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Sunday, September 24, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast #162 - South Florida Knows How To Hurricane

That's "be prepared for a hurricane" and not "make a rum cocktail."
  • Have you ever attended a Friends of the NRA Banquet? Are you curious about what it’s like? Beth shares her experience so you can decide if it’s something you’d like to do.
  • A man is accused of robbing three Charlotte businesses, but Sean finds out that his conviction record isn't the worst part of the story.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • In any situation you’ll get groups of people who have different skills and levels of preparedness. How prepared was Coral Gables, Florida for the long term loss of electricity? They apparently had their lawyers on speed dial. Miguel tells you what he thinks.
  • Our Main Topic is "Dry Fire Practice: Is It Boring?"
  • Tiffany finishes her three-part segment on the NRA Carry Guard Expo by talking about the good things she encountered within the Expo itself, especially the programs made for “the laaadieeeez.”
  • Back from her Evacu-cation, Erin has some tips and tricks for you to make your evacuation plans easier.
  • Now that the Brady Campaign’s Dan Gross  has been fired, Weer’d bids a farewell to Dan in the best way he knows how.
  • And our Plug of the Week is for the Pocket Pro II shot timer.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript -
 Evacuation Tips and Tricks
This was the second year in a row that I evacuated for a hurricane, and I’d like to think that I’m pretty good at it. So let me share with you some tips and tricks that I’ve learned. 

1) Know the order in which you want to load your stuff
For me, this is pretty simple:
  1. First I load my bug-out bag. Even if I can’t load anything else, that and the Get-Home bag I already have in my car will enable me to be a pretty comfortable refugee for several days. 
  2. The next thing I load are my guns and just enough ammo for them to fit inside their cases. Now, most people are wondering why I don’t load clothes next, and there’s are multiple reasons for that:
    • Clothes are cheap and easily replaced, while guns are expensive and a pain in the butt to replace. Besides, I already have changes of clothes in my bug out and get home bags. 
    • I don’t want my guns to fall into the wrong hands if looters get to my house before I can return. As a gun owner, I feel that I have an ethical duty to make sure my firearms aren’t used by criminals. 
    • In a worst-case scenario, I can trade a gun for something necessary, like food or shelter or transportation, because guns have intrinsic value. Clothes, not so much. 
  3. Then I add whatever gear isn’t in my bug-out bag but which would be useful for an extended absence (like camping supplies) or for sorting through wreckage, (like tools or protective clothing). 
  4. Next up are whatever portable electronic devices I can fit into a backpack, like my tablet computer and podcasting gear, along with recharging cables and docking stations. If I have the time, I’ll remove the hard drive from my desktop and put them into a protective waterproof box, like a Pelican Case.
  5. All of these have been items which are expensive and difficult to replace, going in order form “most useful” to “least useful”. If you’re making a list of your own, this is where you should put valuable luxuries like expensive jewelry, or irreplaceable sentimental items like heirlooms. 
  6. Then, and ONLY then, do I pack extra clothing. This is where your “nice to haves” go - things which would be nice to have with you but can be be replaced easily. 
  7. The last thing to go into my car are snacks and drinks. 
2) Have duplicates of your toiletries
I don’t know about the rest of you, but having a repeatable, reliable bathroom routine goes a long way towards making me feel normal and comfortable.

I recommend against packing up your toiletries as part of the evacuation process, because this will slow you down and you will probably forget things, like your favorite loofah sponge in the shower.

Instead, build an “overnight bag” complete with duplicates of all the things you use when showering, brushing your teeth, etc, and then grab that bag along with others in step one. That’s one less step to worry about and one more thing on your list that’s already packed.

What’s more, you can use this for things other than evacuations. If you’re going on vacation, or need to take a business trip, you can grab your overnight bag instead of having to pack, then un-pack, then re-pack your toiletries for another trip.

3) Have wonderful friends
Both times that I’ve evacuated, I have been blessed to have really great people volunteer their homes for me to stay in.

This hospitality is amazing, because not only does it save me the cost of a hotel room, but it also means I get to meet great people in real life and enjoy their company.

I’ve said this before, and I will say it again: if you’re a prepper, you can’t do it alone. You need people to help you out. Friends, extended family, other preppers in your group - all of these people constitute your Tribe, and you should cultivate those relationships. Go out of your way to help people, and they’ll be more willing to go out of their way to help you when you need it. 

A Quick Update

Looking over the blog, it appears that I haven't posted anything for an entire week. That's terrible.

I have a pretty good explanation, though:
  1. Last weekend, I received word that my part of Florida had the power restored, so I made plans to return home. 
  2. Monday, the person I thought I was going to get to visit on the way home had to beg off on account of sick kids, so that changed my schedule and meant that I was probably leaving too late in the day to make it home in one trip. 
  3. Fortunately, a lovely friend in Columbia, SC offered his guest room to me and I spent the night. So that's why there was no Monday post. 
  4. Damn near the rest of Tuesday was spent driving, and by the time I arrive home I was flat-out brain-fried and only wanted to rest. So, no Tuesday post. 
  5. Wednesday was spent unpacking. No, really. It seems to take me twice as long to unpack as it does to pack, because putting things where they belong (ordering them) takes a lot longer than putting them into suitcases (a mild form of disordering them) -- fighting entropy always takes effort. Plus I had to wash dirty clothes, remove the wrinkles from clean clothes that got mashed in the suitcase, etc. 
  6. Thursday was a headache in the morning and then recording the podcast in the afternoon, so I did actually accomplish something visible that day... you just don't get to see the fruit of that effort until tonight, when the podcast drops. Then my internet went out until morning. 
  7. Friday was just an utter cluster of everything that could go wrong actually going wrong. Most notable was when my keyboard stopped working for no apparent reason, and trying to get it fixed took up most of my time. Then I had to go shopping for a new one, and I didn't find one I liked, so I ended up ordering a new one on Amazon. 
  8. Yesterday was Salem Saturday. 

And the sad irony of the situation is that next week I will have to start packing all over again, because Friday-Sunday is the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Dallas. I'm so freaking tired of travelling, y'all, and I'm going to do it again on Thursday.

Plus I have to finish my speech.

And I've been invited to model for a Concealed Carry Fashion Show at GRPC, which is 50% flattering and 50% terrifying.

So basically... I'm fine, my family is fine, my dogs are fine, my house is fine, but I'm probably going to be an Amazing Stress Bitch this next week, so please don't hold it against me if you don't hear back from me until October 2.

And many thanks for being my readers despite my flakiness. Much love to you all!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

These Raptures Are Getting Tedious

By my count, I have now lived through three major (and countless minor) Raptures:

  1. The Great Rapture of '88, which actually was delayed until 1989, inconveniencing nearly everyone. 
  2. The Silent Rapture of 1994, predicted by Harold Camping, actually did happen despite what many naysayers claim, we just can't remember it. 
  3. And now, today, as I'm trying to go about my daily routine, another Rapture happens.

