Wednesday, March 4, 2015

2 of 2 today



Prior to about 2005, the year everything went to crap and will be the last year that happens ( because there won’t be a restart or recovery.  Welcome back to 1973, forever ), there were a few constants that we could all look forward to as a slight compensation for a life less good.  Gasoline was artificially low ( think about the retarded bloviating the American public does when gas goes about twenty five cents, or a dollar, or a buck and a half.  You could give the mother humpers a nickel a gallon and they would bitch if it went to six cents.  For what it is, what it delivers, what it went through to get here, gasoline, especially compared to a sickly and anemic Greenback, is artificially low in price by orders of magnitude ).  Food was almost free.  And in any luxury combo you wanted ( high fat, high animal protein, imported half the globe away ).  Anyone could work a job requiring little more than showing up on time and following instructions, with compensation ( for what it could buy ) way above what the work was worth.  And, lastly, entertainment was also nearly free ( the price structure built on time of delivery after production.  Movies cost more than videos which cost more than cable which cost more than TV, etc. ).  The bad news is, almost all of that is gone, victim to cost cutting, recourse depletion, triage and greed.  The good news is, they are still entertaining us at the same subsidized rate ( just don’t expect it to last forever ).


Now, of course, you aren’t REALLY getting anything at a cut rate price.  It is just the costs are hidden.  Cheap gas was paid for by our wars, a trillion bucks a year in defense spending ( which, granted, was mostly free as in deficits that will never be paid back expect from the corpses during any economic collapse ), ex-soldiers with lifelong severe disabilities.  Cheap food is paid for in abandoning the security of decentralization, in health costs as food is divorced from nature, etc.  But extra cash up front, we still have cheap entertainment even if we can’t afford gas or food or be employed ( ignore the artificial low gasoline cost now-it will go up.  Then back down.  Then not be available at any price as all the loans to extremely expensive drilling costs dry up before the oil does ).  Right now, procure as much nearly free to free entertainment as you can, and stockpile it as much as possible.  You can still buy blank VHS tapes, still get the machines.  If TV is your thing, tape lots of shows on the low resolution setting ( I forget how much a tape lasts like that.  Eight hours?  Six? ).  You’ll need it later as stations go bankrupt.  Love reading?  You can store a lot of books in a small space, to the point you have no idea what you own.  And they can still be had for a quarter each, carefully procured.  As well as the free e-books by the thousands ( and when you solar power recharge the readers battery, running costs are zero ). 


Entertainment costs for now and the future should be so low that they barely register on your budget.  And a little will go a long way as you fill up your time commuting by bike, cooking everything from scratch, raising some of your own food ( something I don’t really cover as it is done in millions of other places ), picking up aluminum cans or whatever else brings money.  Entertainment won’t be needed to fill unemployed days- it will be just like now for your spare time at the end of the day.  Just take steps in anticipation of free entertainment going the way of affordable bacon.


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  1. Did you know that you can get an amazon gift card E-sent to you through your email James? What is your primary email address again? I don't think it has to be the one on file with Amazon, but perhaps that one is the best?

    1. I would not say no to a book, thanks.
      That's a zero, not an Oh.

  2. Cut-rate! That would be used, or mis-placed, items that the current owner has less use for than the empty space. This is why you look at buying CD's or VHS tapes at a comic book show, and ask about any firearms or ammo they might have for sale. Rock bottom price when being sold at the wrong place, and they will praise your hair for asking about things you can give them 10 cents on the dollar for.

    I just got a Kyocera 120W pv panel at a thursday afternoon flea market for a fraction of the $2,40/Watt that they sell for new. It wasn't new, of course, but it was "nearly new" and still makes 82 Pacific North West Watts (that's about 8 Amps for a couple hours in the rare March full sun). That's a decent amount of power to keep an RV engine start battery and a genset start battery topped up, with the addition of a controller like a Morningstar SunSaver Duo PWM controller. 120W (nominal) is not enough to charge a 320# house battery array (which might need an 800W array to avoid running the genset often).

    Found in trash: SEALED container (19.5 oz) of DIY candle flammable gel. This is material with twice as many btu's per weight as candle wax (which makes pretty-good firestarter, unlike chicken fat). I warmed it up in boiling water and soaked some strips of cotton rag in it and cooled on a paper scrap. No petroleum or solvent smell. When room temp it looks and feels like double-thick cold Jell-O, until you put a lighter flame to a corner. It just about leaps into flame, without a flashover like volatile fuel, almost as fast as a rag soaked in kerosene. I suspect that it's similar to the fuel used in Swiss mil-surp stoves sold by CheaperThanDirt. In a hobo stove made of #10 can, an ounce of the stuff with a cloth wick brought a qt of water to a near-boil in 10 minutes (while starved of air and sooting bad, but smokeless). Neat stuff! I cans hav 5 gal bucket?

