Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Year in Review

Well, it's been a quick but eventful year.
The wood floors have been refinished. I've learned to build furniture and have become part of a woodshop, while adding a few pieces to my own home. My kids are a year older. I went on a real vacation and visited Asheville while living in a timber frame house for a few days. I've stood under a waterfall with the love of my life as well as slid down another repeatedly. I finished the drywall in my home's sole bathroom. I've been fortunate to hang out with friends both near and far, and have read a few new books.
I really can't complain.
As winter begins in earnest, I have found that I like to take time to catch my breath and reflect, to take stock of what's been accomplished over the year and what lies ahead. While 2012 will be an epochal year for our country (think elections, not zombies necessarily), I hope it will be prosperous.
Not everyone thinks in terms of new resolutions at this time. They dislike lying to themselves or thinking that just because it's a new year they have to do something. Others know that if there's something that you need to resolve to do, you usually need to do it now, not at some arbitrarilly pre-ordained time, such as Jan. 1. Myself, I am thinking in terms of goals and what I want to accomplish in 2012.
Other than capping a few zombies, whose population seems to be on the rise, I'd like to do the following:
1.) Finish the bathroom (for real)
2.) Run a 5k
3.) Join the woodshop full time
4.) Pay off my installment debt
5.) Design and begin building/prepping for a timber framed addition to my house
Not sure how I am going pull off all these projects, but I think these goals are mostly achievable if I set my mind to it. I don't want to be working on my house forever and have it be an eternal project. I want to get it done and stop screwing around. I have the vision now for it, so the time has come to get to brass tacks and stop screwing around.
Here's looking forward to the run ahead...
Over and Out,

The Year in Review

Well, it's been a quick but eventful year.
The wood floors have been refinished. I've learned to build furniture and have become part of a woodshop, while adding a few pieces to my own home. My kids are a year older. I went on a real vacation and visited Asheville while living in a timber frame house for a few days. I've stood under a waterfall with the love of my life as well as slid down another repeatedly. I finished the drywall in my home's sole bathroom. I've been fortunate to hang out with friends both near and far, and have read a few new books.
I really can't complain.
As winter begins in earnest, I have found that I like to take time to catch my breath and reflect, to take stock of what's been accomplished over the year and what lies ahead. While 2012 will be an epochal year for our country (think elections, not zombies necessarily), I hope it will be prosperous.
Not everyone thinks in terms of new resolutions at this time. They dislike lying to themselves or thinking that just because it's a new year they have to do something. Others know that if there's something that you need to resolve to do, you usually need to do it now, not at some arbitrarilly pre-ordained time, such as Jan. 1.
Myself, I am thinking in terms of goals and what I want to accomplish in 2012. Other than capping a few zombies, whose population seems to be on the rise, I'd like to do the following:
1.) Finish the bathroom (for real)
2.) Run a 5k
3.) Join the woodshop full time
4.) Pay off my installment debt
5.) Design and begin building/prepping for a timber framed addition to my house
Not sure how I am going pull off all these projects, but I think these goals are mostly achievable if I set my mind to it. I don't want to be working on my house forever and have it be an eternal project. I want to get it done and stop screwing around. I have the vision now for it, so the time has come to get to brass tacks and stop screwing around.
Here's looking forward to the run ahead...
Over and Out,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Back in Munster and Thereabouts

Well, we had a bodacious trip to the midwest, and it was with some sadness to that the time had come to leave.

Monday night we left the homestead to acquire the necessary fuel for our trip, consisting of a bit of 87 Octane and a venti mocha from Starschmuck's. Through intermittent and dense fog, I guided the van through the night betwixt high mountain passes, stopping only to visit the privy and salute West Virginia for its architecturally attractive and squeaky-clean rest stop high atop the scenic ridges along I-68.

We made it to Indiana that morning, catching a few zzz's east of Indianapolis, before arriving at our first stop, the Schap residence. Our time there was too short, but consisted of good laughs, socializing, late night/early morning walks through the Old Town, not to mention a fine pipe smoke and brew from Lafayette's hometown brewery, courtesy of one M. Schap. We couldn't have asked for better hosts and were happy to see them in high spirits.

Arriving in Lake County is always a bit surreal for me, and I kinda turn into a different person. It must be an element in the air from the steel mills' smoke stacks or something, but my usual giddiness returned when the wheels of our van crossed over the county line and finally into Munster early that afternoon. Our family joined my parents for our now customary trip to Cabela's, where I stocked up on shirts. A fly rod also made it's way into my cart and some cool older dude gave me a $10 off coupon at the register since he couldn't use it. I hope to put the rod into action in the near future and acquire a taste for the local Brook Trout that gets stocked around here.

After a tasty and very satisfying trip to Sanfratello's in Glenwood, IL, my first hometown, I met up with Tim D. and his brother at Three Floyds in Munster. We waited 45 minutes outside for our seat and fought the chill with an endless supply of hometown hilarity. Finally, after many visits to the brewery, I obtained and quaffed some Calumet Queen and their brash hefe-weizen, Drunk Monk. Tim and I departed to the pool hall, Johnny's Tap, and finally Munster Donut to relive old times before retiring at 3am.

Turkey Day was a blur, after waking and visiting my dad's work, where I acquired an olde jointer, and then crashing for a few hours at my parents, I woke up to the arrival of the rest of my family, who I had not seen in over a year. The food was great and everyone had lots to say regarding their political feelings. I abstained from speaking to much and establishing whole-scale assualts, not only to preserve what semblance of familial feeling I have left, but also to see what and how others in the region are thinking. I also enjoyed some wine from Von Jakob in Southern Illinois.

Friday began with breakfast at hallowed ground, The Commander on Ridge Road. The fare was delicious, as usual, and wholly pleasing the palate. Afterwards, Clare and I visited my wonderful Aunt Marsha, while simultaneously acquiring her son Tim to join us for the day in Chicago. Before we left, Aunt Marsha treated us to Kreshiki's--my favorite polish pastry, but one that I had not had in half a decade.

Our itinerary first delivered us to Intelligensia on Broadway and then back into the loop to the dock at 1 N. Dearborn. Bobby, Tim's brother, generously gave us his parking space, where he worked, to allow us to visit the Christkindl Market across the street, and then Macy's, for free. After working up an appetite by waxing philosophical Tim steered us to one of his old haunts for lunch in Little Italy, Pompei Bakery. Established in 1909, I believe, Pompei has been serving up world class lasagna and other treats for a long, long time. This was the first time I made a visit, but it definitely won't be the last.

After another cup of Intelligensia, we sped home under the cover of darkness and dropped Tim off, before arriving at my parents for leftovers. Stuffed, I had a token piece of Turkey and watched the Black Hawks with my dad achieve victory over the L.A. Kings.

Saturday brought us back to Chicago, after a home cooked breakfast at my parents'. We were given complimentary tickets to the Museum of Science and Industry from one of my mom's friends. While the place was loco, we did get to see the model ships, U-505, the circus and riddle section as well as the fairy castle and Yesterday's Mainstreet.

