Thursday, July 20, 2017

dipped 1 of 2

note: KL of PA, got your most bitchen bob donation and order.  Many thanks!
note: "A Crude Awakening" the documentary movie on oil depletion is available on YouTube.  If anything in there disturbs you, just remember it is ten years old already.
Almost no survival plans are completely terrible.  I do not think a plan based on large amounts of debt has a huge margin of success attached to it, but one could almost-almost-say it was better than nothing.  I mean, I have a hard time seeing how anyone has lived in this country for the last forty-five years and not witnessed the increasing precarious state of employment, increased debt and purchasing power destruction all but the elite have suffered.  How can you actually think that not only is your job NOT the furthest thing from secure, but not see there also are less and less jobs to replace the one you are going to lose?  Are you blind or are you too optimistic or are you fatalistic?  Are you blinded by your own unique skills and personality?  Do you still buy into the fifty year out of date Horatio Algiers rags to riches fable ( the current incarnation of said propaganda is the Computer Company Buy Out, the unsubstantiated dream that the bankers will loosen enough funds for your dreamtime investor angel to spend extra millions beyond what a company can ever earn in three lifetimes, for an ap that is barely above Better Mouse Trap status ).


The typical prepper plan is one of unbridled consumerism ( I’m not sure if it is still published, but Shotgun News’ “Be Prepared” is literally nothing more than a glossy magazine with every single article highlighting up to dozens of products to buy.  It doesn’t even pretend to be anything other than Prepper Consumer Digest, but without the negative reviews ) which is only one of the aspects of survivalism.  And no, Dorothy, consumerism to purchase survival skills ( martial arts classes, shooting schools, semi-auto spray and pray with manly cries of Cover Me tactical schools taught by Sandbox vets ) is not what I’m talking about.  One of the most valuable skills you can learn in this game is learning how to spend less money.  Not more.  Any Gott Damn fool can “teach” you to spend more money.  Any moron can plan on Surviving And Thriving ( hint: spend lots of money because you deserve it.  Whether you can afford it or not is immaterial ).  Look, if you have a great paying job, nobody is saying you shouldn’t ratchet up the gear spending level.  If you already have years worth of wheat, why shouldn’t you treat yourself to a cool handgun?  But what you should NOT be doing is Business As Usual.


Isn’t the whole point of prepping to survive Wicked Things This Way Coming?  On what basis of facts do you assume nothing TOO bad is likely?  History?  If you assume Rome has another three centuries prior to collapse, you’ve opened the textbook too close to the beginning.  You start at the 400’s AD and you could be mere years away from barbarian occupation, plague outbreak, starvation and massacres.  In your self congratulatory state thinking you understand history, did you start early enough at the beginning of American Empire?  We might have only begun overseas rapine in the 1890’s, but the empire started no later than the founding of the Constitution, the original federal usurpation of power ( and we were wrestling for control of land far before that-but here was the controls taken off the westward expansion ).  What is to say 225 years isn’t long enough for an empire to rise and fall?  Did you forget that our oil and industrial economy has been around way OVER a hundred years?  If you think fracking oil is a new technology and will save us, you have no grasp on history whatsoever, cherry picking as it pleases you.


We are so over due for a collapse it isn’t even funny.  Miraculous, sure.  Humorous, perhaps not so much.  Amusing that folks who should know better refuse to acknowledge it ( and I will be laughing uproariously as the idiots swarm around like ants by a kicked over anthill ), but not as humorous per se as it used to be.  It’s easy to act all ninja warrior while things are good, no so much as reality rears its head.  Like the reality that retail is crashing.  70% of the economy is consumer spending and retail is in freefall as fewer customers have money to consume, after hour cuts and increased medical payments.  Obammy will join FDR as one of the most obvious banker suck asses in history.  And you think with extra effort and gumption you will be able to start a business and succeed and make a butt ton of money so you can stay in debt and buy all the cool prepper toys?  Genius, the economy is crashing.  Less money, less consumers, more business failures.  You can do everything right and less money in less hands means less purchases.  Does nobody remember the original Great Depression?  Why are you acting like the worlds biggest dumb ass, shoving more inventory on the shelf, bound and determined that if you present a pretty pony the sparkle will be enough to create more spending?  All the consumer goods in the worlds biggest mall are worthless without customers.


So, given all that, perhaps you realize that when it is time to batten down the hatches, that means don’t get into more debt.  Don’t spend too much extra.  In the almost year from the first new director’s panic ten percent hours cuts at my old job, I saved money like crazy.  I think in the whole time I treated myself to one case of ammo, a limited stock of war surplus 303 Cheaper Than Dirt came across and was selling at near 1990’s prices.  I could have gone psycho and bought every single case, as I had the money.  But joblessness was far more eminent than zombie hoards, and I already had a good amount, so I was a good boy and just kept stashing savings.  In the long run, perhaps this will prove to be short sighted.  But the thing about the collapse is that it isn’t all about combating evil biker gangs raping women.  First, it is about, wait for it, an economic collapse.  Is saving money for that retarded?  Perhaps, but getting into debt or mindlessly consuming for FURTHER into the collapse is worse.  If you have decided that where you are is far less than perfect but time is too short to dink around and spend more money, you might be in a DIPPED position.