    Other near-free items: Sony PlayStation2 consoles with controllers and games. Available for about $25. The games are recently discontinued from stores, and even places like GameStop are closing them out at cheap-cheap-cheap, even the classics like Midway/Namco/Atari arcade games. Need screen to play games on that doesn't weigh 65 pounds? Sharp Aquos LCD televisions from before DTV changeover are cheap/light/flat AND great! Some are even natively 12v DC. Oh, yeah, a PS2 is a DVD player for movies, too.

    Remember all those green-tip .223 you bought last fall 'cuz they were so cheap? 420 round ammo cans for $169, and you have 300 remaining? Find a local gun store manned by the owner and trade your "not-very-armor-piercing" 62 grain ammo for at least twice as many (1 for 3?) of non-SS109 ammo. I've found the green-tip not very accurate but often loaded into okay brass. Make sure the ammo you get is brass-boxer and new-loaded not re-loaded (as so much lower-cost .223 is now). Even after you sloppily mag-dump one after another (was that 90 rounds?) from your bump-fire auto-yuppie black rifle, you will get a big pile of nice reloadable brass.



    1. Our thrift store couldn't get rid of a lot of VHS tapes, even at 25 cents. This was back when I could trash pick them ( management put a stop to that for some reason ). I got all the good movies from late 70's to mid 90's, anywhere from 100-150 I'd guess. And there they sit, waiting for summer because the pig player uses 70 watts to run. I know my case is unigue, but sometimes even free isn't as good of an idea as thought.

    2. There are gems hiding in the VHS pile: movies so obscure or with rights so confused, that they have never been legitimately issued on DVD or Blu-Ray. Free can become $5-$20+ with a printed sleeve and playable.

      VHS tapes, especially in the clamshell box, can be used as insulating forms for pouring concrete (glued to the pour side of plywood forms- add thick plastic sheet for waterproofness or vapor barrier). They are also great for holding wood off of damp concrete floors (if you are so fortunate to have a concrete floor) so that it doesn't rot. As long as the boxes are not structural, they make good spacers for sound insulation, since they are a regular shape.

      Unwound 1/2" VHS tape is Mylar. Thousands of feet per cartridge, so only your imagination limits you.

      VHS tapes in sufficient quantity will make a fire that is hot as hell and very sooty (toxic nastiness for the unlucky downwind). This heat/soot combo upsets NV and thermal viewers. Tires also, but the trick is 5-8 foot mounds of the plastic-rubber fuel, pre-placed where needed.

      70W seems like a lot of power to run a VHS deck. Does this model have a built-in CRT screen? Is this number the nameplate consumption or your measured number?

      You might need some more pv panels, as well as some more real deep-cycle batteries (6v golf car GC2xxx, Trojan --or clone-- 6v T-105's) and not Marine/Starting not-deep-cycle batteries. If it says CCA on the tag, it's not a deep cycle battery, it's a starting battery with thin-ish plates.

      I believe that in real terms (wages/food), PV panels will never be cheaper. $150 for 100W of monocrystaline panel is a pre-buy of 30 years of off-grid power, replacing expensive fueled genset or relieving non-powered misery. "100W" 365 days a year, 5 hours a day, 30 years x 80% = 4380KW/hrs, 35Amp/Hrs into your battery per day forever (25A-H/day after 25 years, maybe).

      Add cheap land, privacy, fuel costs of gen set avoided, no power bill, and pv is the best deal in a thousand years. Only stealing all the gold of central America by the Spanish even comes close!

      If you can hook to the grid, 30 years of a 100W pv panel is $535 worth of power (12 cents/KW/Hr, YMMV) over 30 years, which is a silly use of money if you believe in PGE and civilization continuity. As a hedge, not so silly, even if you have grid.

      Two 68# 6V batteries in series always beats two 68# 12V batteries in parallel (assuming same chemistry, similar price).

      When buying new batteries, consider getting a PulseTech pulser to keep the plates clean during forming and later. They may be questionable for "reviving" sulfated junk batteries, but the research looks good on preserving/optimizing new batteries. Get the 12v models, even if you are using a 48v battery bank: buy multiples of 12v for flexibility.

      Praise the Lord Bison hair, no matter the length. Hat for NV sun until grow-out?

    3. The best deal in a thousand years is the US stealing all the gold after all the suckers left it in Ft Knox after WWII. Now they want it back? Oops. Already used it up. All we had to do was steal the uranium from the Nazi's, then use their scientists to make a bomb, paid for with bonds bought by defense workers sucking in aspestos so they'd die before redemption. I'm in the wring line of work.