Leaving the Museum we then ventured to Lincoln Park zoo after getting some smoothies in the rain at Jamba Juice. The zoo was awesome--we had it all to ourselves because of the weather. At nightfall, the zoo lit up into a Christmas wonderland that was definitely magical amidst the big city and was but another classic experience there and example of the city of doing things right when it comes to having class and putting on a good show.

We went home, sad that this was our last day in the city, but our frowns were turned into smiles when we met my parent's at Eduardo's in Munster for some sumptuous deep dish.

The next morning we awoke for 10 AM mass at the Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Munster, IN. That place just makes you want to be holy, and afterwards we joined my sister's family for breakfast at one of the many divey Greek-restaurants nearby.

We took the rest of the day to get ourselves together before going out for a last supper at a new Mexican restaurant. In the morning, we quickly bid our adieus, snagged some Munster Donuts and coffee and began the trek to Youngstown, Ohio, where we met up with my friend's Jason's dad and had a look at some 100-year-old wood he wants hauled off. We stayed at the Fairfield Marriot in Poland, watching Pawn Stars and Picking Pickers or whatever into the night before heading home the next day.

All in all it was a good trip. Most of my trips blend together, so I wanted to put events down in writing so I can refer back to them from time to time and reminisce when I have the chance. It was certainly very fun and enlivining to be back in the region, especially at this time of year when people are feeling nostalgic about their hometown (as regards to the movie "A Christmas Story"). It was good to reconnect and see friends and family and remember home.

But it was good to get back into the mountains and check back into the hollar, too.

Over and Out,


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shenandoah Fall & Stuff

This has been one of the prettiest Fall seasons I can remember here in Va. The leaves in the mountains are nearly finished with their magnificent display of color, while the forests at work, this past week, have been at their peak. In a sense, it has been like being treated to two distinctly different Falls on my daily commute, but I see no reason to complain.

The crisp weather and winds that have swept through here, sans rain for the most part, have been perfect for reflection, on the season, the year, and the days ahead. Below, are a couple of my ruminations and plans, going forward as I look ahead to the winter and first months of 2012.

Wood: We have made even progress through our wood pile this past two months. Because the weather has been so cooperative, and also because my wood pile has been seasoned, I am getting more bang for the buck with the stove. On hand, I have a significant amount of seasoned locust and red oak, not to mention a massive pile of white oak, waiting to be sawn. Our freak snow storm from two weeks ago took down enough branches to supply me for kindling for 3 seasons. It was ridiculous. They have been piled high to be allowed to dry out.

Tax Season: This Tax season can't come soon enough, for me at least. I've been looking forward to it immensely. I have a number of projects and things that need to be finished around here with the extra cash, that will hopefully bring us to the next phase of life in the holler--expansion. But first, I would like to see a perimeter fence installed along our property line, to allow both our kids and our (other) animals some defined space. Secondly, it is high time we purchase a well hand-pump for emergency purposes.

Weaponry & Supplies: In addition, adding a red dot and a few other accouterments to the AR, as well as another batch of 5.56, 9mm, 00BK, and new Glock mags to the cache, and rounding out the first aid supplies and larder are on the list. Along with knocking out a debt or two, I think we will be as well situated as possible to face the tumultuous seas that will surely spill onto our shores and envelope humanity during the zombie 2012 apocolypse.

Bail-Out Bag: I've ditched my formless Jack Bauer wannabe bag for EDC in favor of an affordable attache, aka "Bail-Out Bag" from L.A. Police Gear. For the price. S29.99+shipping ($42 total), I am hella impressed. There is a pocket for everything and more, and I can always find my shit. It's easy and pleasurable to stay organized with this thing, which when you are in a hurry or bad situation, is key. No rummaging through your bag for the hatchet--it's right there!

The new bag comes with two pistol concealment compartments on each side, making bag carry less of a hassle for those times one is so inclined. Combined with a 3-day pack from L.A. Police Gear--my over night bag, if you will--I feel well-poised to cover most of my bases where gear is concerned.

Gear in General: Over all, I have found the most workable scenario, at this point is a 3 tiered approach: 1) What you have on you; 2.) What you carry with you, in the building and leave while you wander about (as my job demands while I am at work); and 3.) Essential supplies in your base of operation (vehicle) to help get you to home base in case of an emergency. These 3 tiers seem to work well with one another, and having a functional bags makes it that much smoother and better.

Ok, I am about to crash. Good night.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

To Catch a Thief...

We got him.

Today, while at work, sitting at my desk near the front entrance, I heard the cover plate to the collection box clang to the floor. I knew something was amiss, and before I knew what I was doing I was up out of my chair chasing after an 18-year-old thief. When he saw me and I shouted "Stop! Thief!" he sped up, booking it through Mary's Garden down our main driveway towards the neighborhood.

Luckily for me, Melvin, my assistant, is always looking for a fight, and he was quick on his feet and engaged him immediately, when I yelled, "Stop him, Melvin! He's a thief!"

Melvin was painting the entrance gate, and saw this fool and me chasing him. The thief had a pair of scissors in his hand, which he used to pry open the poor box, and made it past Melvin, who then engaged in pursuit. Melvin, who is wicked fast, gave chase, even though his shoe fell off. He continued nonetheless, all while talking shit to the kid.

Seeing this and that I was being outpaced, I turned around, ran to the van, picking up my phone that I had dropped on the way, and sped off into the neighborhood to find the would-be thief pinned to the ground with Melvin on top of him, talking--no, yelling--at the punk. I called 911, the cops arrived shortly, we filled out our statements, the cops thanked us for getting this dip, and the vagabond left in cuffs.


1.) I have played previously this scenario over in my head several times. "What if ?" Now I know, what if. You can have a plan for what you will do, but in the end you act on instinct.

2.) I need to run regularly. I lost my breath quickly. Too quickly. If it wasn't for Melvin chasing this bastage down, we may not have found him.

3.) Stealth. Hindsight is 20-20. My approach worked, but if I had just booked it from my office without shouting anything, I may have prevented this dude from furthering his adrenaline rush and speeding up. I did succeed, however, in driving him out directly, giving chase and alerting Melvin in the process. In retrospect, I could have taken a different exit and possibly cut this kid off, with him least expecting it.

4.) All my EDC tools flew from my pouch while I was in pursuit. Time for a new pouch.

5.) Win the psychological battle. This kid was not tackled. He was talked into submission after being cornered and ordered to the ground. He knew he had done wrong, and is lucky it went so well for him. His conscience worked against him and so he eventually listened to us. We were lucky as well. Not every thug is so obedient.

6.) Bystanders. People are unprepared for conflict. People were outside. County construction workers witnessed the chase. Everyone simply watched, mesmerized something was happening.

7.) Mentally, I was in the game, but my physical condition sucked and deteriorated way too fast in the adrenaline dump.