 Right, dipped in crap.  But also, DIP, as in Defending In Place.  In my last blog, which wasn’t bad but surely wasn’t great as I had burned out on over five years of the Bison survival blog and drifted slightly from prepping plus I didn’t always have very long articles ( it was easy to go back to the primary focus as things careened wildly out of control and panic levels ratcheted ), a minion mentioned that he was going with a DIP plan.  It wasn’t perfect, that was acknowledged, but what he was doing was the best of bad choices.  Since he couldn’t relocate, and was getting up in years, he just started filling large plastic barrels with grains.  Come the time, his son’s teenage buddies would be fed in exchange for being the neighborhood defense force ( I think I’m remembering all that correctly-it’s been awhile ).  Two thirty gallon barrels will hold each person for a year ( yes, I know you can’t train and fight well on only 1500 calories a day-so that amount is emergency bare bones better than nothing one notch above the enemies starving hoards ) and ten would run you, what?  $700 or so? 


That is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying junk land half way across the country, moving there and building even a shack on it ( not to mention, lost wages or permanent unemployment ).  Yes, I know.  Extra weapons and ammo and water filters and all the issues of suburban survival.  No one is claiming perfection here.  Nor advisability or feasibility.  But, perhaps, practicality.  I of course didn’t remember the original article, but upon rereading it I do remember being impressed with the whole idea.  It went against everything I preach as far as location, but it was a wonderful thinking out of the box strategy.  A very brilliant solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem ( “how do we stay safe in our current situation”? ).  It didn’t try for the standard “I’ll just arm myself with a semi-auto arsenal and by the magic of my cyclical action I shall be a super warrior stud”.  You have to respect that.  It acknowledges tribe and true Force Multipliers ( higher tech is NOT a force multiplier, not in the long run and not against intelligent irregular warfare.  You can pretend your high resolution satellite photos and drones will win the war, but all the enemy has to do is hold on long enough for those toys to bankrupt you and your overseas supply line.  He just needs to keep herding his goats for a profit while you spend billions finding and killing a few other herders goats ) which is a strategic food supply.  I’ll continue this tomorrow.

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  1. Your station in life dictates what can spend on preps and everything else. If you're an employee slave and never broke free of the mental chains that bind then you get to do the thrift store for the rest of your life.

    But if you snapped them chains early and climbed the ropes at lightspeed to and eventual station of $150k per year + another $50k per year in cash off the books, then why not have a fleet of flir tipped full on assault guns with 100k of ammo? Red wheat? Please. Why not an entire basement of freeze dried everything with all the trimming?

    I'll tell you why, because I am the person I just described. Because along the way I didn't just learn to make money but also how to live outside the New York Times template of how semi wealthy people "should" live. I live frugally because I want to. I gain no stasifaction from $100k SUV's all over the driveway and 20 closets full of fancy clothes and 12 star restaurant eating everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. Know what we had for supper last night? Spaghetti, and I made it myself from scratch. Tonight? Leftovers. My Blazer is 15 years old, my wifes SUV is 11 years old, my S10 truck is 27 years old.

    Look. Just because all the signals are saying there is going to a tumultuous calamity vistimize this country severely, what if it doesn't? I'm 62 years old and I may live another 20 years, so why blow my wad right now if I don't have to?

    We're prepped, minimally, and just guessing, if it all ended today we'd get by comfortably for maybe 2 months and then another 2 months after that not so comfortably. We each eat less than 2000 calories per day while being mostly active and we waste very little and we spend only what we have to. Other than property taxes of about $1600 per year and utilities of about $200 per month we are debt free. Our cells are Tracfones and we have no TV cable/satelite. We do have an $80/mth Hughes satelite for internet.

    Most of your *prepping* posts are written from the perspective of the poor white sharecroppers child's perspective and that's all fine and dandy but what about people that won't settle for wheat berries every single day, or ever buy a 100 year old 11lb gun that may or may not defend when the time comes if it does?

    For me, your best posts are the ones that force, or urge, me to think beyond my comfort level, my level of known experience, because once you take me there I am free to do further research and/or think about something new, something that never tickled my cerebellum before.

    1. Well, there are two components to frugal prepping, and the obvious one is it is what most of us can afford. But the other one is, you minimize the reliance on technology. You are slightly anticipating the future of where we are headed. By NOT relying on high tech food processing, or engineering ( guns and ammo ), you skip an extra step of devolving technologically. Not always practically ( like with using LED's ) but philosophically.

