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Friday, January 30, 2015

frugal living 10


FRUGAL LIVING 10

SHELTER

RV
( note: earlier this morning, link posted to a must read article.  Scroll down past this one )
If you already have an RV ( motor home or travel trailer ), they make a great start at your junk land homestead.  If you can buy one cheaply-I wouldn’t pay much more than a grand, but that is just me- you might as well go for it because even if you move out of the thing they make great storage sheds ( if you can buy an RV cheaper than you can get a shed, I would ).  And don’t forget barter.  Usually, at least now prior to an economic freefall, a guy wanting to sell usually wants to get rid of an eyesore.  Well, the wife wants to get rid of it, so same difference.  You might be able to horse trade.  I’ve had a trailer offered to me free, just because it was nothing but an unwanted item on par with garage plastic clutter ( of course, ex #2 wouldn’t hear of it ), but don’t expect that kind of luck.  In my area, RV’s are WAY overpriced by their owners ( this is a high cost of living area, but it barely effects me other than perhaps a few percent higher grocery cost if that ), but I’ve gotten one that was suicided in and another that was given cheap for lack of a parking spot.  As a start, if you can get one cheap, they are not a bad way to start living on your land.  The question is, do you want to stay in it long term?

*

If you own land in an area with harsh winters, I would not recommend you live in an RV unless you modify it.  I lived in one for four winters and since at the same time I was living on a very severe budget ( child support, only wage earner ), there was a strict rationing of heating propane.  Only when it dropped under fifty was the heat turned on, and we never ran it overnight.  We were toasty under wool and a feather comforter, but getting up in the morning was like jumping in a near frozen lake.  It wasn’t unusual to be in the teens inside and once when the outside was minus eight it was eight above  inside ( Fahrenheit, should any foreign reader subjected to the pisspoor metric system be afoot ).  And that was with the RV modified.  I’d gotten sheets of squishy foam pads and sheets of foil covered bubble wrap and covered every wall and ceiling ( and every window ) and every floor was multi-rug covered.  You should have seen how cold it was in there before I’d added that extra insulation!  So, I don’t recommend an RV in the cold weather.  Sure, you could afford more propane now, but what about when you are poorer?  Don’t plan on spending what you might not have.  Now, if you can afford some wood to go along with that RV, things are going to be a lot more comfortable.  If you add an exterior room, a walled and covered porch, basically, and use that as a better insulated room ( a fiberglass insulation 2x4 wall is so much better than a one inch foam insulation RV wall ) to sleep and relax in, and keep the RV as a kitchen/bathroom/storage area, not only will it be oh so much more comfortable, it will use far less energy to heat, also ( the heater being in the add-on room, and just heating that room and not the RV ).  The only thing to beware is your locations property tax.  An RV is a vehicle, but an added room is a structure that will be taxed.  Know and plan around that.

END

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must read

MUST READ!!!!!!!
Notice the extra exclamation points, Mogumbo style, to convey extra importance.
http://armstrongeconomics.com/2015/01/29/the-paradox-of-inflationdeflation/
I'll admit being one of those linear thinkers talked about in the above article.  Must read if you want to know if hyper-inflation is coming, or not.  I haven't been this excited about a "new" idea for some time.  Read it, dammit!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

ten years in 2


TEN YEARS IN PART 2

Ten years ago Matthew R Simmons’ book “Twilight In The Desert” was published.  And considering he most likely didn’t research it in a month or three, you can call the data even more than ten years old.  A book studiously ignored by all, Simmon’s merely pointed out a few inconvenient facts.  Such as, the average age of an oil field ( for profitable pumping, not total life of the field- a lot of wells with still recoverable oil are capped as they become non-profitable ), averaged over many countries and times, if it is not damaged by over pumping, is about forty years give or take a few barrels.  Not only was Ghawar, the mostest biggest oil field ever, a field that saved the US economy almost by itself, forty years old, it certainly HAD been handled most ungently at times with over pumping now and again.  Matt also said, hey, you don’t ask a barber if you need a haircut and you don’t ask the Saudi’s to tell you the truth if their oil is running out, so he took old data from before the Saudi’s nationalized the oil and did a bit of math and astonishingly, the Saudi data had a taint of unicorn dust in it and was shown to be as reliable as US FedGov statistics.  After about three hundred pages of mind numbing statistics and analysis, he made a case that the Saudi pumping was going to run into trouble soon and that most of the increased pumping to keep the numbers up was from nearby offshore wells, not Ghawar.