8.) It would have been helpful to stretch this morning, have been wearing running shoes instead of steel toe work boots.

9.) Adreniline changes everything and puts you on a different mental plane. Fight or flight. In this case, sheer overwhelming verbal violence/force frightened the thief into submission.

10.) Murphy's Law Rules. I damn near twisted my foot running through this garden. This kid ran right into Melvin's path. Melvin's shoe fell off. The kid gave up relatively easily. Etc. Etc. In a live situation, things happen that we just can't forsee, though we have to be prepared for it as best as we can.

Stay safe out there. Be prepared.

Some days the dragon wins, but on other days you catch the thief under the best of circumstances.

This was that day.

Over and Out,


Monday, October 17, 2011

Varied Horizons

I have a lot to say, having been away from the Blog for a bit. So I'll just get right into it.

Today, we made the trip back out to Lost River State Park in West Va., easily one of the nicest and most serene forests I've visited. The fall colors scintillated in the sunlight from underneath the vast canopy, while the creek that runs through the park chortled with vitality and strength from the recent rains.

As always, our trip here feels much needed, almost like a pilgrimage. When we find ourselves there, we have this place to ourselves on the whole. The other visitors we come across are usually a joyful lot. picnicking or partying under a pavilion with their families. The park ranger was cool too, not to mention that he was fortunate to carry a Glock on his hip as part of his duties.

Visiting Lost River allows one to forget the world and assess it properly, to refocus and breathe anew. Far from the smelly jackasses on Occupy Wall Street who continue to foment revolution, out here in the sticks the seasons continue their natural cycle, heedless of the Left and their ilk.

Indeed, the world is spinning out of control. It remains to be seen if Europe will manage to find another temporary fix for its financial woes and whether the United States' own standard of living will immediately plummet. Regardless of whatever else we face, I am in agreement with Jack Spirko: an economic Depression is coming and that it is now unavoidable.

Reading Clare's ancestral histories of late has provided a clear insight on how her forefathers weathered the Depression and the years that preceded it. Several things stand out. Though poor, they were excellent farmers, who made farming a near art-form by way of hard work and a strong cultural pride. While others wanted, they never starved. They worked like beasts, wasted nothing, and built their lives from scratch, sharing in a strong local community.

Did I mention that they did not have any electricity or indoor plumbing until the mid-40s, or that the first tractor was purchased in 1948, replacing their mule-driven plow?

In our own day farming and even small scale gardening is a ton of hard work, which requires a great deal of follow through and commitment. Community rises out of necessity. Innovation and self-sufficiency require determination and imagination. Opportunities have to be seen for what they are and seized.

What am I getting at here?

Our candy-ass generation is in a whole lot of trouble.

Prep On,


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Musings: Do I Miss Chicago?

Sometimes I get nostalgic and dreamy about "the region" and Chi-town, but I usually stop myself.

Why be nostalgic? What is the damn point? I left. I'm gone. That's it. There was a time where I felt a ton of pride at being from Chicago. I still do. Yet while I grew up in the rust belt and had experiences that were certainly unique and definitely defined by place, I always desired to leave the area in search of adventure and perhaps something more.

Home will always be home I guess. I can't change that and would not. All of my close friends that I grew up with left to find their own way. Jason and Tim ran off to Cali, while Jake married Tim's ex and moved to Valpo. Jimmy D is a master electrician at this point and owns the house he grew up in.

All that said, I could have gone back. I could have returned to a life of WTF, where the seasons of the year are as much hockey and baseball as they are spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Occasionally I ruminate about what it would have been like to purchase a bungalow, fix it up, go to Sunday mass in a handful of regional Churches that look like an old school cathedral. To forget about what's happening in the world and follow the Hawks' every game, hitting up the best pizza known to man at my very whim, and being around lots of people who think in the same "regional" way.

The good news is I am not totally deprived, to my way of thinking. Good pizza exists east of Chicago, although it's taken me years to discover it (it's authentic Chicago style, of course), and the mountains and valleys make up for lack of Blackhawks' and White Sox coverage.

At the end of the day, I would rather be on a couch in front of a fire place in a country cabin (or the proximation of) with a cup of tea than chillin' in a Lincoln Park flat with my Intelligensia. To be sure, I've had my taste of city life excitement--in Georgetown in Washington, DC--and realized during that time that I'd rather be in the mountains in front of the hearth.

Now that I am here, I can honestly say that I am satisified with my decision and that my desires were not unfounded.

Still, sometimes the homesick nostalgia lunges for my throat. At this point I beat it down with ease and it's my choice to think about home. But really, while home is a place, it's also in your heart. It's also where you choose to rest your head for the night. Many people have passed through Munster and Chicago since I've lived there and rode my bike to Route 30 to visit 10th planet. It's a changed place since then, as all places change, but the memory and the nostalgic factor in the earth underneath it all remain. And there's more Schoop's too.

Regarding returning for a visit, it's mixed bag, hit or miss. Sometimes people are on their A-game and life is good. At others, people are dwelling in darkness and the shadow of death. I guess I'm glad they're real, but in the end it's all a toss up, and that's just family I'm talking about.

It's cool to be from some place. It also can be cool to venture out to go some place and live there as well. If there's one thing I've learned, however, it's that regardless of whether or not you're playing bocce and drinking a Corona on your 1/10 acre plot in Munster, the grass has an odd way of seeming greener on either side of the fence.

But really it's greener in the mountains. Really.

Over & Out,


Thursday, September 08, 2011

Western NC Adventure

Well, in about 4 days or so, I got to do just about everything I've always wanted to do. The only thing is, our vacation had to end.

Instead of making an extended beach trip, we drove down to Black Mountain, NC this year to see what we've been missing in the Appalacian State. Unfortunately, it is more than we would have liked to admit.

Day 1: Driving into Asheville was stupendous. Our kids were great and we left under the cover of darkness and fog. In Blacksburg we broke our fast at Gillie's, my favorite breakfast joint East of NW Indiana, aka "the Region." With full stomachs and extra coffee, our route continued through the hills in Tenessee directly into the Blue Ridge proper, which form an enormous fortress wall to the surrounding countryside. Entry was exciting as hell to this flatlander. Going through these guys blew me away.

We landed at our accommodations, a cabin called "Byrd's Nest," at half past 3PM. The structure, a cozy artistic timber-frame, serenely bestrides the mountain summit, overlooking the hills around it. From our bedroom window we watched the sunrise in majesty each morning over the Blue Ridge as our kids begin their daily routine of mayhem.

Day 2: We spent our first morning getting acquainted with our immediate surroundings, making a trip into the quaint town of Black Mountain. That day and each day thereafter began with a trip to The Dripolator Coffee House. The coffee was supreme, and quickly became an all-time favorite.