I got up today - a day like any other day - had my coffee and took my shower. I got dressed and forgot my wallet, so had to turn around and get it. I stopped in at Subway to get a good breakfast. Bacon, egg, and cheese on multigrain flatbread. Megan's a good Sandwich Artist, and always keeps a few eggs in the refrigerator for me, because she knows I'm terrible at waking up early. Unfortunately, when I got there, she'd already been Raptured, so there was nothing but a visor and a pile of clothes draped over the counter and no egg in the refrigerator.

Having to forego breakfast, I decided to pick up some groceries, so my next stop was Target. Target, unlike Wal-Mart, doesn't have door greeters, so I didn't notice anything amiss when I first passed through the automatic doors and walked past the Starbucks near the entrance. I thought the store was surprisingly empty, but it wasn't until I walked up to my usual checkout aisle that I noticed that Cheryl, the pretty older woman who always has a bit of an extra smile for me, was gone. Another frustratingly empty pile of clothes on the floor next to her register.

Unable to obtain groceries, I left the food spoiling in the cart at the registers and decided to go pick up a package from the post office. As you can imagine, this went as well as the rest of my visits - the entire post office had been Raptured. I'm not kidding. Every person in the place, customers included, was gone. In fact, the front windows, all of the packing materials, and an entire wall of PO boxes were gone as well, but whether that was from looting or some new kind of Rapture I'm not qualified to say.

I've now returned home, and I intend to spend the rest of the day fuming in frustration, watching Star Trek on Netflix and playing video games, as I apparently can't get anything done thanks to these annoying Rapt

[note: the preceding is all that exists of this article. The author cannot be located, but this was found in his home]

Sunday, September 17, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast #161 - We Are But Mad North-North-West


Erin's neighborhood was supposed to get its power restored this weekend. Now it's been pushed back until Tuesday next week.

  • Beth says it's always the right time to talk to children about firearms, and the new book "Safety On" by Yehuda Remer can help you with that.
  • A second suspect has been identified in a NW Charlotte homicide, and good news! He's not quite as awful as the suspect they have already charged!
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • To be, or not to be: that is the question. Or perhaps the question is "to stay, or not to stay." And when the hurricane blows southerly, Miguel knows a hawk from a handsaw.
  • Our Main Topic is the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showing that more Americans than ever have a gun in their homes.
  • Tiffany covers a few of the Every Day Carry travel considerations that aren't usually discussed in the average concealed carry permit class.
  • Erin left the hurricane behind. But she has preps in place, so why evacuate? She shares her thoughts on avoiding troubles as a valid prepping strategy.
  • The Joyce Foundation Shell Group, States United, has cooked up a “Video Game” to oppose concealed carry Reciprocity, and gets the reaction from alleged Real People™. Weer'd has the audio.
  • And our Plug of the Week is for the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program.

Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!

Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.


Blue Collar Prepping Transcript -

Why Evacuate When You Have Preps?
As I write this, I’m comfortably ensconced at Castello Sorrentino, enjoying the delightfully cool North Carolina weather. The reason I’m able to  enjoy it so much is because Hurricane Irma largely missed my part  of Florida, contenting herself with knocking down trees and power lines. This means I no longer have to worry about the safety of my family or the integrity of our house, and my evacuation has become a vacation. 

Despite all this, though. I’m still having trouble shaking the feeling that I am now 2 for 2 at being a gigantic pussy when it comes to hurricanes. After all, what kind of prepper am I if I chose not to reply upon those preps, but instead to run away at the first opportunity?

Friend of the show Josh made a great point last week when he posted this to the BCP Facebook group:
It occurs to me that training with a firearm and preparing for disasters are very similar.
In both cases you are gathering the tools and knowledge to handle a situation if it gets bad. In both cases your education tells you to leave the area as soon as it seems likely things actually will go bad.
And I believe this with 100% conviction. Just like concealed carriers 
believe "You win every gunfight you avoid", we preppers believe that we survive every disaster we aren’t present for. Sure, you might be able to out-draw or out-shoot a bad guy, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get through the experience unscathed. You might get hurt anyway, or be arrested and tried for murder by an overzealous prosecutor, or be harassed by the media and hated by your community. 

Similarly, if you rely on your preps to get you through a disaster you could have avoided, at the very least you’ve consumed those preps and need to replace them. Progressing up the scale of awful, take a moment to realize that “surviving a disaster” and “surviving a disaster unscathed” are two completely different things. If you’re crippled, but you lived, then technically you’ve survived…

Now I understand that there are some situations where people cannot evacuate. Perhaps you have a family member who cannot be moved, and evacuating without them would be the same as abandoning them. Perhaps you don’t have a car or the funds required to get out. Perhaps you have a job as an emergency responder, and it’s your duty to help those who didn’t leave. In all of these cases, I understand why you didn’t go, and I don’t fault you for your choice. 

But what gets me are the people who have the ability to leave but choose not to evacuate -- like my parents, who say “We evacuated once back in 2003. We were stuck in traffic, and the dogs were hot, and we couldn’t find a hotel that would take us and our pets. We’re just going to stay behind.”  To me, this is like saying “We’d rather risk death than be inconvenienced by an evacuation.” I don’t get this. I just DON’T. It’s like hearing the anti-vaccine folks talk and realize that they’re saying “Having a dead child is preferable to having one with autism.”

So I just leave at the first sign of impending doom, because the best prep is not gear, not training, but the ability to get yourself out of dangerous situations - and the best way to get out of dangerous situations is not to get into them in the first place. 

This is why I’m up here in North Carolina, enjoying lovely weather and power and internet, while my family are sweltering in summer Florida heat without air conditioning. 

Yup. They really saved themselves some inconvenience, didn’t they?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Salem Watches Television: An Unexpected Discovery

Wooo that was a misleading title, wasn't it?

I love Star Trek. Not to the extent of my big three, which are Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, and Mystery Science Theater 3000, but in the eternal debate of Star Wars vs Star Trek, I'll always pick Trek. I remember seeing some of the movies when I was visiting my dad's family in Boston as a wee one, catching reruns in the afternoon, and staying up late to watch The Next Generation and Deep Space 9.

I still haven't (and most likely never will) finish watching Voyager. I keep meaning to watch the last two seasons of Enterprise, but can never find the time for it. I suppose this is for the best; those series will never reach the brilliance of story-telling that DS9 did, so I'll let them go.