*

Saudi Arabia has pretty much kept production where it was ten years ago.  I’ll give them that.  But in that ten years, oil supply globally has slightly stagnated, despite huge amounts of new drilling.  The production numbers don’t appear to support that, but that is because all the Fake Oil out there, tar sands and other Pretend Petroleum, were changed to conventional crude on the stats sheets.  In that time period, when oil was $110 a barrel, Saudi production NEVER increased.  You don’t think they wanted a rainy day fund for when the price dropped?  They didn’t pump more because they couldn’t pump more.  And every time you hear of increased wells in their oil fields, their production doesn’t increase.  The added drills are to keep production from falling.  So please stop fantasizing that Saudi Arabia is a swing producer, or that they are part of a conspiracy to flood the world with oil to crush other producers.  Now, the thing is, even if our buddy Matt who kind of looked like an alcoholic from pictures before his death was really off in his analysis, you can’t tell me after the addition of ten more years that would still be the case.  An oil field that is now fifty years into production not diminishing in output?  After being over pumped?  All the added marginal fields brought online through desperation still increasing in output?  No one is saying Saudi oil dries up tomorrow.  But dropping in production?  You bet.  Just as our fracking fields die, so does Saudi present output?  Likely.

END

Please support Bison by buying through the Amazon ad graphics at the top of the page. You can purchase anything, not just the linked item. Enter Amazon through my item link and then go to whatever other item you desire. As long as you don’t leave Amazon until after the order is placed, I get credit for your purchase.  For those that can’t get the ads because they are blocked by your software, just PayPal me occasionally or buy me something from my Amazon Wish List once a year.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

frugal living 9


FRUGAL LIVING

SHELTER

LAND

A lot of people naturally assume that if worse comes to worse, they will live out of their cars ( a precedent already set after the 2009 financial meltdown ).  A few have a motor home or RV to tow to make life a lot easier and far less cramped.  Okay, granted, better than nothing.  The problem being that the next fifty years ain’t going to be like the last fifty.  Gasoline most likely won’t be available one day soon ( we’ll still be pumping it but once imports aren’t available once the dollar crashes, the Feds will nationalize the supply for military and farm use.  Their won’t be enough for civilians ), and you already wager your life and freedom through highway checkpoints.  That will get a LOT worse very soon, both as the TSA grows and spreads and as locals are desperate for revenue.  In short, mobility is soon to be dangerous or impossible ( and we aren‘t talking about bugging out at a catastrophe anyway, but moving out of the Rat Race now.  Waiting until bad things happen just diminishes your options.  But, brought up to give you pause if you think frugal living in an RV is a good idea ).  A piece of land you own is a preferable strategy.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  Yes, growing your own food is a great idea, especially given extreme low quality, extreme price volatility and as seen a time or two, high probability of shortages from grocery stores.  But food growing regions are crowded and high cost.  If the two choices are saving up for a farm and not having land when you need it, like when you lose the job and can’t make payments, or just buying crappy land and at least having some place to go, I’d get the substandard land.  If nothing bad ever happens, you can just move to a better parcel elsewhere ( although I think we all know that ain’t going to happen ).  We would all love to have twenty acres with field and fodder and wood and stream, but if you don’t have the means to do so cash on the barrelhead, I don’t think a dream of a country homestead is realistic at all for most of us in today’s economic climate.  As they say, articulated back when uneducated peasants had more horse sense than today’s college graduates, better one bird in hand than two in the bush.

