Sharpsburg to get a feel for the town. Civil war historians do not lie when they call this town "small but quaint." The architecture is indeed quite pretty and pleasant to behold, especially when considering that the town, because of the war, is a historic landmark.

To the town's east is the National Battlefield. I do not think I can do it justice but I will try. The visitor's center is small but exciting. There were more live presentations at the center scheduled in one day than some battlefields get in an entire year. (Or so it seemed to me.)

On top is a glass enclosed observation deck that commands a stunning view of 2/3 of the terrain.
From that vantage point outside, we had the privilege of sitting in on a "battlefield orientation" in which the essential details of the battle were explained flawlessly and dramatically by the park ranger. I loved it. We are talking no-holds-barred pure and utter domination here. It was like being in a classroom, but instead of a chalk board behind the teacher, there stood, in it's full array of glory, mile upon glorious mile of exquisitely preserved battlefield.

Yes, it is clear that this is a civil war buff's true bastion. After the orientation, inside the observation deck, there was a presentation on the rifles of the battle and war about to begin, but with 2 fussy children, we needed to move on to snag ice cream and take the driving tour.

This brought us to the "lower" bridge, aka "Burnside's Bridge," the third theatre or front of the battle. Despite the fact that thousands of people died nearby, this edifice is one of the most romantic places I have ever been. It is the stuff of poetry and legend, something that you might find in a collection of writings by Wordsworth or Tennyson. I initially didn't want to stop because we had just got the girls situated, but all of them protested a mere driveby. And I am glad they did.

After jetting out of Sharpsburg, we crossed the Potomac into Shepardstown, Wv. and were delighted to discover a cool town. Home to a university, Shepardstown, founded in 1720, while small, boasts a street that is like a "Diagon Alley" for Nick and Clare. Cafes, book nooks, boutiques, and other interesting establishments line the street from end to end, begging further exploration. We'll return, but I'll be sure to avoid the cafe with the usual liberal propaganda hung all over the place.

In sum, Antietam is a fantastic place to visit. Perfect for a romantic weekend getaway with plenty of stuff nearby to visit and see. We will definitely be back.

Over and Out,