I even enjoy the relaunch movies to an extent. Into Darkness was still visually pleasing despite being inferior to its inspiration, and it's a shame that nobody saw Beyond, because it was a lot of fun

What am I getting at with this nostalgic reminiscence? Well, Star Trek: Discovery will be coming out soon... I think. I say "I think" because I actually have no intention of watching it -  not from some misguided boycott or sense of betrayal or anything like that, but just out of a lack of interest. I've kept up with behind-the-scenes scuttlebutt on the series, and given the re-writing, re-casting, and overall mess that's been going on around it, I just don't see a reason to get invested.

I've seen public statements that have been comparing the Klingons in ST:D (and who thought that abbreviation was a good idea?) to both Muslims and "Trump's America", and which celebrated the gender and racial diversity of the main cast, but there has been absolutely no confidence shown whatsoever in the actual writing of the show.



ST:D (I'm not going to stop calling it that) just does not look interesting at all. Something which has caught my eye - though in a very surprising way - is The Orville.
That's... a nice ride.
I hate Family Guy. I viscerally hate it. I don't think I've ever enjoyed something that's had the creative hand of Seth MacFarlane on it; there's just something about his humour that doesn't click with me. So when I heard he was making something of a comedic tribute to Star Trek, I decided I was going to just stick to ST:D and be done with it.

Except for two things:
  1. ST:D is going to be on CBS All-Access, and I can't really think of anything else on CBS I want to watch, so I don't really want to pay for a subscription service for one show. I have a feeling this is going to be a fairly common sentiment as well, so a large portion of ST:D's audience is going to be torrenters, downloaders, and pirates. 
  2. The Orville is... actually pretty good. 
That last one was a shocker to me. I wasn't going to watch The Orville, but given how many people on my timeline were singing its praises, I gave it a shot. The effects aren't bad (a plus, given how it will save on budget with its minimalist style and slightly cheap CGI); the writing isn't over-the-top inexplicable Family Guy humour; the acting is serviceable; and most importantly, it's got heart.

While I feel that ST:D is going to be a lot of super-serious people pulling super-serious faces while bashing us over the head with a Trump-hammer painted in a vaguely Klingon-esque manner, The Orville promises a light-hearted space adventure somewhere between TNG and Galaxy Quest. And really, I think that's what I want right now. I think that's what a lot of people want right now, if the ratings are any indication. 
"Are they right? Am I out of touch? No... it's the viewers."
Here's to you, Seth. While Trek may be lost to heavy-handed message fiction, you've earned a chance. Don't waste it. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

An Even Five

I am convinced that the number 5 is even.

Not mathematically even, mind you, but conceptually even because humans have 5 fingers per hand , thus a "whole hand" is an even value.

If you want proof, think of it like this:
  • The number 4 is indisputably even. 
  • So is the number 6. 
  • But 7 is indisputably odd. 
  • So if you are given the sequence 4, 5, 6, 7 and told to eliminate the number which doesn't belong (or doesn't "feel right"), which one do you cross out?

You could pick "5, 6, 7" and not be wrong (because there's no wrong answer to this), but I'd wager that most people will pick "4, 5, 6" . This is because 5 both "feels" even and is right in the middle where it "ought" to be (because 5 is half -- right in the middle -- of Base 10). "4, 5, 6" just feels like a string of three even numbers that other sequences don't give.

Five is the "even" number that belongs in the middle. (Or at the end, which is why we love counting in units of five. Again, Half of Base 10.)

Post-Irma Erin

An update on how my family and I are doing can be found over at Blue Collar Prepping.

Monday, September 11, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast #160 - Round and Round


Blood going round and round: Good.

Hurricanes going round and round: Bad.
  • Beth is on assignment and will return next week.
  • What kind of sicko breaks into rehab facilities and sexually assaults the patients? Sean takes a closer look.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • What do you do when a Category Five hurricane is barreling down on you? If you’re Miguel, you fret that you don’t have enough propane, because you’ve already used yours to smoke ribs and brisket.
  • Our Special Guest this week is Kelly Grayson, the Ambulance Driver, here to explain what lifesaving medical equipment lay rescuers should have in their kits… and more importantly, what they shouldn't have.
  • Tiffany’s back with her first after-action report on NRA’s Carry Guard Expo in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You’re going to love her off-the-cuff interview with her Uber driver.
  • Unlike Miguel, Erin is evacuating Florida before Hurricane Irma arrives. On the eve of her departure, she gives us her thoughts on the bug-out process.
  • Weer'd talks about the Kellermann Study in nearly every episode. This week he finally gives that piece of anti-gun “Scientific” research the Patented Weer'd Fisk Treatment that it so richly deserves.
  • And our Plug of the Week is for Smuggler's Notch Litigation Wheat Whiskey.

Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

There is no Blue Collar Prepping Transcript this week because Erin recorded her segment extemporaneously and so there are no notes to transcribe. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

I Hate To Say I Told You So

Ah, who am I kidding?


  • Clinton vs Sanders.
  • Trump vs Clinton. 
  • Battfleck. 
  • The Fall of The House of Whedon.
  • Antifa is not your friend

I keep predicting these things, and I keep getting them right, and nobody listens. I'm starting to get a Cassandra Complex over here.

In the mid 1960's, UC Berkeley was home to the one of the biggest acts of mass civil disobedience, led by students demanding the campus lift restrictions against political speech on the campus, it was dubbed "the home of the free speech movement." Decades later, it was the catalyst point when professional troll Milo Yannapoulis arrived to give a speech and on the same night Antifa decided he shouldn't, and the casualties against the "racist, fascist KKK" (according to the chants) were ATMs, Starbucks windows, and various trash bins.

And the times, they are a-changin'
A month or so before, Alt-Right poster boy (and, I suspect, controlled opposition) Richard Spencer was punched by somebody in a mask and black hoodie. That YouTube video has over 3 million views and spawned the frankly annoying #PunchANazi meme. I can't help but think of the stock response to the strawman MRA argument of "why can't I punch women if they punch me first?" that I always hear: Stop punching people. Why do you want to go around punching people?

 And in the months before even this, during the election, there were scrawny black-clad figures attacking people at political rallies. And they haven't stopped. The sad thing is you can't disavow them or their actions without the inevitable cries of "Oh so you support the Nazis huh?" As if it's somehow impossible to dislike Nazis while also disliking LARPing Anarcho-communist kids with silver spoons in their mouth and bike locks and pepper spray in their hands.

A few months ago, Snopes debunked the claim that Antifa had been declared by the DHS a terrorist organization. You'll have to take my word for it, as I can't even find an archive of that now, and that article is gone from their internal search engine, but just a weeks ago, it happened very publicly and since then the media narrative has started to shift. A petition first started circulating through the internet over at whitehouse.gov to formally recognize Antifa as a terrorist organization. It now has almost 350 thousand signatures and still another week before it closes. Just this last week it was revealed that a joint task force between the FBI and DHS classified their activities as domestic terrorism and had been doing so since early 2016... before Trump was even elected.