*

I’ve bought “junk land”.  No water, no utilities, no prospects for either.  They have roads, so there is that ( be wary- not all states give land borders over for easement ).  They are good for one thing, and that is living on.  Not farming.  You could farm, but you’d be bringing in tons of compost and organic matter, and the cost of a well in my location is easily $15k ( three times the cost of the land ).  I had other lots back East but they were both in no-employment areas.  I could have farmed there, but the lots were so little it wouldn’t have been enough to live on come the need.  And that was not a good trade off for the over population.  I just beefed up my food storage knowing I couldn’t grow.  Not ideal, but, again, there is always a cost of anything.  All six lots ( half I got many years ago when they were under $500 each ) I purchased on E-Bay and I didn’t have any problems with securing the deeds.  Half I made payments on, and that was with zero credit rating ( they are self-financed ), at around $80 to $100 a month.

*

It isn’t foolproof.  I’ve had readers ripped off in Utah when the acreage was illegally subdivided ( DON’T move to Utah unless you are a member of the Mammon Church and a Yuppie Scum.  They actively zone to penalize poor people, even in the boonies ).  And I sure wouldn’t send a guy in Florida five grand for a lot when he was bragging the value was fifty thousand five years ago.  But by and large, you stick with the poorer land you should have few worries.  As far as what to do with it, you’ve heard of camping, right?  You start out at a camping level, no extra costs and ready to move to right away ( after a few hours of clearing vegetation- I hope you are in shape from riding that bike ).  Then you trade up as you go, cash for comfort.  There is no reason to overcomplicate or fret about this.  Easy as can be, you pays your money and start your life over in more primitive but far less stressful circumstances ( if you didn’t buy with cash, I’d only assume a modest debt.  A good rule of thumb being not much more than the upcoming tax return will wipe out ). 

END

Please support Bison by buying through the Amazon ad graphics at the top of the page. You can purchase anything, not just the linked item. Enter Amazon through my item link and then go to whatever other item you desire. As long as you don’t leave Amazon until after the order is placed, I get credit for your purchase.  For those that can’t get the ads because they are blocked by your software, just PayPal me occasionally or buy me something from my Amazon Wish List once a year.
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*
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By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there.

 

 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

ten years in


TEN YEARS IN

“A Scientific Romance” by Ronald Wright is a bizarre novel meshing a classical education, a study on the collapse of civilizations and a Wellsian time machine romp five centuries after the implosion of England where one small tribe survives in the north.  I must say, you’d be better off reading his non-fiction “A Short History Of Human Progress”, but this novel does have enough to pay back your purchase price.  One classic line, a few pages into chapter five: “Civilization is always a pyramid scheme.  Living beyond your means.  The rule of the many by the few.  The trick is to keep wringing new loans from nature and your fellow man”.  Bravo.  And here we are, ten years in after the start of Peak Oil, and the pyramid scheme does seem to be running out of loans.  Sometimes literally, as the financial shenanigans supporting fracturing oil are already unwinding.  The January 20th  issue at Club Orlov is the best work yet by anyone on the latest oil price dump ( far better than my Best Guess article was ).  Probably already knowing the national industry as a whole was going to go bust this or next year, some bright boy in the FedGov decided they might as well benefit from the fiasco by folding that house of cards early ( one imagines Goldman made a killing with shorts since they always seem to have advance information, doing the Rothchild’s of yore one better ) and trying to bankrupt our enemies such as Iran and Russia.  Of course, Iran has hardened itself from our previous embargoes and Russia doesn’t allow bankers to run its economy like we do, so it seems to be NOT working in spectacular fashion.

