Thursday, September 18, 2014

Life is just trucking along, and meeting new friends

    Well its been a few weeks since I have done a post, so I thought I would drop a quick post to let everyone know that I am still breathing, sorry no pictures in this one. As the title states, life is just trucking along. Work has been ok, except last Sunday when I got a tentative job offer with Department of the Navy at NAS Jacksonville. Yes, USAJOBS continues to be a pain in my ass. Here, I accept a job and move 5 hours away and after being here one month, I get a job offer for a job I applied for in March, yes March. It took them 6 months to find someone to fill that position. How F*$&#*G!!! ridiculous is that. Of course I thought I could make it work, and accepted the position, but after sitting down and looking at the logistical expenses of me living in Florida by myself and the the expense I would face and time away from the family, I rescinded my acceptance and told the HR guy. "If the decision was 3-4 months earlier this wouldn't be an issue". So life continues on.....

     Since I have been here in SC, I have been searching for a group of like-minded individuals that think like me and recognize that we are at a sad state in this country and think of self reliance and force protection principles to sustain us into the future, basically what I had in Florida with Stephen, Duke, and the others. This past Tuesday, I met with two gentleman, one (John) was at that past training event I attended, the other I have never met. I have kept in contact with him since the training and didn't realize he is a member of a group in my area. I met them at a eatery and had lunch with them. I guess you can say it was somewhat a "vetting" process, that's what I took from it. This afternoon, I received and email inviting me to their group meeting this Sunday afternoon. We'll see where this goes. The initial impression is that this group is made up of numerous backgrounds and skill-sets so it will be interesting to see how many members there are and how everyone personalities are. Will keep you posted.

      This afternoon, I had some roof repairs to do. Tuesday night we had some bad storms come though and dumped a S*(&)*&D! of rain on us and have a good leak. So this afternoon I was on the roof with a 3.5 gallon pail of Wet-Dry placing a new layer down around the chimney enclosure that my dad did years ago. I could tell its been awhile since it was last done as there were cracks in the previous layer and one specifically that had water in it. Of course, while I was up there, JUGM starts screaming, one of the chicks decided he was big and bold and took flight out of the make shift brooder. My natural reaction was what happened, but then I heard foul language coming out her mouth, of course directed at the chick, so I went back to what I was doing. So over dinner, I get a item added to my check list which consists of constructing a new brooder. It never ends here.

     Well I shall get back to watching T.V. Hope everyone has a great rest of your week.


Monday, August 25, 2014

New follower and review of a past training experience

    I would like to welcome a new follower, Longtime Wife has decided to follow me and I thank you for clicking the follow button, welcome aboard!!! I have added her blog in the hyperlink contained in her name, go over and say hi.

    Since I have been real busy over the past few months, I almost forgot that JUGM got me a very cool fathers day gift. She found a tactical training course just north of Charlotte called Wolf-Fire Firearms Instruction and thought it would be cool for me to go have some fun. I took the drive up there on a Friday night for the weekend.

     Rain was in the forecast so we all set-up camp under the tin-roofed barn. Of course I had my hammock set-up and I got a great night of sleep. 

     During the night, there was some very in-depth discussions on our current state of affairs ranging from the economy to self-defense and where we think things are going and who and what we are all about.  I think the last time I checked my citizen eco-drive, it was after 0200 and the snoring commenced, not just mine.

      Daylight arrived and it got hot very quick. After breakfast, training began with a safety brief. The instructor, David is real big on safety, and I commend him for that. It doesn't matter who you are and your level of proficiency, you can never have enough safety. 

     First session of the day was designed for tactical pistol. This was not standing in front of a target and shooting, this was elevating your heart rate and moving behind cover, running all-out and engaging targets, and point shooting. I was very pleased with how I and the others did, I heard for many years in the Navy, train like you fight and fight like you train. If you encounter a real-life situation, is you heart rate going to be 60-70 beats a second? Oh hell no!!! You will be above 120 beats a second so why not learn to shoot with an elevated heart rate and adrenaline in your veins? Make sense to me.

     Second session of the day was tactical rifle skills. You think I did running in the first session, think again. My team mate in the drills, John from a neighboring county here in SC, and who has attended several courses here suggested we do "Burpies". Now, I had no idea of what a burpy was, but later learned that John is really big into cross-fit and after the explanation, it was similar to 8-count body builders I did in the Navy. Now try doing those damn things after already running, with a tactical vest on, then running 50 yards before firing your first round. Thank god I didn't have my plates in. The instructor had one of his friends come out and do some camera work and I am happy to say, I have pictures and I can still run very fast. That session lasted I think maybe 3 hours, could have been more or less since I was dehydrated, tired, and lost all conception of time. Here are some of the pics.

Notice the angle of shooting to reduce exposure when shooting

John and I discussing one run.

    After the day was done, would I recommend this course or a course similar to this, HELL YES!!!
I learned a lot during this course. First, evaluate what you carry equipment is. If SHTF happens during the summer, there will be many people out there that will find out the hard way, that's kind-of why I wanted to do this in an extreme environment, to test myself. You will also learn what equipment set-up is good for you. I wish I had brought an AR or my AR pistol because shooting 500 rounds through an AK beat the crap out of my collar bone, and had a few magazine issues with mine. After closer review, it was the 2 TAPCO magazines I was carrying. 