    2. @ghostsniper - I'm in your shoes as well. Although I started out as a low-level wage slave I decided early on that I could do better than that. Earned a few college degrees (hard sciences) and advanced to the senior technologist levels in some of the big name corporations. There was the same suckage that Jim described at his employers (hey, people are people everywhere) and it stopped being fun about two decades ago but I stuck it out to fund my escape. (I'm the guy who wrote the guest article "Hobson's Survivalism" where I described how quickly a big squishy can be dropped on what appears to be a stable life/career choice.)
      Like you, I find it very difficult to let all that hard work and sacrifice go, and live in the genteel poverty Jim describes so well. My mind can grasp the argument and logic but my heart pulls me in the other direction. That pull is made even stronger when I see two of my co-workers who listened to the survivalist hype of the 1990's, quit their jobs, and moved to Idaho to escape the collapse that never arrived. After a few years of not-so-genteel poverty they returned to what was left of their careers and never recovered what they lost.
      Jim: There's an article idea for you - exploring and evaluating why folks are resistant to frugal prepping. You've done bits of that before but I don't recall a full article (I could be wrong). I believe that there are many folks who feel like ghostsniper and I do. We're in a position where we see trouble coming but have so much invested in where we're at right now that the jump to junk land and a BPOD is just too big to make right now. For many of your readers the choice is between being exploited-poverty status in the city or genteel-poverty status on your own junk land. But for some of us who have Yuppie incomes but not the Yuppie mindset the step down is quite severe. I believe this is the rationale behind the popularity of bugging out (risk mitigation) or hedging your bets by moving to the suburbs and prepping-in-place. Make sense?
      Also, our situation might provide an income opportunity for you to consider. Rich survivalists have their luxury bunkers and Yuppie preppers have their dream land in Idaho to bug out to when things get ugly (and, yes, I understand that bugging out is a bad idea. Let's set that aside for the sake of this discussion.) The middle class, non-Yuppie prepper sees the wisdom of the junk land / BPOD approach and could afford to have that as an insurance / backup option but faces a dilemma. They can't bring themselves to pull the pin and move there now, but can't have it in place and ready because there's no one there to watch over it until they move there.
      Suppose some of your readers decided to buy some junk land there in Elko and build a frugal prepper palace on it. Have you ever considered offering your services as one who would regularly patrol those locations and ensure they are not vandalized?

    3. Now that I actually have more time and energy to think, I'm coming around to partial and less than ideal solutions to better help those you describe. The DIP article was a taste of that. I'm going to cover bugging out and bugging in shortly. Actually, it is probably a good direction to veer to, now that choices have shrunk to crap and the end is indeed nigh. And, no, no business opportunity in what you describe. If I am able, without a motor vehicle, to check on anyone's place, it would be without charge, as in theory that is a future tribe member. The vehicle is the sticking point. Remember Elko county being bigger than some eastern states. Best to build underground and camo, then store goods in a storage facility. Still problematic but probably more practical.

    4. If you have a little money and want to prepare while hedging your bets, here's my recommendations.

      Find a small town -- 500 to 1,000 people. Buy a modest home with a basement. Buy a security door and good lock for the basement. Hire a property management firm or a dependable local and rent the home out as a vacation rental. Store all your end of the world stuff in the basement. Come visit/vacation at your little rental a couple times a year.

      The vacation rental will keep the house from being vacant all the time. The money you make will pay for the taxes, upkeep and pay for a property management firm to keep an eye on it. You will probably still have to pay the mortgage because you chose a small, remote, out of the way town that doesn't get too many vacationers.

      Some of your expenses for improving the house can be a tax write off for the rental income. And if the world doesn't end, it can be your retirement home or you can sell it.

      Idaho Homesteader

    5. Good idea-I'm partial to trailer parks but that is just a preference. Obviously a house would cost more but also be a fall back position most folks prefer instead.

    6. I know someone who runs a trailer park and it's definitely more hands on. You would want to be able to watch and maintain it a little more closely. A trailer park would be something if you already lived in the area not a person trying to stay/work in the city but still have a bugout place.

      With a house you can get one with a basement and save on storage unit costs. Plus a basement has a cooler temperature which is better for long term storage food.

      By staying a vacation rental you don't have to worry about the landlord tenant laws. In Idaho, they are very much in favor of the tenant. I believe AirBnB covers you in case of damages if you list with them (but don't quote me on that).

      Idaho Homesteader

    7. I think my original consideration was just income/investment, which the park was nice for. In case of long distance, yeh, yours is much better.

    8. Thank you, Jim and IH, for your well-reasoned responses. I lean towards the idea of the small, inexpensive home on the edge of a small town with the secure storage since I'm less of a loner than I believe of the folks here are. IIRC, Joel Skousen wrote about that in one of his books; I'll have to go back and review his thoughts as well.
      I believe that a mix of IH's suggested location and Jim's frugal preps is the way to go here.
      Jim: Was very impressed with your comment about doing the watchman work as a long-term investment in tribe rather than a short-term money-making opportunity. That shows a very forward-looking mindset that is admirable. You're a rare bird! I'm also looking forward to the articles you alluded to above. I'm glad that your new living situation has made that possible. I've always enjoyed your writing but have notice that it has become even better (more thought-provoking and focused) in these last few months. Thank you!

    9. Thank you very much. It is...strange, not having a second job. I got quite used to the stress, thinking it was just normal. Now I realize it probably was not the greatest idea. The NOL says I'm a lot less testy, which is good for the relationship, and I know the mental clarity has to help overall with the writing. He babbles as he awoke early from the heat.