*

And this is just one sorry spectacle in the last ten years of Peak Oil ( peak conventional, peak growing supply, peak cheap ).  The last time we had oil go to stratospheric heights ( purt near $150, and was back when that bought a lot more ) we had a bit of a disaster with the global economy.  This dip will give us the same as it wipes out most costlier Fake Oil production.  That was one of the only highlights, keeping total production from falling.  That looks to be ending, and get ready for global production to fall ( then, we’ll be lucky if we only see $150 ).  So, that “can kicked down the road” can’t be used again.  We also resorted to doubling the national deficit and running 60% in the red on the national budget every year.  And that was WITH the petro-dollar.  Without it?  Hyperinflation.  Oh, there was conservation.  Total miles driven has declined every year.  And fuel efficiency averages are probably about as good as they are going to get, because every time oil whiplashes in price and destroys another segment of the economy ( remember the squishy sound of the majority of the middle class freefalling to the pavement? ), they don’t recover.  Less and less new, better mileage cars are going to be bought.  But those two factors did make a difference.  Not next time.  In other words, bottom line, we picked all the low hanging fruit ( fake oil, controlling trading, conservation, mass deficits )  coping with the onset of Peak ten years ago.  And we can’t repeat it.  You think the last ten years were rough?  Just wait.

END

Please support Bison by buying through the Amazon ad graphics at the top of the page. You can purchase anything, not just the linked item. Enter Amazon through my item link and then go to whatever other item you desire. As long as you don’t leave Amazon until after the order is placed, I get credit for your purchase.  For those that can’t get the ads because they are blocked by your software, just PayPal me occasionally or buy me something from my Amazon Wish List once a year.
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The Old Bison Blog on CD 
Over five years of work and nearly two million words of pure brilliance. Here is the link to order:
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 my bio & biblio
*
My books on PDF ( ALL free!!  If you like it, most are available for sale in paper versions )  available at
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*
By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there.

 

 

Monday, January 26, 2015

frugal living 8


FRUGAL LIVING 8

EMPLOYMENT
I used to be in retail management.  And while that is still in high demand due to low pay and high stress ( the game then as now was to promise the cream of shift workers the value of advancement and employment record  padding for an on-the-job training into management.  It wasn’t a bad deal, a hard slog through the trenches for those having no education.  But you definitely paid for this even if it wasn’t monetary ), it isn’t something I should have made a half of career out of.  It is just for the young beginner and I feel for the poor schmucks who must do it too long or too late in life.  As soon as I could, I went back into minimum wage monkey work.  The pay cut isn’t all that much, only 25-50%, and the stress level goes from “I’m losing hair, losing sleep and losing my stomach lining” to “screw ‘em, I can get paid just as much down the street”.  I don’t care what job I’m doing during the day, because I have more important things to do afterwards like writing and reading.  Now, I know you are all gasping and sputtering and quite appalled, figuring I should have traded my sanity long ago by working in middle management for the seductive promise of a lousy house and mediocre marriage, but you would be an idiot, wouldn’t you?  In case you haven’t noticed, our consumerist imperial colonization and Petro-Dollar supremacist days are already over.  The mopping up and final tallying are all that remain.

*

Which means, my confused little friend, NONE of us have job security.  You can claw your way to the top through eighty hour work weeks, taking on twenty years of college debt, kiss ass so professionally that you don’t even get a smudge on your lips, and still your corporation will go the way of the dodo bird soon enough.  We all need to work, and all of us face disruption at the end of the era of the paycheck ( which can be planned for with survivalist preps, but that is not the subject of this book.  I treat that issue quite well in other publications.  Also from a frugal standpoint ).  But if your choice is to demote yourself and work at a minimum wage job because that is what is available near affordable land, or to keep on with business as usual because “look at all the money I’m making”, you are not going to be able to transition in the coming collapse of our abundant American lifestyle.  You might make bunches more, but subtract mortgages, car payments, credit card debt, urban entertainment and services you need because you have no time at home, plus double or triple the taxes,  and while you earn a lot, you take home and keep much less.  I STILL have disposable income working 25 hours a week minimum wage, sometimes up to 50% of my check, because I live frugal.  Wanna bet a jelly filled donut not even a CEO puts aside 50% of his check ( investing in the market for retirement doesn’t much count, especially given the corruption of the markets- that is a gamble, not a savings account )?  As I said, this is NOT a free lunch.  You give up prestige and bragging rights and luxuries and, yes, to some small extent, the ability to choose the direction in life money can give you.  But you also get a lot of freedom by letting money have less of a hold on you.  In a later section, I’ll cover working for yourself. 