So again, I really hate to say I told you so (I don't, I really don't), but I called it once again, Left. I called it and instead of listening, you all just went out and hashtag-punched-a-Nazi. Or anyone on the Right. Or someone who looked like a Nazi. Or someone who disagreed with you. Or someone who disagreed with punching a Nazi. Or someone on your own side who also wanted to punch Nazis.

Before last week, you'd normally only see only conservative sites like The Daily Caller or Conservative Review pushing for this designation. Now you have The Daily Beast, The Hill, and Bustle weighing in on it. Only Salon has remained strangely silent, offering up a feeble piece about how Antifa is helping in aid for Hurricane Harvey (yet doesn't seem to cover any actual Antifa groups in the article). The Democratic Party has been distancing themselves, with even the Mayor of Berkeley (once tied to the group "By Any Means Necessary" and infamous for directing the police not to engage rioters in Berkeley) and House Majority leader Nancy Pelosi denouncing them. There's blood in the water, metaphorically this time.

I tried to warn you, Left. I really did.

Due to evacuating from Hurricane Irma, our esteemed editor is not available to proofreed my article this week. Any missed opportunities for fancy editing or typographical errors are entirely my fault. We wish you well, Erin. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Hurricane Irma Predictions & Bug Out Mobility

People have been asking me, and if I'm worried about Irma, and if I've started to evacuate or not. I've written a detailed post about that over at Blue Collar Prepping.

Also, because I forgot to mention it here, on Saturday I wrote a post about my new mobility option for bugging out with gear. Here's the article, if for some reason you also aren't subscribed to my prepping blog.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast #159 - We Agree With Nancy Pelosi. Yes, We're As Surprised As You Are.


"Lickspittle" is an excellent pejorative that deserves more usage.
  • Beth taught a USCCA class in Connecticut this past weekend, where apparently the state wants to make it as difficult as possible for people to get CCW permits or firearms, with blocks at every turn! Where's reciprocity when you need it?!?!
  • What kind of person robs a bank and murders 2 tellers in the process? The story quotes the FBI report, but Sean reads the criminal record.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • Do you know a loved one's most important medical details when they need to be taken to the ER? Stuff that will be needed RIGHT THIS MOMENT? Miguel has some suggestions for us.
  • Our Main Topic is The End of Antifa. Their left wing allies are telling them to knock it off. It's a cynical Sister Souljah moment by the establishment.
  • Tiffany is on assignment and will return soon.
  • You survived the hurricane - now you have to survive the flooding. Erin gives prepping advice based on what she's seen in Houston.
  • Former Bloomberg lickspittle Mark Glaze goes out on his own, and now he’s out for blood! Weer’d looks at Glaze’s talking points through the ages.
  • And our Plug of the Week is for the Wondery podcast, "Tides of History."
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!

Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript -
Flood Preps
Back in episode 51, when Tampa was flooded, I discussed what to do if your car was caught in floodwaters. Given the situation in Houston, it seems timely and relevant to discuss what to do if your home is flooded. The most important piece of advice I can give you is something that I’ve echoed many times before: If you know a disaster is coming and you have the ability to get out, do so.

I know the mayor of Houston told people not to evacuate, and I can sort of see his reasoning for it: the Houston interstate system is also its flood control system, with the water designed to follow the roads until it lets out into the Gulf - and the last time Houstonians evacuated, which was in 2005 for Hurricane Rita, the roads quickly became jammed because Houston is the 4th largest city in America. A combination of gridlock and a heatwave resulted in up to 118 deaths before the storm even arrived, as opposed to only 113 deaths caused by Rita itself.

So from a logistical point of view, I can see why Mayor Turner didn’t demand mandatory evacuation. But the key word there is “demand”; just because you don’t have to go doesn’t mean you shouldn't go. From my point of view, evacuation not being mandatory just means I have an easier time getting out of town! But let’s say you’ve decided not to evacuate for whatever reason. You’ve stockpiled food, water, batteries, and medical supplies, and your house made it through the storm in one piece - but now you have to deal with flooding.

Ideally, you live on high ground, which means your house isn’t flooded. But even if that’s the case, you are likely without power and running water, and you may need to leave your house to get supplies. If you aren’t on high ground, you definitely need to move so that you can get a warm, dry place to sleep, because floodwaters cause hypothermia, structural damage to houses, and disease with them. Your three biggest needs are waterproofing your preps, communication, and transport. 

Waterproofing is a subject that I discussed in its own segment in episode 29. I won’t repeat all of that here, just add that if you’re going to go to the trouble of making preps, you need to keep them dry and keep them from floating away. Having food in a waterproof box does you no good if that box has floated off in the floodwaters! So lash your preps your something strong. 

And I do mean strong. Two feet of water can pick up and move trucks, so don’t think that lashing your boxes to a 100 pound shelf is going to do you any good. I mean strong as in a structural support or part of the foundation.

Where you put them is also a bit of a gamble. You don’t want you preps on the ground floor if you’re expecting floods, so many preppers store theirs in the attic - which is great, except for the fact that hurricane-force winds have a distressing tendency to peel roofs off. 

The best advice I can give is to keep your preps with you wherever you shelter, so keep them portable, and have a variety of places where you can secure them. Make sure they are visible, with bright colors on the lids and sides, so you can find them if they are covered by dark water. 

Communication sounds difficult because the best kind in a situation like this is a HAM radio. Most people think this requires a lot of expensive gear and a large antenna, but they’re wrong. For the low price of around $25 you can get the Baofeng UV5RA, a handheld HAM radio that looks like a thick walkie-talkie. This means that they’re not only portable, but that you can also keep them in waterproof containers until needed. 

Best of all, not only can the Baofeng listen to FM and weather bands, but there are also local repeaters nearly everywhere. You can set your radio up to link into these repeaters, and the repeaters then send your signal out at a significantly stronger and more efficient range. This means that your inexpensive handheld 2-5 watts radio can communicate up to several hundred miles if you get into a linked repeater system.

The drawback to these is that you need a HAM license in order to broadcast on them. But from my point of view, if it’s a survival situation, you use what you have to call for help and to paraphrase Ellen Ripley from Aliens, “The FCC can bill me later.”

Transportation is where it gets expensive, because I’ve been told that the owner’s definition of “a boat” is “a hole in the water into which you throw money”. But if you have a fishing boat, a flat-bottom utility boat, or even a rowboat, you’re doing well -- assuming, of course, it didn’t get floated away.

If you don’t own a boat, the cheapest option would be to buy an inflatable raft of some kind and store it along with your preps. Right now, the best kind I can find is an Intex Excursion 5-person inflatable raft with oars for $115 on eBay.