    Second, accept criticism from the instructor. David on several occasions told me to try a different way to handle the weapon to improve accuracy and sight alignment for speed shooting and by-god it worked. The pistol session was not as bad as the AK took on my collar bone, but it was a good pain. 

    Finally, if you train during the hot and humid summer months, take a lot of water and gatorade with you, holy cow it was hot. I intend to continue with training and will return when it cools off some.



Friday, August 15, 2014

Decisions, they are very tough and painful.

     I know many of you have noticed that I have been absent for quite some time. As I sit here this morning, this time away has given me ample of enough time to make many tough decisions and to breath easy and relax some, and I will state again, RELAX some. I haven't had a real vacation in 28 years and the past week and half has been great. Now, getting back on topic, we all are encompassed by many factors in life that affect our decisions for ourselves, our family, our finances, and our happiness. Since I graduated from college last September, I have been searching for new employment. Yes, I was in the commercial lawn management/landscaping in Florida and at the age of 43, it is taking its toll on me, mentally and of course physically. Go spend 6-8 hours in temperatures in excess of 90 degrees with heat index's well over 100 everyday for over 6 months at my age. If you can do it, well by God let me know and you can buy all my commercial equipment and go get heat stroke. My goal of having this business was to sustain me with a very comfortable lifestyle through school, giving me the flexibility to manage my business and learn as I went through school to obtain my business degree, and time with my boys. It was also good to have my own business as most of you know, the health of my father took a turn real quick and was able to spend time with him up to his death. Well yesterday, I accepted a position in Charlotte, NC and will start in two weeks.
     Most of and some of you know that JUGM has been in SC for the summer with the boys, well now we can become a family again. This decision has not been very easy. JUGM's parents are not in the best of health, and I feel that I will be a crutch for her, her sister, and unfortunately, her brother as both of my parents are gone and they have someone to lean on and help with estate and probate issues. We talk every night about her parents, and I hear her pain in every breath. With that being said, I have an underwater house in Florida, thanks to the US government approving and giving houses to people who couldn't afford them or a house with property in SC that is paid for. So, the house will be rented out until I can sell and break even. Property taxes in FL, in excess of $1600 per year, and going up. Property tax in SC is $253 for the first year and after one year, I file my exemption as a disabled veteran and it drops to $10, yes $10 a year. Gas, roughly .30 cents cheaper per gallon here in SC, food prices are cheaper, utilities are 1/2 to 2/3 cheaper, and saving the best for last, my auto insurance will drop from $212 a month to $95 and some change, that's a $1404 a year savings.
      Living in FL for the past 28 years has giving me a humbled opportunity to meet some great friends and that is what is stinging the most with this move. Yes, I have friends up here in SC, most I have known since I was running around this hill-top in Pampers with theml, but over the years we have maintained good relationships, even with me leaving for some many years. This community here is a very close knit group, we all know each other and have for a very long time and we all support each other. Not saying that I didn't have support in FL, I did and will always be a friend to my fellow group members there. Hell, now there is another place to relocate too if it hits the fan.
      So, I hope this blog post shows that I am still alive, JUGM did not wax me and collect insurance money. I have had a lot of interviews here in SC and NC and it has finally paid off. I still am scratching my head why no business in FL that had open positions did not want to take a chance with a disabled veteran who is a college honor graduate? Oh, by the way, USA JOBS is a FUCKING JOKE!!!!!! Sorry for my french but the VA will continue to be screwed up until they let veterans in there to fix it, so stop with the diversity bullshit!!!!! In closing, I look back at this whole process, it took awhile but persistence does finally pay off.



Friday, May 23, 2014

In the woods for some much needed R&R

   The school year has ended, baseball is one game away from turning the lights off until the fall, and work has really sucked the past few weeks. We made a trip to god's country for some much needed R&R for all of us. We all intend to sleep late, eat high fat country food that makes Moo'chelle vomit into BO's taxpayer funded dress shoes, and may even fire off a few rounds like those poor bastards in Europe only dream of. I only have Internet on my phone so I may try to do a post this weekend, maybe from my hammock, who knows. As you can see,the dogs have beat me to it.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I'm back, now time to jump on my soap box and promote a Survival/Bug out product.

After a nice trip up to the house in SC, and dealing with some "DEATHLY SMELLS", yes, I had to remove a dead possum from under the house. He or she had been there for some time and must have climbed underneath after I left from a two day trip up to check the property a couple of weeks ago. I wont go into graphic details of how far I had to crawl underneath, but all that was left was bones, some skin and hair and a whole bunch of maggots. Yes, dry heaving in a confined space was in full effect. Hey, it builds character right?

Ok, as you seen in my last post about the Goal Zero Guide 10 solar kit, I am getting back in the mood to do some more reviews on bug-out/survival equipment. Now, before I start on the soap box, I have used this product numerous times. It has been put through cold temperatures, rain, tears in netting caused by shoe lace shackles on hiking shoes, and micro-bursts from thunderstorms and I can still use it today. Hell, it fared better than a pop-up camper. The item I am jumping on the soap box for is the Hennessey Hammock.