Black Mountain is a chill town filled with numerous crafts from relatively local artisans, and had shops that catered to nearly all of my interests. Craftsmanship and things handmade are cherished in the area. Like most of Western NC that we visited, Black Mountain stood in stark contrast to the pretentious, self-important Northern VA area in which we generally dwell.

For lunch we picnicked amidst a park/creek/retreat in the small town of Montreat. The setting was beautiful and perfect for the kids.

Day 3: Waterfalling adventure. With Dripolator in hand, we took to the Blue Ridge Parkway to stop first at Sliding Rock Waterfall and then at Looking Glass, Bridal Veil (the lame one), and Dry Rock falls.

Sliding Rock was the most fun and we had it virtually all to ourselves. Basically, it's an 80-foot or so waterslide in 50 degree mountain water. You sit down and scream for your life as you smoothly descend with ever increasing speed into an 8ft deep pool. The water was shocking at first. Once my body acclimated to my personal insanity, I didn't feel it at all and it actually became quite refreshing.

The other falls were beautiful to behold as well. Our drive was full of switchbacks on a US highway, taking us all the way to Franklin, NC and ended at an Asheville Brewery for Pizza and decent craft beer.

Day 4: We returned to Asheville to peruse the shops, with lunch at a place called "Boca," which is Spanish for "mouth." That evening I joined Clare's dad and brother on a trip to Troy & Sons moonshine distillery for a tour and then a beer at Highland's Brewing Co. We celebrated that night with a game of cranium as we fantasized about how fun it would be to live in Black Mountain and own Byrd's Nest.

Day 5: It was hard leaving. The grass is always greener on the other side, and I was able to sample living in a beautiful cabin at the top of a mountain, after visiting waterfalls, creeks, pottery stores, Dripolator, and all the rest. You couldn't make for a more biased opinion from me, I guess, regarding the place, but no matter how you cut it, Western NC is simply breathtaking.

Anyway, we hopped on the Blue Ridge Parkway, hiked Linville Falls, and continued to Boone, where we were happy to find a bustling college town and some Mellow Mushroom Pizza. Being Labor Day weekend, all the hotels were booked, but we were lucky to find a room in Abingdon, VA. We drove back via Damascus, an Appalacian trail town, and obtained our lodging.

Day 6: We raced north on I-81 to Blacksburg for mass at St. Mary's, and joined Clare's brother and girl friend for brunch at Cracker Barrell. The trip home ran smoothly and we were deposited in Strasburg by 6PM.

Summary: Black Mountain, NC and the area that surrounds it, is the jam, notwithstanding some of the liberalism in the place. But you don't get that sick feeling of liberalism that you get in San Francisco or Adam's Morgan. The area is completely chill, with mom and pop institutions dominating over the big-box stores. The beauty of the mountains fosters tranquillity, creativity, and adventure. With the exception or Spruce Pine, NC, all of the town we visited were upbeat, not depressed and down on their luck.

In a word, I would definitely go back.

Peace Out,


Monday, August 22, 2011

Into the Tumult...

Beware, it's late and I'm rambling.

While the world continues it's plunge into uncertain times, I feel at peace knowing that I no longer have to look for "the sign" that the SHTF is here, at least to my mind.

I guess you could say that's a good thing, that is, the feeling of liberation from anticipation of what is perceived to be inevitable. I just don't care at least in the same way. I am more worried about getting the next bag of rice or chilling with my family, than the next news story stating that we are running off a cliff. At this point, the plummeting is just a matter of acceptance of society at large.

And that brings me to my point: it is difficult not to focus on what we anticipate in earnest and put our minds to the tasks at hand when the spectre of what's anticipated always seems to be looming on the horizon. If you're like me, you keep looking up, waiting for the next lightning strike, becoming distracted and hoping you don't get zapped in the process.

Not that it does one any actual good to know "the day and the hour." When lightning flashes, it's instantaneous, and that's it. There's not a whole lot one can do about it, except not hold a metal rod while pissing under a tree.

The whole idea is to stay out of and weather the storm.

And that's what a bunker is for.

Over and Out,


Monday, August 15, 2011

Cabinet Shop

The next major stage in my preparedness adventure, is to work from home, or relatively close to it.

My goal is to create my own cabinet shop--that is, Strong Oaks Woodshop, Buckton Division--out back for part to eventually full time action. I am scheming, yes, and quite honestly, I am not too far out from that goal in terms of having the space set up. Maybe not perfectly at first, but enough to spend more time out there and start banging together projects, such as tables and the like.

In my plans I am looking to switch out my jointer, radial arm saw, and Jet Table Saw, to fund purchases for what I really need: a planer, sliding bevel miter saw, and a more robust--stable and powerful--table saw.

My other ideas include an outfeed table for the table saw, a covered outdoor section in front of the building for activities like sanding simply working outside, and eventually an addition out back to the building.

Anyway, transitioning from working hella far out there to close to home is not easy and takes time, focus, and effort. I suppose if it were easy, everybody would do it, instead of just hopping in to commute wherever each day, picking up a Starbucks along the way to make the 1 hour plus drive more bearable.

This way, I don't have to worry about checking into a mental institution to feel better about myself, as I will shall be ever close to the high levels insanity at home.

Hopefully, that all works out.



Friday, July 29, 2011

Certain Doom

Well, it's official. The Republican majority leaders are cowards who have sold us down the river.

And now we are irrevocably screwed.

I've had my *mayday* moment. If there was a time to head to the hills, this should be it. Collapse is certain. My optimism about this nation's future has been wiped away by a hard, 200-proof dose of reality.

The establishment does not give a damn, and anything beyond this point will be too little too late.

Whether we look like Argentina or "The Road" at the end of this mess is anyone's guess.

For the prepared, it's a race against time and the tide has turned.

It's on.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

In Memoriam of Dr. Carroll

While I was attending Christendom (1997-2001), several guest speakers who came to the college were fond of saying that "we stand on the shoulders of giants."

Well, one of those giants is Dr. Warren H. Carroll.

During my time, few among the student body knew the man personally, and those that did may recall, not only his favorite sayings, but that he was a man one does not approach lightly. While he was generally very kind, he did not wish to be bothered with trifles. He set a tone, and unless you were of the bumbling stripe, you adhered to it.

Since his passing, much praise has been heaped on this man, and rightly so. Before Ex Corde Ecclesiae was ever issued, Dr. Carroll saw the desperate need to for renewal in authentic Catholic higher education, for a curriculum that would shape warriors to storm our apostate world with the sword of truth.

In addition to establishing a college that could rightfully be termed the "Westpoint of the Catholic Higher Education," Dr. Carroll researched and wrote profound historical narratives that today remain unmatched. With Robert Leckie's style of presentation and Daniel-Rops historical vision, Dr. Carroll did not hesitate to lay seige to modernity's false white towers as he pressed his historical narrative.

He remained fully engaged, ever focused and never wavering, until he could no more. For him there was no "debate." There is only the Truth, with a capital T, and that Truth is a divine person named Jesus, who will set you free.