If you go this route, make sure you have the following accessories with it:
  • A tow line for securing it
  • Life vests for everyone who will use it, including pets
  • Extra oars - if you have 5 people, then 4 should be paddling and 1 should be steering
  • Repair kits, in case debris in the water pokes a hole in it
  • Some way to get it and yourself out of the attic, such as a fire ax, if that’s where you keep the raft. 
A raised inflatable mattress, like the kind you get from Serta, can also serve as a makeshift cargo barge. The twin version is rated to support 250 pounds or more, and the queen size ought to be at least double that. A cargo net, or one made from paracord, would not only secure what’s on it but also give you tie-downs for towing and securing it. Check out the video in the show notes.

Stay strong and stay dry, Texas.

Gays and Guns: The Rise of LGBTQ+ Gun Use in America

Back in June, I had the pleasure to speak with several young social media professionals from the UK about what it's like to be LGBTQ and pro-gun. I did my best, but I wasn't sure how good that was; the format was far more back-and-forth than a presentation, and that threw me off balance for a bit. When I was finished, I told myself "Well, now you know what you did wrong, and how to fix it. When you have to give another presentation like this, you'll do better because you'll know what to expect."

One of those young professionals (in fact, the gent in this picture) posted a video about his experience in the US talking to Americans about guns and gun rights. I encourage you all to give it a watch; he's very fair about the presentation and comes to some interesting conclusions at the end.

Personally, I'm just pleased that he has a smile on his face after shooting a pistol for the first time. Winning!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Perhaps the Bounciest Goosestepping EVER




I must admit that I'm enamored of the green coat and black skirt ensemble. Normally military skirts are right at knee length or below, but careful, dutiful study over frequent rewatchings has proven to my satisfaction that these skirts are 1-2 inches above the knee. Combined with such... bouncy... goosestepping, this is an audacious fashion choice.

And yet, somehow, it works. It's almost ridiculous, but not quite. Neither is it "sexy" or "slutty". It has an endering teenage quality to it, like you might get if you crossed cheerleaders with ROTC cadets.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

(Sunday) Schooling People

If you're going to cherry-pick Bible passages at me, you'd better bring your A-game, because not only am I going to read the entire chapter for context if you do, I'm also going to research your position using various concordances and commentaries. And if you're wrong, I will absolutely beat you over the head with it, and the icing on top will be Jesus's words against your position.

For context, last week a friend of mine made this Facebook post:


The comments are about what you'd expect. Most of them were from people who either moaned about how far we as a people have fallen from the light, or how Paul was deeply mistaken and that he'd be paying for this mistake in the afterlife.

Now when it comes to personal opinion, that's all well and good; you can believe whatever you like as far as I'm concerned. But when someone quotes the Bible in order to justify a belief which is completely in opposition to what Jesus preached, I go all Rarity on them.



The Old Testament
So when Christians try to condemn homosexuality using the Bible, the first place they usually go to is Leviticus, because it states twice (Lev. 18:22 and Lev. 20:13) that homosexuality is an abomination. In fact, Lev. 20:13 goes so far as to state that a man who has sex with another man must be put to death.

Now, setting aside for a moment the irony that the people who are making this quotation won't go out and execute homosexuals -- meaning they are violating the exact same Law which they claim to uphold -- there's the fact that they are cherry-picking the Law to suit their own ends.

No, no, no, sweetheart; you don't get to do that. You either follow ALL of Leviticus, or you follow NONE of it. And if you decide to follow all of it, that requires a radical change in lifestyle, because the Law bans a whole lot of things, including but not limited to:
  • Eating Fat or Blood (Lev. 3:17) - Sorry, no marbled rare ribeye for you!
  • Drinking alcohol in holy places (Lev. 10:9) - Sucks to be you if you're Catholic. 
  • Eating an animal which doesn’t both chew cud and has a divided hoof (Lev. 11:4-7) - This is the basis for the whole "no pork" part of Judaism. No bacon for you!
  • Eating seafood without fins or scales (Lev 11:10-12) - This basically amounts to "Fish and only fish." No shrimp, no crabs, no lobster, no calamari. I expect a LOT of people in Louisiana and Maryland would be upset by this. 
  • Mixing fabrics in clothing (Lev. 19:19) - No blends for you! All your clothes must be 100% cotton or wool or whatever. Go on, check your underwear; I bet it's a blend. 
  • Trimming or shaving your beard and/or sideburns (Lev. 19:27) - I guarantee you that every single American male has broken this law countless times throughout their loves. Fortunately for them, there's no penalty given. 
  • Getting a tattoo (Lev. 19:28) - Yes, even the cute little one on your ankle. 
  • And finally, my favorite:  (Lev. 20:9) "Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head." This pretty much dooms anyone who was ever a teenager. 

What's that, I hear you say? You don't want to do all these things? You want to shave and wear blended clothing and drink sacramental wine and eat bacon?

Sure, you can do all those things. Mark 7:14-23 is your escape clause.
Of course, if you use this, then you can't condemn homosexuals, either.

But wait! I hear you cry. Jesus specifically said 'sexual immorality'! Doesn't that include homosexuality?

Perhaps it does and perhaps it doesn't; I'll address that in a moment. Let me point out, though, that Jesus intervened to save the life of a woman caught in adultery -- the penalty for which was death of both parties, although the male adulterer is nowhere to be found -- so is it truly that difficult to believe that He would also challenge the death penalty for those who are homosexual?

But Erin! I again hear you cry. Jesus told the woman to 'Go and sin no more.' If He tells her to stop being an adulteress, then wouldn't He also tell a homosexual to stop being gay?

That is a topic for another discussion, because it assumes homosexuality is a choice.  I've met enough gay people who have fervently wished they could be heterosexual just to feel "normal" to cast that particular assumption into very strong doubt for me. Furthermore, there is a debate that homosexuality may be the result of genetics or environmental factors such as birth order.

If you want to have the debate that homosexuality is an illness or genetic defect, then I suppose we could argue that Jesus might cure a gay person of his gayness the same way He cured lame people of their lameness. But that's categorically not the same thing as telling a sinner to stop sinning.

The New Testament
Speaking of sinners and the New Testament, let's talk about the other favorite passage which is brought out. While there are several references to homosexuality in the Epistles (1 Corinthians 6:9-101 Timothy 1:9-10, and Jude 1:7 -- although with that last one, I'd argue that the "sin of Sodom" wasn't so much homosexuality as it was the roving rape gangs), the one I see most often is Romans 1:26-27.
Taken by itself, this passage seems pretty damning... except one should never take a Bible passage by itself; one should always read it in context with the passages before it and after it. In this case, start at the beginning of the paragraph -- which is Romans 1:18 and titled "God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity" -- and read to verse 32, the end of the chapter.