END
 
Please support Bison by buying through the Amazon ad graphics at the top of the page. You can purchase anything, not just the linked item. Enter Amazon through my item link and then go to whatever other item you desire. As long as you don’t leave Amazon until after the order is placed, I get credit for your purchase.  For those that can’t get the ads because they are blocked by your software, just PayPal me occasionally or buy me something from my Amazon Wish List once a year.
*
The Old Bison Blog on CD 
Over five years of work and nearly two million words of pure brilliance. Here is the link to order:
http://kunaki.com/sales.asp?PID=PX00KX7Z1I
 my bio & biblio
*
My books on PDF ( ALL free!!  If you like it, most are available for sale in paper versions )  available at
http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=james++dakin&sorter=relevance-desc
*
By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there.
 
 
 

Friday, January 23, 2015

2 of 2 today

DAY OFF
I've taken a vacation day today, so I won't be in to check e-mails or the comments section.  Last year I lost half of my vacation days by not taking them ( "oh, too busy.  I'll be a corporate lackey and keep working" ).  My own fault, but I'm not doing that anymore.  Not that things are too stressful at 5/8's time, but an extra day off can only help.  Have a good weekend, see you all Monday.

1 of 2 today


FRUGAL LIVING

TRANSPORTATION

Part 3

Bike parts are now cheaper than ever.  Of course, both bikes and bike parts are also made much cheaper in quality.  So you will be replacing parts more often.  I would strongly urge you to learn your own repairs, and to do that it is far easier to work on single speed bikes ( beach cruisers ) than geared ones.  Plus, with a pedal brake, single speeds are much safer stopping and your hands remain free ( in my neck of the woods, dogs love to try to bite me.  A can of Raid-get that brand, the others spray instead of stream after the first shot- held in a water bottle holder is great for getting them off you, much better than pepper spray.  Hard to do when braking a geared bike with disc or pad brakes ).  With a single speed, you need to learn to replace tubes and tires and chains and wheels, just as in all bikes.  But other than that, you just need to learn to crack the wheel hubs for greasing and to replace the crank arm bearings ( the part in between the pedals ).  I replace my wheels at three thousand miles-if I don’t the spokes start breaking- so I’ve never had to mess with the wheel innards other than adding grease.  I change my chain every 1500 miles and everything else, wheels and tires and tubes and crank arm bracket, every three thousand.  They could last longer, but with my long rides in the boonies preventive maintenance/replacement keeps me from breaking down and pushing the bike home ( if you use the Green Goop tubes, you should never get a flat unless a nail goes into a sidewall.  Or, buy tube-less tires.  A tire and tube is $30, a tubeless unit is $50.  So the extra cost isn’t too severe and gives you peace of mind ).

*

For a standard size 26 inch tire beach cruiser adult bike, most use the following standard replacement parts.  I get these exclusively at Amazon and am thankful for it ( always have replacements available as sometimes it takes over a week for shipping ).  Just search for the following.  Cruiser Front Wheel.  Cruiser Rear Wheel With Coaster Brake.  Cruiser Bicycle Tire.  Slime Smart Tube ( for the Green Goop tubes ).  Bicycle Chain ½ Inch x 1/8 Inch.  The replacements between the pedals are ( for the bearings ) Bottom Bracket 24TRI.  That is the metal cups that you hammer in to the tube on the frame that the crank arm runs through, then the bearings that sit in those.  Chain Ring, which is the big sprocket the chain sits on in between the pedals.  The crank arms, the piece shapes like a Z, has the pedals on each end.  This piece doesn’t need replaced as much as the Bracket and the Chain Ring, but have a back-up.  Look up: 6 ½ Inch One Piece Crank Arm 24 TPI.  I had a heck of a time finding these, as I didn’t know any of their names ( if you just look under Crank Arm, you get geared bike items ).  Luckily, Amazon does that “if you liked that item, you’ll like these also” feature so as soon as I figured out one piece crank arm ( in the comments section, a reviewer said this was for cruiser 26 inch wheel bikes, bless them ), the other two, Chain Ring and Bottom Bracket, popped up.  With a 17mm and a 15mm wrench ( and an adjustable for the crank arm nut ), tire shims, a screwdriver, a tire pump and chain link tool ( NEVER get the one from Wal-Mart as it breaks on the second or third chain ), plus a can of axle grease, you should have about all you need to fix your cruiser bike.