Like many others, I was priveleged to have been a pupil of his. I traveled oversees to Spain with him and because of him to see and study the great monuments of Catholic history: the shrine at Fatima, Queen Isabels' birthplace at Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Philip II's unrivaled monastery-basilica-palace, El Escorial, the Valle de la Cruz, and the Alcazar of Toledo, among others.

Nothing inspired Dr. Carroll so much as the purity of purpose, faith, and heart of his personal heroes, those who rode the tide of history and turned it with their indefatigueable will. And now, thanks to him, in our lives, it is not likely that anyone will inspire us quite like Dr. Carroll, whose total impact, while felt, yet remains unquantifiable.

It may sound presumptuous to say that this man is in Heaven, but I daresay he is. What he built irrevocably changed my life for the good and did the same for thousands of others. Saints impact thousands, helping them to work out their salvation. This leads me to conclude, only by saying thus:

Dr. Carroll, pray for us!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Myself and a fellow prepper compared notes this past week at the range and beyond. Here are several insights I came to in the process:

1.) K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid) -- when it comes to preparedness, the simpler, the better.

2.) Whatever you do, stay consistent. Be conscious about it, not laisez-faire. Create habits that work for you, not against you, such as carrying your knife in the same place every day. When you reach for it, it ought to be there.

3.) Properly prepare your EDC. EDC stands "for everyday carry." I was called out for my bullshit attempt at a first aid kit, which was prepared with the idea that "I will buy one soon" and somehow soon always gets put off. Don't make life harder by continuing to inconvenience yourself by lack of essential gear for daily life. What are you going to say when it hits the fan and you need __________? "Well, I was going to buy it soon..." Sorry pal. Game over. Next.

4.) Don't put off essentials. Why oh why do we do this? Whether it's your every day carry, or purchasing some other necessary tool for life, such as a gun or whatever else, don't put it off. Get off your ass and make it happen. Don't look to others to be prepared for you. Have your shit together. No one else can do this for you.

5.) In general, get off your ass. Man the f-up. Take charge of your situation. Don't go half-assed for more than a milli-second. Do or do not. Be or be not. Face reality and deal with it. Do not pretend you did. Face your own bullshit and deal with it. Be the role model you seek.

Whether it's daily life or a major SHTF, shit's natural trajectory is to head towards the fan. It's coming. Be ready. No one can fill your shoes but you.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Where We Are

As I write, I have just finished reading an article on how the major dollar store chains failed to meet their quarterly objectives, because the people who typically shop at those stores, are making less money (and so therefore have less to spend).

Have you noticed how more and more news articles and shows are using the words "depression" and "collapse" in their regular dialogue? Few people actually know what the hell is going on, but suffice to say we are in a new spiral of decline.

Perhaps Jim Rawles of says it best: we are in a new era of spikes, which will ultimately culminate in a economic derivatives collapse like we have never seen, taking the whole world's economy with it.

Not to be all doom and gloom, but I am in agreement with him when he says now is the time to take your money out of the market and place it into "tangibles," things that have value in the here and now to house, feed, or protect you and yours. Versuses, you know, say keeping your money in a nameless stock.

As I've said before, I am no economist. I am, however, pretty damn good at seeing "what is," and "what is" is a freight train heading in our direction that has the words "We're Screwed" written on the front of it in neon yellow.

But before it hits and skids off the tracks, I will join my fellow sheep and pretend that this was all so very unexpected and unfortunate, and build another AR when no one's looking.

Best to you all.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Making the Hard Calls

Today I had to make a deliberate hard call in which I had time for sufficient reflection.

The nature of a hard call is the elusivity of its projected ramifications and being able to judge which is the better way. You can't quite put your finger on it or make a sound judgement of all the particulars in either direction, but yet a choice must be made.

Sometimes that's a choice that has far reaching consequences on people and things with an unclear trajectory on either side. Like apples and oranges, some paths are incommensurable, which means there is no common measurement by which they can be judged other than that they are round and called fruit, or difficult and treacherous.

While some decisions are not easily distilled, one guiding principle I sometimes employ when other questions don't seem to matter is thus: who should I piss off? This question often tramsforms a seemingly baffling or confusing scenario into one with a clear line of action, elucidating new data in the process.

Whether it's between countries or people on the street, knowing who to piss off can be the difference between life and death. The Japanese Samurai had a saying: timing is everything. Even the best defense is worthless if the timing is off in its delivery. Similarly choosing the right moment to make an enemy or make a friend is key in getting out of the line of attack.

Some things are perfectly predictable if we are aware, pay attention, and know what to look for. The danger is that we get lazy in our vigilance. This can never happen, but if it does, you can be sure that sooner or later, it won't be a predictable fastball down the middle coming at you, but a knuckle ball to the face.

The question is, do I walk or charge the mound?

Over and Out,


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chairs & Lairs

Ok, just chairs.

These guys were neat to make and seemed to take forever. It's hard to remember that, when you are building a set of chairs, you are not building a single piece of furniture, but multiple pieces of furniture.

They just shipped out to Cali this past week. And that feels good.

Peace Out,


Friday, June 10, 2011

An Ode to the Jeep...

Last night was one of those nights where freaky things just happen.

It reminded me of a night I had about a year ago, when I was driving home at about 9PM after a 12-hour work day. I was on I-66, watching what I thought was heat-lightning flash its way across the sky miles ahead. I had just got off the phone with Clare, who had just left for home from her mom's. It wasn't long before I realized that the bolts illuminating the mountaintops were not heat-lightning at all, but the real thing.

When I made this realization, I called Clare back immediately and strongly urged her to return to her mom's and spend the night. Instinctively, I knew I was in for it. The storm, about 5 miles ahead, was moving very fast, with its black clouds looming ominously in the distance. I considered turning around, but I didn't think I could outrun or outmaneuver the flashing behemoth that rumbled before me. No place seemed quite appropriate to hold up, I thought, as I passed mile marker 27.

Mysteriously alone, with the wind buffeting my Jeep, I stopped and threw her into 4-wheel and then continued on my way. When I rounded the corner by Delaplane, the I was confronted by the monstrosity before me, and found myself staring straight into the face of a dark and angry Leviathan. With the wind howling profusely and leaves scattering everywhere, I told my wife I loved her and simply said, "I gotta go." I dropped the phone and then gripped the steering-wheel with both hands for dear life, just as the next gust of wind slammed into the Jeep.

What followed was one of the most spectacular and frightening nights of my entire life. Lightning flashed everywhere at one-two second intervals with bolts of lightning striking hapless and hitherto unsuspecting objects to my left and right. I waded into the storm as into the valley of death, while sheets of endless rain threatened to crack my windshield and derail my vehicle. I must have said my Act of Contrition about 8 times, and figured if God was going to take me, he was going to take me right now, or in a few minutes.

Still the Jeep--my fast moving faraday cage--carried on.