The very first verse of the chapter says "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people". Verse 21 says "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to Him ." In other words, God's wrath is directed not specifically at homosexual people, but rather at the people who are neither worshiping God nor thanking Him. In fact, verse 24 specifically states that it's only after they failed to honor God that God abandoned them to their sinful natures.

Then there's the verse which follows the quote:
You can see where it quite plainly states that those people who didn't worship God had depraved minds and were deceitful, malicious, envious murderers. Now since the Apostle Paul didn't differentiate between the people in verse 27 and verses 28-31, it's fair to say that he's talking about the same people. But not all all murderers are homosexual, and not all homosexuals are murderers. So the Apostle Paul is speaking categorically, i.e. all who fail to worship God give themselves over to some form of depravity (sin).

Now here comes the best part! The very next line -- which is Romans 2:1 - says "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things."
In other words, Paul is saying "Hey, reader! YOU'RE A SINNER TOO. So stop passing judgement on other people, because you will be judged for that as well."

According to Christian doctrine, we are all sinners -- man and woman, gay and straight -- and the wages of sin are death , but those wages have been paid through the blood sacrifice of the lamb, Jesus Christ. All we must do is accept His forgiveness, believe, and we shall be saved (1 John 1:7, Acts 3:19).

As far as I'm concerned, this addresses all of the objections which may be found in the New Testament. If you aren't convinced, though, let me leave you with the words of our Savior, as recorded in the Book of Matthew, chapter 7:
Go, and do thou likewise

Monday, August 28, 2017

On Hurricanes and Weather

As I write this, it's a comfortable 73 degrees at 11 PM Saturday in the Mountain time zone, with a cool breeze blowing down from the Sandia Mountain range and an unusually high humidity of 48%.

Just a few years back, though, I lived in the city of Port Arthur, TX: birthplace of Janis Joplin and hometown of economic depression, abandoned downtown buildings of Southeast Texas, the center of an inflated cost of living due to oil refineries. Too far East to truly be Texas and too far West to truly be Louisiana, it's the home of fumes, mold, and swamps, and the subject of an Al Jazeera docu-piece on air quality.

I lived there for close to 10 years. When I say close, I mean close; I moved there in June of 2003 and left on the last day of April 2013. In that time, I evacuated for three hurricanes and slept through several more. My apartment was completely destroyed once, the roof ripped off of the second-floor two-bedroom I shared with my ex-wife, soaking everything that wasn't packed into the tiny car we owned after my Monte Carlo had given up the ghost on its second transmission. I was more fortunate the next two times I evacuated, as my one-bedroom post-divorce apartment was untouched.

I don't like hurricanes. They're a huge inconvenience at best, and a life-altering pain in the ass at worst (assuming you get out of their path). I have a few friends still in that part of Texas right now, and I hope you and they both have the good sense of being not there if you're otherwise in the path of Hurricane Fuck This Shit.

When I was presented with the option of moving away from Texas some 4-ish years ago,  I took that opportunity and have yet to regret it. The constant high humidity in the swamps where I lived was wrecking my sinuses, leaving me short of breath and giving me constant headaches due to the mold and fumes in the area. In the first two weeks I was in New Mexico, the thin, dry, clean mountain air forced its way into my head and I could feel my sinuses changing shape, opening for the first time in years. I have breathed easily since then.

But  I've found that the true advantage to living here is the weather. The dry desert air is truly an amazing thing. While living in Texas, I once walked a quarter mile on the coldest day of the year to the Walgreen's on the corner. It was about 38 degrees outside... with 100% humidity. The cold cut through the jacket, hoodie, jeans, and pajama pants I was wearing, and I wanted to fall against the wall of the building I was at and die halfway through the walk. In stark contrast, I went to see a Rifftrax Live show here in New Mexico in late October. As I was walking to the theater in a leather jacket and thin t-shirt, I thought to myself, "It's a little chilly out here." I later checked the temperature at the time and it was 27 degrees, but with only 13% humidity. In the summer it can reach as high as 110 outside, but with the low humidity it feels vastly more comfortable than the 85 degrees at 100% humidity that a Southeast Texas Spring or Fall would bring.

And that's not getting into the four distinct seasons and snow in Winter that I now see.

What am I getting at right now? Nothing in particular, honestly. Just that I hope my friends are okay and that one day they'll see the light and move inland. I genuinely do not ever think I could bring myself to live within a hundred miles of a coastline again. It's just not healthy.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #158 - Nashville is Nice, So I'll Say It Twice

Sean continues his love affair with the City of Nashville.
  • What does a #1 New York Times bestseller have to do with range etiquette? Beth talks to us about Range Rules & Expectations.
  • When is a dispute not a dispute? When it's an armed robbery. Sean finds out about our deceased suspect.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • This week, Miguel discusses that oft-repeated maxim of the Tactical Shooter: Competitions will get you killed in the streets!
  • Our Main Topic is the Eclipse. Sean spent the weekend with Co-host Emeritus Adam in Nashville and watched the Eclipse in Gallatin, Tennessee.
  • Tiffany is headed up north for the very first NRA Carry Guard Expo. She tells us what NRA Carry Guard is, and what is she hoping to learn at the Expo.
  • It's hot and you've got to walk to safety. What things should you bring? Erin explains hot weather survival gear.
  • Weer’d sends us a message from a dark future. It's like "12 Monkeys" up in here.
  • And our Plug of the Week is the City of Nashville.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript -
Hot Weather Survival Gear
For the past two weeks I’ve talked about what to wear in hot weather and what gear to have if your car is stranded. But what if you need to self-rescue, or otherwise need to walk long distances in that hot weather? That’s the topic of this third and final installment. 

First of all, you’re going to need the right clothing, so be sure to check last week’s segment on hot weather clothing. Pay special attention to your feet, especially if you’re wearing impermeable boots or you’re walking through a lot of water. The very last thing you want is something that makes it painful or uncomfortable to walk, so make sure you listen to my segment on preventing fungal infections from episode 143. 

Check your feet regularly to prevent blistering. If you find yourself developing hot spots, then either cushion them with moleskin from Dr. Scholls or use something called HikeGoo,which is a cream that both moisturizes your skin and lubricates the hot spot to prevent more friction. 

Change your socks as often as possible, even if you have only two pairs. Get a mesh stuff bag, put a carabiner clip on the drawstring, and hang the used pair from your belt loop or backpack strap to dry in the sunlight and fresh air. (This will take longer in humid climates, unfortunately.)

Regardless of whether it’s during the day or at night, walking in hot weather is thirsty business because you’re going to be sweating our water to keep cool. This means you absolutely need a way to keep water with you at all times. I recommend a hydration bladder in the largest size possible; most brands like CamelBak top out at 3 liters, but the MSR DromLite comes in 2, 4, and 6 Liter versions.
 