END

Please support Bison by buying through the Amazon ad graphics at the top of the page. You can purchase anything, not just the linked item. Enter Amazon through my item link and then go to whatever other item you desire. As long as you don’t leave Amazon until after the order is placed, I get credit for your purchase.  For those that can’t get the ads because they are blocked by your software, just PayPal me occasionally or buy me something from my Amazon Wish List once a year.
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The Old Bison Blog on CD 
Over five years of work and nearly two million words of pure brilliance. Here is the link to order:
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 my bio & biblio
*
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*
By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there.

 

 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

bitches can't be survivalists


BITCHES CAN’T BE SURVIVALISTS

As we’ve talked about a few times before, I have no objections to being wrong about something.  And multiple somethings.  And I’ve been there many times.  Being able to avoid being dogmatic and self-assured to the point of hubris, a trait I could attribute to most other writers in our genre but I won’t because I’m a swell guy who loves everybody to a fault, to me leaves one to adopt far more logical theories and conclusions.  Looking back in hindsight, the idiots who wouldn’t admit that the Earth could be round, claiming that plate tectonics were impossible or that hemorrhagic fever couldn’t have been the cause of the Black Death ( okay, the last one hasn’t become accepted theory just yet.  I bring it up to sound smart fifty years early.  Just in case ), you get a little embarrassed that they even called themselves scientists.  I’d rather keep amending my theories as I learn more than sit still and congratulate myself on being a stud muffin extraordinaire.  Also, I like to read anything that is interesting.  The most mundane seemingly unrelated subjects can sometimes open new vistas.  Currently I’m on the subject of “femi-Nazi’s are ruining society” and something clicked relevant to the age old question, “why aren’t more bitches survivalists?”  I mean, you would think that with the natural inclination to protect their offspring, females would gravitate to survivalism in masses ( no, not prepping which usually means a few herbs in pots and a pantry.  Survivalism, as in getting ready for violent die off and complete social collapse ).

*

I’ve heard postulated by female writers that the reason is mothers want the best for their kids and the best means a better life so they tend to be more optimistic about the future.  It makes sense, mostly, but I was never satisfied with that.  After all, bitches be popping kids regardless of the future, good or bad.  Even with birth control easily available, in real crapholes like Pakistan in draught or India in yearly worsening crop yield or Africa with Ebola, women still produce children.  Even if not near as many as before, each conscious approved birth is an acknowledgement that even if bad things are likely to happen, they want to role the dice.  Even if nothing else than to prove their self worth.  So, I have a better theory.  The higher the economic level, the more worries of losing this artificial construct ( oil wealth due to colonization ), so the more intense survivalist preps are ( at lower levels, like as in peasant, survival skills are your everyday job- notwithstanding urban slum dwellers ).  In those same societies, women’s lib is usually quite advanced.  And there is where women have the most to fear of the future.  Not because of the oil wealth theft but because of their artificial dominance position.  They know that two minutes after the balloon goes up, physical might starts to once again make right ( Nitche, “might makes right” ).  Their world turns 180.  No wonder they simply refuse to think that things could change or that collapse is even possible ( and to be clear, I’m not speaking as if our brutish caveman ways assert themselves, dragging women by the hair back home, but as in men revert to the protector/provider role with women ultimately in charge back home but unwilling to rub men’s faces in it as they are wont do to today.  Classy women rule subtly while making their mates happily unaware of this fact ).  To even think it, fear rushes in to dominate.  Note the Bisonette Bitches, classy broads all.  You gals should be proud, and your husbands better be damn glad you keep them.  They don’t fear a natural return of gender roles, so they aren’t blinded by the real future and can plan accordingly.  Simply put, guys, your bitch won’t accept the future, she is a ball busting feminist you are better off without.