I have never been so proud of my vehicle or thankful that I drove a Wrangler 4x4 as this night. The flash flooding that ensued on the highway was outclassed by the vehicle's impressive 31-inch Mud Tires. As the light show intensified, I dropped her into 3rd or 4th and took up residence in the fast lane, passing those few poor bastards unfortunate enough to be on the same road with me in their little sedans, hazards blinking. In Linden the flashing became so intense I was blinded and deafened by the roar of thunder crackling all around me. The SHIT was HITTING the FAN. And it was a big fan at that.

Still the Jeep carried on. And led.

When I made it all the way through the pass to the valley beyond, the worst of the storm was clearly behind me. I breathed a sigh of relief. I was alive and intact. That was all that mattered.

Arriving home, I found I was still shaking, partly from holding the wheel to keep the Jeep straight while tilting against the wind and rain, partly from fear. It is an experience that is now emblazoned in my mind, like an indelible mark on my soul.

So yesterday, when I was driving home and saw the lightning passing by me to the south, I was thankful it was not the same storm--almost a year ago to the day--that was gathering to descend upon me. I was fortunate to bypass it.

Hours earlier, Clare had texted me that the power was out in our area and that a Medivac had landed nearby. I arrived home to find that the power was still out, but I was grateful for my preps in the areas of readily accessible water, candles, flaslights, and, of course, my sidearm. The whole place was unusually quiet and there was no rush or subconscious anxiety to update the blog or check out facebook or read the news online. Just darkness.

Oftentimes one is tempted to fantasize about a life post- or sans-technology. One might find peace and solace in such a reverie, but while that is powerful consideration, the reality is I still want to be able to run my table saw and turn on the air conditioning.

Peace Out,


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Raising the Barr

Down here in the BOL, a 1.5" Barr Timber Framing Chisel has finally made its way to the tool box. I've been drooling over it for a year, and decided that now was the time to make the purchase. Anything by Barr Quarton is top shelf, and the wait did nothing to dim my excitement to own one. To say the least.

Being in the wood shop has become a quiet addiction. Yes quiet. I'd rather be there more than anywhere else except home or exploring, but I try not to talk about it (except on the blog or FB) overly much. The work, though fun, is serious and should be approached seriously and respectfully. I also think this thing is getting bigger by the day. Even in a slow economy, the orders are coming in and piling up. It's hard to make heads or tails of this, but it's definitely a bright spot, you know, before Armageddon hits, in say July or whenever.

Just in time for summer vacation.

Anyway, just thought I'd post up and change the scenery around here a bit. Peace out, peeps.

Over and Out,


Monday, May 09, 2011

Setting Up Shop

(Jewelry display table in heart pine)

As usual things here have been hella busy. When not at work, commuting, hanging around my wife and kids, or sleeping and doing chores (I usually do those at the same time), I have been at the wood shop.

We just finished a set of chairs and a table. While I have been instrumental in making the chairs happen, laying and cutting out the pieces, and sanding them, Mike has done the lion's share of the work. You would not believe how damn much time it takes to make a single chair, but the result is pretty sweet. I don't know if we'll get pictures up of this batch, but there will surely be others.

Above is a jewelry display table I made with 4 working drawers. It is going to a store. This was a fun project, especially since it was made from several pieces of scraps that looked much more suited for the burn pile than a showroom. Can you believe it? Pretty cool stuff, and I am glad to be a part of it.

Things at the house are moving right along. I wish I had more done, but all things in good time. We'll see what happens.

All the Best,


Monday, April 25, 2011

Investing in Life

Today, like yesterday, was a magnificent day. Picture perfect by every measure.

I took an offroad adventure to McDonald's Mill in Strasburg, Va., to secure 12 bundles of slab wood. I mentioned this before in a previous post, but had no luck getting a call back. I figured if I showed up in a muddy Jeep and work boots to place my order, it would show that I am serious about my purchase and have the opportunity to prove that I am in fact a worthy candidate and ok to do business with.

Out here that's generally the way with most of my fellow blue collar, local folk. They say yes, but don't deliver the goods until you prove that you are respectful and not a threat to their way of life. Since I've made this realization, life out here has gone much, much better. People here aren't Fairfaxian snob asses. They are real, basically good, but distrustful of folk they don't know until you prove them otherwise. I assume this is very much the way of the old south in this area. Every place has it's own distinct cultural norms. It's taken me a long time to figure this out, but now that I have, life seems to go smoother.

On my way back from errands, which brought me to Edinburgh, I decided to make my return home via Fort Valley through Edinburgh Gap. Fort Valley is a substantial valley within the valley that is the Shenandoah Valley, occupying the northern part of the region and splitting it into thirds.

Fort Valley is the locale George Washington was going to use as a bug out location if the Revolutionary War saw another winter. It's easy to see why. The relatively narrow valley is fertile, has multiple fresh water sources flowing into cedar creek, and mountains surrounding it on virtually every side and a long narrow gorge at the main entrance. It could be easily defended by a disciplined force and when you are there it seems like the farthest place from anywhere except Eden. Yes, it's breathtaking.

The ascent up the mountain through the gap was glorious, as it followed alongside creek beds making their way down into the valleys on either side. Because of the recent substantial rains, the views include numerous little waterfalls here and there and the top, I discovered has a couple ATV trails.

After a bit of exploring I returned home by way of the Fort's main road, enjoying prime mountain views and spring breezes while making good time in the process.

Arriving back at home and seeing the newly cut grass was refreshing. While cutting it on Saturday I thanked God for being able to live here and prayed that I would never have to leave. And that brings me to the title of today's post.

When you are investing in your life, planning for the long term by establishing roots and making moves to be somewhere permeneantly it changes your vision and how you feel about a place. For example, our new wood floors and furniture have made us feel that we have a new lease on life and that we are here again for the first time. The house also feels more complete and what is more, we all enjoy being here even more. As things continue to take shape, I am feeling more and more connected to my property, the land and dwellings that inhabit it. I hope that in the years to come it will become a place that my children and their children will cherish and always find peace and prosperity here.

So, even though the world spirals into oblivion, I pray that this place remains and develops as God wants it to be: God's Country.

Over and Out,


Friday, April 22, 2011


I've been really into the idea of studying Mikhail Botvinnik lately. Today I happened upon his "One Hundred Selected Games," which is a classic exposition of the Russian School of thought on chess. In fact, Botvinnik is the stereotypical stoic soviet chess master that you probably think of when the words "Russia" and "Chess" come to mind.

First published in English in 1951, his writing is a clear glimpse into the mind of the soviets and how they approached chess and just about everything else. Regarding chess, he unflinchlingly analyzes his own games and gives dominating principles to those who would follow in his footsteps, which might be summarized thus:

"Out-study, out-prepare your opponents beforehand and have the greater will to win."

Botvinnik used to say that if you lose a game, it's because you didn't want to win bad enough.

That's true enough in chess, but the lesson has applications just about everywhere else. Food for thought.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Collapse is Underway...

Not to be a downer, but...