You’re also going to need a way to carry that bladder, because water is heavy. Most backpacks these days are hydration bladder compatible - but check, because they may only go up to 2 liters - although a lot of bladder manufacturers also sell carriers for their products. Whichever way you go, make sure you get the lightest color possible. Your all-black MOLLE-festooned CamelBak carrier may look tactical, but the dark color will absorb the sunlight and heat up your water. About the only thing worse than drinking hot water when you’re thirsty is drinking no water at all. 

And you’re going to be drinking a lot of that water. A LOT. We’re supposed to drink 2 liters, or half a gallon, of water a day just as part of our regular activities, so if you’re having to do hard work in the blazing sun and humidity, you’re going to be sweating a lot more and becoming dehydrated that much faster. This means you need a way to refill your water reservoir. 

There are various types of pumps and filters out there, but I swear by the Sawyer Mini. It’s inexpensive without being cheap, it’s lightweight, it’s good for 100 thousand gallons, and - best of all - you can put it right on the tubing of your hydration bladder between the bite valve and the reservoir itself. This means you won’t have to take the time to pump clean water in before you can drink it.
Instead, just take a bit of cloth, like a bandana or a t-shirt, and put it over the reservoir’s opening to filter out any large contaminants like dirt, bugs, leaves, etc. Then fill up and drink through the filter. 

If you do this, keep two things in mind:
  1. You must remember that the water in the reservoir is unsafe until it passes through the filter, so don’t use that water for bathing or cooking by just pouring it back out. Send it through the filter first. 
  2. Second, understand that filters aren’t perfect and there’s still a chance you might get a parasite from drinking unboiled water. This is a risk you’ll need to take, because you will die from dehydration and overheating long before the parasites can even make you sick. Get to safety, and then you can worry about what you drank. 
Finally, here’s a hot-weather ProTip for you: Keep your mouth closed and breathe through your nose as much as possible. In fact, if you can find something clean, smooth, and inedible - such as a guitar pick, or a metal washer, or even a clean pebble - put in your mouth. Not only will it remind you to keep your mouth closed, but the presence of it in your mouth will cause you to salivate. This will keep your mouth moist and help you feel less parched and thirsty.

SHTWeekend: Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief

I know that I rarely have the time to write prepping articles any more (this is a huge regret of mine), but this afternoon I had the time and the inspiration to make one.

Go over to Blue Collar Prepping and check out the ways you can help the survivors of Hurricane Harvey.

Monday, August 21, 2017

"Youthy Drift-By"

Seen on Der Lederhosen:

For those who aren't familiar with familia sermo, it means "household word" -- the specific bits of jargon created by a family based in shared experience, in-jokes, and the like.

Who knew the DoD had a sense of humor?


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #157 - Protests, Pepin & Plasma


"Pepin & Plasma" sounds like a roleplaying game involving podcasting in the grim future.
  • Beth is on assignment and will return soon.
  • A Charlotte man who led police on chase is charged in Valentine’s Day homicide. Why did he run? Sean looks a little closer.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • Miguel puts together a grab bag of thoughts from his Flea Market of Ideas. He talks a little about cops getting denied service because they are armed, about Moms Demand blaming the NRA for car deaths, and about a liberal mugged by the reality of gun control.
  • Our Special Guest this week is competitive shooter and Pro-Arms Podcast hostess Gail Pepin.
  • Tiffany brings her unique perspective to the controversy surrounding the events in Charlottesville, VA.
  • It's just like a woman for Erin to be focused on what people should and shouldn't be wearing in the summer. Her position on white clothing after Labor Day is unclear, but she has some definite thoughts on cotton.
  • NPR held a Round-Table on gun control. Weer’d is here to take on the lies.
  • And our Plug of the Week is the Sparkr Mini by Power Practical.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript -
Clothing for Hot Weather Survival
There’s a saying among campers, hikers and other survival buffs: “Cotton Kills”. This is because cotton loves to absorb moisture but hates to let go of it. In cold weather, if you get your cotton clothes sweaty, or you fall into water, you will likely become hypothermic if you keep them on because they will stay wet and cold -- but if you take them off to dry them out, you will also likely become hypothermic because you won’t have the insulation of clothes on your skin. 

This is why, if you watch a lot of survival TV, you’ll see people like Bear Grylls stripping naked before swimming through cold water. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s not like having wet clothing on while swimming would make it any more comfortable. And once on the other side, Bear will dry off with a towel and then put his still dry clothes back on. 

In fact, this is good advice regardless of whether or not you’re wearing cotton, so remember that trick. 

But if cotton kills in cold weather because it absorbs moisture and doesn’t let go of it easily, what about in hot weather? Specifically, what clothing should someone wear in a hot environment if they have to walk to safety?

As I mentioned last week when I answered Amy’s letter, hot weather survival is based on variables. In this case, the biggest factors are humidity and terrain.  If you’re in a dry environment, your biggest danger is from direct sunlight. Keep as much as your skin covered as you can, and cover the rest in sunscreen. Cotton is actually an acceptable choice of fabric for this situation during the daytime, because it will absorb your sweat and the low humidity and high heat will help it dry out. But that’s during the day. At night, it’s a different story. 

You see, hot-but-dry environments are usually deserts, and deserts have a distressing habit of becoming cold at night because there isn’t much in the environment to retain that heat. So the sweaty cotton clothing that’s fine to wear during the day can still result in you becoming hypothermic at night. Your options, then, are either to carry spare clothes that you change into at night, or to wear clothing made from synthetic materials such as Gore-Tex or microfiber. 

These materials are great because they wick moisture away from the skin and dry much faster than cotton does. Not only does this prevent chafing rash, which is why so many exercise fabrics (like Under Armor, are synthetic), but it also makes them excellent choices for hot and humid environments as well. 

Here are the materials you should avoid for hot weather survival:
  • All forms of cotton, including denim. 
  • Rayon, Lyocell, Tencel, and Viscose. 
    • While they are synthetic, these fabrics actually absorb moisture as fast or faster than cotton, and lose all insulation when they become wet. 
These are materials which are good to wear for hot weather survival:
  • Pertex
  • Supplex
  • Gore-Tex
  • Under Armor Heatgear
  • Cool Max
You will unfortunately pay more for these fabrics than you will with cotton. On the other hand, they will protect your skin from the heat of the sun and absorb your sweat without chafing or sticking. 