END

Please support Bison by buying through the Amazon ad graphics at the top of the page. You can purchase anything, not just the linked item. Enter Amazon through my item link and then go to whatever other item you desire. As long as you don’t leave Amazon until after the order is placed, I get credit for your purchase.  For those that can’t get the ads because they are blocked by your software, just PayPal me occasionally or buy me something from my Amazon Wish List once a year.
*

The Old Bison Blog on CD 
Over five years of work and nearly two million words of pure brilliance. Here is the link to order:
http://kunaki.com/sales.asp?PID=PX00KX7Z1I






 my bio & biblio
*
My books on PDF ( ALL free!!  If you like it, most are available for sale in paper versions )  available at
http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=james++dakin&sorter=relevance-desc
*
By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there.

 

 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

frugal living 6


FRUGAL LIVING 6

TRANSPORTATION

Part 2

I wear my slacks to twenty degrees, then place a pair of exercise/warm-up pants over those.  At about ten degrees it is time to replace those with a pair of heavy wool pants.  You might be better off with long underwear bottoms ( also, if your area is wet and cold, your requirements might differ.  Everyone is going to be different.  Some of you will be fine just warming the torso, others just get cold hands, etc.  ).  Below freezing I wear a wool sweater under my jacket ( if you are sensitive to wool, wear cotton underneath it ) and under twenty I wear two sweaters.  My head is covered by layers of cotton caps, one in the 40’s, two in the 30’s and below, with a wool cap over them.  At 20 and below I wear a ski mask under all of them.  My hands are very sensitive and above freezing I wear wool gloves inserts with a leather mitten over those.  Under freezing I wear heavier insulated mittens rather than a leather shell.  At ten degrees I get out the Artic heavy duty extreme cold mittens ( don’t wear inserts with those, or your hands sweat ).  All told, even with back up items, the whole get up only costs about the same as one pair of Sorrel boots from a higher end retail establishment.  Less than the cost of the bike.  If you are in a wet climate, you would probably also need some kind of studded tire, which I’m sure is not cheap on a bike.  Not that a set for the car isn’t more expensive, so it really is a moot point.

*

When I first started seriously riding a bike ( after having had to move to a metro area from smaller pedestrian friendly towns ), LED lights had just started coming out.  Almost no one had heard of them.  At the bike shop you could get a bike lamp in LED for $30 or so.  They were weak and a the batteries good for around twenty hours if not less.  But at the time, even that was great compared to incandescing bulb lamps which had far less performance.  Nowadays, LED’s are everywhere, even in Dollar Stores, and the performance in power and longevity are far better.  You can have your bike lit up like a Christmas tree and only spend a few bucks a month in disposable batteries.  Along with a VERY bright reflective vest, you are far safer on a bike than ever before.  Yes, some areas are nearly impossible to ride a bike in, but not all that many.  One good thing the Yuppie Scum have done is petition across the land for better bicycle accommodations. 

Continued on the same subject next Frugal Living article.