    This is my Hennessy Hammock Explorer Deluxe with the expanded rain fly. This picture is from our groups 2009 MLK trip to the river. I have found a video on YouTube that had a great review on the hammock, and trust me, this is strong advise from a person who is over 40 years old, you will never sleep in the ground again. This product is very easy to set-up and you have more options with the terrain that you encounter if you were in a bug-out type situation or even on a camping trip on uneven terrain. There are many videos out there on the web, so search them out and learn more about this product.

     When I had a tear in the netting, I emailed them to ask their advice and/or repair options, this company recommended a fix and wanted me to provide feedback on how the repair went. I went to China-Mart and bought some nylon thread and sewed the hole up and haven't been bitten by a bug yet. If you find a product that stands behind their product and wants your input, I don't know about you, but that says a lot to me.

   Well here is the video, if you have any questions that are not answered in the video, just ask me. I have experience in this hammock.

     Stay vigilant and safe out there.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Op-test of Goal Zero Guide 10 solar kit and thinking of bloggers in the Florida panhandle

     Today I did some op testing of the new Goal Zero Guide 10 Solar kit I purchased from amazon. Well before I start, I want everybody to think of our blogger friends, Mamma and Papa Bear, and the Marine over in the panhandle. I know they aren't in Pensacola which has some major flooding, and I mean major flooding, but they are in the panhandle and I hope they are all good-to-go over there.

     So today, I finished up early this week and after the rain came through around 1100, the sun popped out and here I am with a new toy so I took my half charged goal zero AA batteries out to the patio and angled the panels at a 45 degree angle to the sun and let it go. I am amazed at this product. Took just a bit more than a hour to fully charge the batteries. When I purchased the kit, I also added the 10 LED USB light and use it while I did this post.

     Here are the panels as they were positioned on a plastic chair on the patio. I will note that they will absorb the heat as well so if you have sensitive fingers, well wear some gloves. Also, Goal Zero recommends placing the actual charger behind the panels and the charger does heat up while charging, that's what I did.

     One thing I am impressed with Goal Zero, they don't require that you buy their rechargeable batteries. All they say is to use the Nickel/Metal Hydride batteries which I have several sets of Energizer rechargeables and charged a set after the Goal Zero brand batteries with no issues. I don't know about you and your thoughts as a consumer, but I hate when I have to buy a companies products for exclusive use in their items. I think they added to their consumer value by thinking and marketing it this way.

     Well since this pretty much considered a controlled test as I am not on a trip in the woods or grunting the sounds of survivalism, when I do make a trip, I will take it with me and see how it performs in actual environments. Until next time, stay on course and clear minded, too many distractions in the world.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Oh, how time flies by

    As the title says, time has been flying by with work, baseball, and other things. Went up last week and checked on the SC property and things were good-to-go. I finally got the one claim against a major health care provider resolved with another one filing 10 days late, after the claim period ended, and the court allowed it to be valid since the estate was still open. If you could have seem me, I was pretty pissed and angry about the whole situation. Now, since both my parents are both gone now, I don't ever want to relive the nightmare I have had to deal with in getting an Estate settled and closed. I will be making trips over the next few weeks to finally close it all out. Handling Estates are easy, minus the IRS and MEDICARE. See folks, look forward to what we all will have to deal with in regards to a government who is broke and needs money and a health care system that has been turned upside-down for the sake of people who don't want to work nor pay for their health care. Thanks Dead-Beats!

    The 24th was the one year anniversary of my best friend and father passing away. This last Thursday was a tough day. If any of you have still have a mother or father that is still alive, make sure you spend as much time with them as possible, it will ease the pain when that day arrives. My father was always photogenic, and looking through the many years of pictures he always had a smile on his face. This was the last picture I took of him a week before he passed.

    Other things going on in my hectic life, well you know by now, BASEBALL. Today our semi-pro team for the Florida Marlins had a game and all of us loaded up and met some other kids and coachs from our team and had a day at the ball park. Before the game, the team held a free clinic for the kids and we all went on the filed and had a good time.

Little ND pitching

      Earlier this week I managed to score some .22 sub-sonic ammo. Hey, it shoots and will be great for some practice. I'm not happy about the prices, but I'm not driving all over in an attempt to find some.  
     One other purchase that I was in need of was a personal solar power charging system. Now I have a large solar panel to charge my battery on my camper, but I wanted something that is a proven system that I can put in my pack. I spoke with some other like minded people and I know Stephen has done a post about his, so I went with the Goal Zero Guide 10. The present time, I just wanted to get a basic set-up but I will be adding to what I have purchased.
   So there you have it, this has been my life in a nut-shell for the past few weeks. I'm sorry if I haven't posted much but like many of you, we all have things going on. Hope everyone has a great start to this next work week, and make sure you work very hard for all the dead-beats who don't want to work. Holy-Cow, it's Democratic Representative Charlie Rangel....... Kindof looks like some other blogger we all know.