The failure of the Republicans led by Boehner to slam the ebrakes on government spending is the one and only signal I need to know that the Repubics are going to allow the economy to head over the cliff. Maybe not all of them. Maybe the Ryan Budget will pass and be adopted in its entirety, but my own opinion is that the damage is already done and that we are essentially screwed.

It's kinda like the earthquake in Japan. The time is now to get to the high ground before the Tsunami comes ashore.

After watching After Armageddon on YouTube in my down time at work, I can't say I'm psyched.
The time is now to have your stuff in order, before inflation hits the shelves more severly than it already has, and before Saudi Arabia goes up in smoke and with it the rest of our oil based economy.

So my shout out to you at this moment is: Get Your Shit Together before you can't afford to get shit, or there isn't any left to obtain. The first swells are coming ashore.

Over and Out,


Sunday, April 03, 2011


It's been a whirlwind and exciting week!

After 3 years of living with stained, icky unfinished hardwood floors, we finally had them professionally refinished. The effect is really stunning. Red Oak stained a mahogony semi-gloss in the living room and hallway now gives the house a sohpishticated feel. The heart pine in the kitchen--which looked like it may never recover--is now downy and full of depth and resplendent in it's natural character. Mad props to H&H Hardwood for a such a spectacular job!

It really feels like a new house!

And now we have a new kitchen table, standing glorious and imperious on our new wood floors. Sweet.

It took a while to build, but not that long. All of the reclaimed barnwood came out of a barn in Linden, Va. that was built in 1901. The table top and skirt is wormy American chestnut and the legs are made from Sycamore 4x4s of all things. Finsihed with 2 coats of penetrating oil and 2 coats of water polyeurathane by General Finishes, this piece is a testimony to beautiful wood and craftsmanship.

This may be the first table I build, but as it happens it will not be the last. Mike S., the proprietor of Strong Oaks Woodshop, who guided and instructed me throughout the construction process, has asked me to come aboard as a partner in the business. I am humbled and excited, and will now be spending a significant amount of my waking hours building beautiful furniture and having fun doing it, not to mention dismantling barn(s).



Saturday, March 19, 2011

Distributism: A Catholic Philosophy?

As I write, it is one of the most beautiful nights I've experienced in a long time. It's 3AM, the windows are open, and a chorus of Spring peepers resounds in the forest, carried into the house on a cool, soft breeze. Tea is brewing. Tonight is the kind of night so many storytellers seek to capture through the art of their pen.

Later this morning, I will be heading out to a local furniture-maker's house to work on a barnwood kitchen table for our house. As we were working last weekend, my congenial host mentioned in passing that he had started reading some works on Distributism, an economic philosophy promoted as a Catholic alternative to capitalism and socialism by great thinkers such as Hillaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton.

Wikipedia's broad definition is accurate enough for the purposes of this blog:
"The ownership of the means of production should be spread as widely as
possible among the general populace, rather than being centralized under the
control of the state (socialism) or a few large businesses or wealthy
private individuals."

Again from Wiki, Chesterton's summary:
"Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists."

It is not my intent here to refute or sell this philosophy as whole, but to offer several considerations that aren't frequently articulated in those few circles where Distributism is a known quantity of interest and discussion.

My opinion is that this economic philosophy is generally more of a romantic reaction to the abuses of unregulated capitalism and socialism than a scientific system of trade. And in some ways, that is the point: rampant materialism is eschewed, and while Chesterton and Belloc may well-be credited as Distributism's originators, they never created a manual of societal implementation that I know of, except to say that it is an economic philosophy patterned according to the Middle Ages and some of its traditions.

Those traditions would include a guild system for each craft, holding each craftsman to a common standard, conferring on him a personal idenity and involving him in the community as a whole. A focus on the family as the primary social unit responsible for the proper evolution of a sound society, working at home on one's own property, hand in hand with a Christ-centered vision of hard work and rest.

These notions have their place, and while I am no Enlightenment or materialist thinker by any stretch, as an American in the 21st century, its hard, at least for me, to see this philosophy or parts of it as more than a personal way. Yet there have been many adherents who insist that this is the most Catholic way, meaning en total. And this is where I take umbridge.

Distributism has not been responsible for feeding the world. Capitalism has.

Distributism has not been responsibile for providing medicine the world over, medical advancements, and cures for numerous sicknesses. Capitalism has.

Distributism has not been responsible for sound sanitation, plumbing, and climate control, and the protection of life associated with that. Capitalism has.

I could go on, but you see were I am going, I hope. If you don't, let me spell it out: capitalism and the technological/societal developments thereof has provided more charity and compassion, and alleviated more human suffering, through it's system of production and means of distribution than distrubutism has and undoubtedly could. There I said it.

This is not to say capitalism is without its faults. Of course not. And that brings me to my next point: there are no perfect economies in this "vale of tears." Our Lord said, "The poor you will always have with you," and he meant it.

Nevertheless, there are perfect ideas, or ideas that have the semblence of perfection, such as owning the means of your own production. That's actually as capitalist as it is distributist. But again, we abut against another human reality in this discussion and where I believe there is a deficiency in the reasoning of Distributism at this point. Namely, that not every human being is called to run a business or own the means of their own production, because not everyone can, i.e., has the talent or desire to do so.

But what of regaining the sense and bringing about a renaissance of personal craftsmanship? That is a noble and great thing. But distributism is not the only philosophy that espouses this. In the area of regaining a renewed sense of "the craftsman," The Arts and Crafts Movement, certainly sought to initiate a return of the creative human element to daily life in all it's trappings. More modern articulations of this desire exist as well, and we see it in the work of architectural and design realists (for a lack of better word; meaning people who see the human condition for what it is), such as in The Not so Big House, where the idea is not to live in a McMansion of epic proportions but a well-designed home built to a human scale.

Finally, a word about distributism's proponents. My experience is that the strongest proponents of this philosophy are semi-elitist though perhaps well-meaning intellectuals who wish they were aristocrats and living in a world where their thoughts carry more weight than they currently do.
While Chesterton fancied himself a distributist with his cute "Three acres and a cow" self-portrait, he survived not by working in the fields, but by the tip of his pen.

Nevertheless, I have friends living very admirable lives, working at home about whom the Distribitists Guilds of St. Joseph and St. Dominic would be proud, "Men rich in virtue studying beautifulness living in peace in their houses."

Perhaps one day I will be one of them.

Over and Out,


Monday, March 07, 2011

Recent Happenings on the Homefront

It's been awhile since I've hit the blog. A few things I've been doing around here of late:

Chess: I was recently asked without being asked to be the chess coach for the school where I work. Being a chess nerd, I volunteered myself to teach the kids the game and give them some structure. The first lesson went swimmingly. I spoke for 20 minutes, fielding a ton of questions, and kept the kids from going all out zoo. I am using Fred Reinfeld's book, "How to be a Winner at Chess" as my guide.