END

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

good and evil in the garden


GOOD AND EVIL IN THE GARDEN

Good and evil shouldn’t be a complex subject, and if you ask anyone they will tell you the same thing.  Yet, ask every single person to give examples of both and if they don’t belong to the same tribe than answers will vary widely.  Mainly, due to the fact that tribal allegiance requires making outsiders evil for the only reason that they are not of the tribe.  Again, not a hard concept to grasp.  We evolved to be such and only artificial unity into multi-tribal nation states has clouded the issue of what used to be common sense.  Yet, you must not just grasp the underlying principle but also the nuances involved as we enter the more interesting stages of the collapse.  If the Druid Dude and minions ( tens of thousands strong ) are correct then you can go back to relaxing because the collapse has only started in the 1970’s when global per capita energy use hit peak so we have two hundred years to go until our cities are ruins molding into forest floors ( the Olduvai Theorists which gave us this date of oil age peak only gave its lifespan as 100 years so according to them 2030 is that forest floor date give or take a mere handful of years because 1930 and 2030 are identical in global petroleum output with a huge difference in population numbers ).  If, on the other hand, you are an honorary Bison Redneck Irregular ( mere hundreds strong ) and believe in the waterfall collapse, centuries of gentle, tolerable, adaptable decline are a cruel irrational joke.  In the case of true collapse taking a mere few years ( as opposed to Collapse Lite which is just a decrease in the increase of petroleum production rather than a total lack thereof ), you must recognize now human behavior will change as it goes into survival mode.

*

In a situation where food supply no longer is sufficient, a famine which is such a common occurrence across history that it has never ceased to be an annual event, more often than not malnourishment kills almost everybody on the casualty list.  Not starvation per se.  Starvation was getting them into the grave but before that happened a weakened immune system killed them from something else like a disease.  Or, Hell, just a flu or bad cold.  In this case, human society by and large stayed coherent.  There were huge global shaking events.  The Mongols being driven from their traditional steppe grasslands.  The Protestant overthrow of Papist control after farms went from under to over supply after the Black Death.  But as huge as these events were, they involved cohesive societies expanding or expiring.  Mostly, in that the exceptions proved the rule.  Now, why do you think we will repeat these historical norms?

*

We are no longer farming or herding, but merely manning electronic controls.  90+% no longer work the land but merely squat atop infertile soil in urban areas consuming petroleum deprived calories.  How can a collapse last centuries on a foundation such as this?  When we fall, globally, it is going to be hard and fast and in toto.  And this is when good and evil become a problematic concept.  Because at this point, NOBODY is either one.  Oh, you can point to an evil criminal motorcycle gang and be correct their behavior is bad.  Or a Amish community that feeds all comers is good.  But that is behavior that is in addition to the basic human response.  We are, all of us at that point, just hungry.  How we resolve that problem isn’t inherently good or evil, as black and white hero/nemesis fiction stories lazily portray, it is merely opportunistic.  We all respond how we must, morality aside.  The criminal biker gang must be mobile locusts,  the raping and torture and killing really having nothing to do with how they must procure food.  Even if they gently administered a painless chemical to kill all their theft victims, minimizing pain rather than maximizing it, in the end they must steal food and hence kill its former owner.  The Amish, being in a position of surplus primarily because their pacifism allowed surplus energy to be devoted to farming rather than paying a tax of defense preparedness, are not sharing out of good over evil but have no choice in the matter.  If you find yourself in a position of slaughtering innocents, women and children, as an expedient to helping a smaller group of innocents to survive,  are you evil?  Or are you just responding to hunger?  If gifting a church to feed refugees makes you feel god rather than evil, and then when your own tribe starts to starve because you gave away too much surplus, are you still good in their eyes?  You endangered them because of your stupidity in regards to the concept of good and evil.  When a father goes out to kill neighbors to feed his family, is he evil?  Or would he be so if he didn’t do such a thing?  You can all hold hands and die together, not having engaged in evil.  I’ll take my chances in the afterlife, because I’d gladly resort to “evil” to help my tribe.  In a localized famine, social unity only frays at the edges in the end, after which it is too late.  In a global famine, you can only “win” if you throw out the larger societies welfare and immediately resort to “evil” behavior.  When you are looking at a 90-95% die-off, only the fast and ruthless win.  Nice guys die.  As do their dependents.

END

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By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there.