Regardless of whether your shirt and pants are cotton or synthetic, here are the four pieces of clothing you MUST have for comfortable hot weather survival:
  1. A wide-brimmed hat to keep your face and neck in the shade. Check last week’s show notes for a boonie hat I recommended. 
  2. Shoes which breathe but still protect your feet. There’s no perfect answer here; good protection (like boots) will make your feet hot, and feet which breathe aren’t going to be well-protected (think sandals). Take the terrain into account along with your personal preferences and find what’s right for you. 
  3. Spare socks. Unless you’re wearing sandals, your feet are going to get hot and sweaty. Take it from someone who has suffered Athlete’s Foot: the last thing you want for your feet in hot weather is for them to be wet as well. Change your socks often. 
  4. Spare underwear. This is for exactly the same reason as the socks, only moreso. Trust me, you really don’t want heat rash anywhere near your sensitive bits.
To answer the question on everyone’s mind: yes, companies do indeed make socks and undies in synthetic materials. I suggest everyone who is concerned about hot weather survival buy at least one pair of each.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Regressive Progressivism: A Case of Friendly Fire

Embedded journalist on the front
lines of the secret culture war.
Oh boy, do I get to talk about Anita Sarkeesian this week? I think I doOOoo!

I need to change my byline to "embedded journalist on the frontlines of the secret culture war." That would, of course, require having a byline to begin with, but considering the crazy things I find happening and the points of view that I find on them, it'd be worth it. Plus it sounds unbelievably cool.

(Editor's Note: Done.)

My Regressive Progressivism series has highlighted cases of hypocrisy, cultural cannibalism, and some spectacular own-goals in its time, but this one has to take the cake.

It's a special time of year, apparently. It's been so long that I actually forgot, despite being one of the few that witnessed and told the tale of, the original incident. That's right, it was recently the anniversary of Gamergate, specifically the "hate screed of the jilted ex-boyfriend" which was, in reality, an airing of grievances on a personal blog by a victim of domestic abuse. That'll be relevant shortly, I promise.

Kotaku UK recently interviewed prominent gaming YouTuber TotalBiscuit, host of possibly the biggest gaming podcast, professional Starcraft announcer, and all-around consumer advocate, on the topic of 'haters', which I assume means trolls and harassers. The discussion was around moderation tools and how to use them to guide discussion in the community. Overall, this was fairly tame stuff.

However, from the progressive side of the gaming eliterati, there were two problems with this. Firstly, Totalbiscuit was allegedly "pro-Gamergate" and the article was published on the anniversary of Gamergate. To a normal, sane, uninvolved person, this wouldn't have been an issue. However...
How many times have I said Twitter is a bad idea? 

Now, in isolation this isn't a big deal. Feminist Frequency (Anita Sarkeesian's project) disproves of an article. No big deal, right?

Wrong! Big deal. The article's author, a trans-woman named Laura Kate Dale, was met with a deluge of disapproval due to TotalBiscuit's support of  the ethics side (He disavowed any and all harassment while promoting the idea that there was a problem with videogame reporting) of the Gamergate debacle.

So, in a nutshell, what happened? A progressive trans-woman interviewed an internet personality with a solid take on moderating a community, which displeased a progressive cultural icon, which in turn resulted in harassment, threats, and (allegedly) doxing, resulting in Laura Kate Dale being chased off of Twitter. Granted, she said she wasn't leaving because of the deluge of negative attention, but that to me reads just like Joss Whedon's "I fell down some stairs" moment after Age of Ultron. 

You don't even get to explain yourself.
Kotaku all but retracted the original article. I'm surprised they even mentioned that Dale received threats. That's dangerously close to breaking the narrative. 
See the replies? It will never be good enough, no matter what. 

When even fervently progressive voices like Jim Sterling and Rhianna Pratchett call out how irresponsible and wrong it is to attack someone like this, you have to take notice. A group of people harassed a trans-woman off of twitter for talking about video game stuff, and yet this isn't about "evol right-wing gamers" or Brianna Wu; this is a progressive hate mob that attacked someone on their own side for talking to the "wrong" person about a relevant topic, and it's rather sickening.

You have to take this in perspective, and by the rules that have been laid forth:
  • Anita Sarkeesian is a cis-woman with over 700,000 followers who has spoken to the UN and appeared on Stephen Colbert's show. 
  • Laura Kate Dale is a trans-woman with less than 50 thousand followers who runs a podcast and writes for a site that's a bit of a joke. 
By nearly any definition, there's a clear power imbalance there, and I genuinely feel, no matter how much I disagree with Dale, that Anita acted irresponsibly and fanned some pretty hefty flames in her direction.

Oh, and anyone wondering why I haven't mentioned Charlottesville? Nazis and Communists are both bad. The ground could open up and swallow both the Alt-Right and Antifa and I wouldn't shed a tear. There, that's my community service for the week. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Templar & the Cloistered Cleric

Last month (before the entire country went mad), I complained that I thought clerics in pathfinder were too powerful and that they should be split up into two separate classes:
  1. The Templar, which is basically the traditional cleric except that it has reduced spell progression (like the Warpriest) and who casts spontaneously.
  2. The Cloistered Cleric, which is essentially a "divine wizard", giving up arms and armor in exchange for more knowledge and nine levels of spell progression. 
Well, it's taken me a while, but I've finally created Hero Lab .user files of both of these classes. I couldn't figure out how to force the Templar to start play knowing the various Cure spells like like Oracle does, so if you want to go that route you'll have to manually add them via the Adjustment tab.

If you use Hero Lab to play Pathfinder, please give these a look and tell me what you think. I've probably missed something important (the Hero Lab editor is very un-intuitive so I think it's likely I've overlooked something or made an error.)

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The LGBTQ Sandwich

When I plugged yesterday's post on Google+ and Facebook, I introduced it with "I swear, I'm about ready to call us all 'sandwiches' because obviously we're some kind of BLT with Queso and Guacamole."

While that comment was made it jest, it sounded damn tasty. And many other people thought so as well. Therefore, I am Proud to present to you this recipe.

The LGBTQ Sandwich
(aka "the Queer")
(also aka "The Stonewall" if you want to sound classy)

Ingredients
  • toasted bread
  • Lettuce 
  • Guacamole
  • Bacon (1/4 pound minimum)
  • Tomato
  • 2.5 ounces Queso dip, spiced to your taste (go here for recipe suggestions)
  • mayo, mustard, or other condiments to your taste

Directions
  1. Cook bacon until crispy, then drain on paper towels.
  2. Toast the bread.
  3. Spread condiments on bread as desired. 
  4. Add lettuce. 
  5. Add 2 slices of tomato on top of lettuce.
  6. Arrange 3 slices of bacon evenly on top of tomato. 
  7. Spread guacamole over bacon. 
  8. Add more bacon so that the guacamole is layered between bacon slices. 
  9. Add top piece of bread. 
  10. Heat queso dip until it is nearly molten and serve in a ramekin
Dip the sandwich into the queso, fondue-style.
Enjoy the delicious flavor of gender and sexual diversity!

The Fine Print


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License


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