Reinfeld is a superb author, having written over a 100 books on chess in his lifetime, in addition to other works on coins, history, and checkers. His style is emminently approachable with most of his books oriented toward the beginner. The first book I read of his while in high school, "The Complete Chessplayer", completely changed the way I played the game, giving me an edge ever since.

In an effort to sharpen that edge to razor sharp in my down time, I ordered 6 more of his books, including "Winning Chess: How to See Three Moves Ahead," "1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate," and "1001 Winning Chess Sarcrifices and Combinations." I am also looking into a part time gig of coaching chess after school for other schools. We'll see what happens.

Wood: The weekend before last, I spent a large amount of time behind a chainsaw, cutting downed wood from our locust trees into digestable bits for the woodstove. The lion's share of this work is done. However, most of the remaining wood that I had delivered also needs to be down sized, as well as a good portion of the locust previously cut and split. My goal is that by the end of this sping, more or less, I will have 2 years worth of firewood, split, cut and stacked, for the upcoming winters.

To that end, I am checking into a new wood source, a local saw mill that sells 10 ft. pieces of slab wood by the truck load to the tune of $25. Yes, I will have to cut the pieces to size, but considering I have been doing that anyway in the winter, what's the difference. I will be giving the mill a call today to see how quickly I can arrange 10 truck loads. I think that will set me up nicely and keep me more busy than I want to be.

Woodworking: A couple of weeks back scored a sweet deal on a Jet jointer. I just couldn't pass up. This has given me the edge I need in woodworking, no pun intended, as now I can mate two pieces of wood properly (seemlessly). My first project is that of small stool for Anastasia and Isabel for use in the bathroom. At present, they are using their plastic princess privy as a stand. I've cut and jointed the stock for the top and I will begin doing the skirts when I come home from work. I will glue up the top and glue and pocket screw the base skirts into the top. I think.

I say that because I am still very new to woodworking, almost totally green to fine woodworking. The structures I've built that resemble furniture, such as shelves, are crude by aesthetic standards but strong. Next on my list is a kitchen table, provided I actually obtain the lumber. It's on order--it is available, but getting it planed (a service for which I am undoubtedly grateful) is taking some time at the moment. In the meanwhile, I will finish my practice stool first.

Spring: There are so many other things to put in order for the year, it's overwhelming. The garden. The compost pile. Landscaping. Remodeling. Staining. Painting. The list is endless, or close to it. Occasionally, it simply feels overwhelming and thus really hard to stay focused. I love Spring, especially in Virginia. It's magnificent. I intend to enjoy it, even while doing all of the above.

Peace Out and Prepare.


Thursday, January 27, 2011


Now would be a good time to begin preparing for a currency collapse. The state of VA is exploring the possibility of printing it's own money in the event of a total collapse of the dollar. Dont' believe me? Well, here ya go, and more states are thinking the same. Meanwhile, Congress is quietly discussing how insolvent states might legally declare bankrupcy. That is in addition to cities, counties, and municipalities being insolvent.

No, no, no. A currency collapse can't happen here, you say. Well, the math doesn't lie, but the government and media does. Stop being a tool and take steps to protect yourself.

The 2008 crash was just the beginning, the warning, the wake up call. We are on a fiscal highway to perdition. Our lives are about to change dramatically, some time in the relatively near future. At least that is my core conviction, especially now that the words "national debt" seem to be front and center now in the national conversation.

Preparedness is not a solitary event, a singular moment in time where you go to Wal-Mart and stock up on Spam and then forget about it for 10 years. No, it's a way of life that you choose to follow because you see past modern conveniences, knowing that they and our cushy lifestyle may one day disappear. It's a realization that our present reality is almost entirely predicated on unlimited resources and energy. The truth is, someone other than me once said, we are 9 meals away from anarchy.

You do what you want. This blog has been my sounding board about mental and physical preparedness, whether it be about guns or preps. As of this writing, I have lost most if not all but one reader I think, because I am not content to be another sheep bleating helplessly in the wind. My words are a downer for many for sure. Who wants to think about life in a lawless Shanty Town, the disappearance of the middle class, government corruption, bank holidays, rampant inflation, black marktets, and endless crime? I don't, but I have no choice, because that is a possible reality for us: an Argentina like fall from grace from which we may never fully recover.

Get your shit together. Go scare the piss out of yourself, if you haven't already, and visit Ferfal's blog. Start from the beginning. Look long and hard at the images of what's happening there right now and in the past few years and ask yourself if you could live like that.

The time is now to prep. The hourglass is nearly empty, and it may not get another turn.

Over and Out,


Saturday, January 08, 2011

Out on the Precipice?

One day or the other, I think we will be, as a country. Perhaps we are already there.

Indeed, I have become increasingly pessimistic about the future of our country, but ironically have increasing optimism about the direction of life here in the hollow, notwithstanding the uncertainty of the road ahead for all.

The country is on the brink of economic collapse. How long we will teeter on the precipice is anyone's guess, but now, more than ever, is the time to get one's house in order, before inflation hits and we are irrevocably screwed. Out best hope is to contain the damage done by the 110th congress and dramatically roll back the government. If this doesn't happen now, the proverbial SHIT is going to HTF, Argetina style. Even if Congress did everything right from here on out, it may be too little, too late.

Our insolvency as a nation is not an intellectual hypothesis. This is the cold, hard truth. Our country is bankrupt. Even if all Americans were to pay 100% of our income to the Fed., we would still not have enough money to cover our obligations. Right now, the rest of the world is positioning itself as best it can to prepare for the fall of the dollar, but whatever they do, it won't be enough.
I can see this playing out in one of two ways. First, the socialist solution: A new reserve, multi-national currency that is imposed on us "for our own good," in which the U.S. remains a key player at table. Or, similarly, China, Russia, and/or the Gulf Oil states form a new currency in which oil is priced, abandoning the standard of the dollar. But as far as I'm concerned, the dollar's future is screwed. It is a failing currency, even if we haven't accepted it yet.

Maybe I am wrong. I am not an economist, but I know how to balance a check book. Right now, one of the nation's check books is $14 trillion in the hole, with no end in sight.

I have begun purchasing Silver American Eagles as a small means by which to cover my backside against financial Armageddon. I have some gold, but not enough disposable income right now to purchase by the ounce. I wish I began purchasing PMs earlier, but I had other necessary expenses to cover, but still, where there's a will, there's a way.

In addition to making up for a lack of precious metals, my prepping goals for the new year revolve around a successful garden and chicken flock, and learning to hunt. I will be constructing a composting pile shortly to get our gardening soil ready for action, and have other related tasks to handle.

Meanwhile, I advise all of you to put your stuff into place. We are in the midst of the Great Recession, with almost 20% underemployment and a gloomy outlook on the horizon. Take the steps now to protect yourself. We have been so blessed in this country. The sun has shown upon America for a very long time. Yet, inevitably, the sun must set.

Just be ready when it does.

Over and Out,