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Everybody Chill February 28, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Music.
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I suspect the song wasn’t quite over at the end.

I Am A Ray Of Freakin’ Sunshine February 23, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Bad Times Ahead, Destined for the Gulags, Home.
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In the previous post Geoff tries some strategic optimism in the comments to help get me out of my “panic”. However, as I gaze into my dark, little crystal ball I have deep forebodings.

In the middle-east we have nations falling like a bunch of falling things. The latest of which has an ugly, oddly-dressed man who is threatening to torch his own oil-fields in a desperate bid to save his reign. Meanwhile in Egypt I think it’s likely that the government (and thus the Suez Canal) will fall under the control of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, who I think will use it to extort money from the Infidel nations. With either of these things alone the price of oil / gas will skyrocket. Both can easily come to pass.

I live in Not-So-Fabulous-Lately Las Vegas. This is very much a boom-town that had explosive growth from late 80’s to about a few years ago. For all of those years Vegas was very good at two things: filching money out of the wallets of the tourists who came here to party (and maybe get rich), and converting desert into neighborhoods and shopping centers. Those were the two very powerful legs of the economy here. One of those legs (construction) has been lopped off mid-thigh and the other one is hopping on the unstable national economic ground. Drastic rises in fuel prices will almost certainly sweep that leg. If that happens, Las Vegas will be devastated. This is a terrible place to try and weather any economic storm now, much less the hurricane that I think is coming.

In my own personal circumstance I have a fairly cushy and stable employment with a local quasi-governmental utility. The organization has long-term plans and will continue with them for the present which means steady employment for me. Of course, this was all based on models with only growth in the size of the city for the next 50 years. The picture becomes very different if the casinos start laying off people and perhaps even closing. Most of the people here came from somewhere else. I can easily see thousands of people flooding out of the city every month to return to where they came from and where they have family & friends. This will be a crippling blow to the organization’s revenue, and I can’t see that they will have any choice but to cut extraneous services (and departments) to preserve its essential core service and nuts-and-bolts infrastructure. My department is in the business of trying to get our customers to use less of our product and even paying them to do things to help them do this. Do you really think we’ll continue to do that in this scenario? Yeah, me neither.

On top of all this we have 0bama & Geithner’s bizarre financial gyrations and the Mt. Everest sized debt they are piling up. The Zero is already building his  high-speed WTF bullet-train to financial destruction. Yes, it’s nice that Wisconsin and New Jersey are trying to do things to take on public sector unions and whatnot. I wish them all success. And Yahoo! We have the GOP in charge of the House! Still, I get the feeling that it just isn’t quite enough.

I hope things don’t turn out this way. I really don’t look good in assless chaps.

Sunday Night Poetry February 21, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Bad Times Ahead, Home.
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The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

-William Butler Yeats

This was written in 1919 in response to the War to End All Wars. The rough beast still slouched around after that, and after Dubya Dubya Two – The Electric Bugaloo, and of course all the rest that followed after that. Yeats was a poet, not a prophet but I look at the events unfolding in the world now and the line “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” is resonating with me. Also the last two lines of the first stanza makes my blood run cold.

In other news – my emergency supply backpack and toolbag are nearly complete! One more trip to the grocery store and some deliveries from Amazon will have it all wrapped up. Yesterday I went around to the three Army / Navy surplus stores in town and unexpectedly found two of them closed (kinda-sorta looking permanently closed). Fortunately the last one was open and they were doing a fairly brisk business. I was looking for hiking boots and while they didn’t have the size/style I was looking for, I still picked up a nice small hand-shovel & Marine Corp desert camo hat. I took a hard look at all their stuff and I’ll definitely go back. Next up is to start laying in a stockpile of stores to weather the upcoming storm. I understand that the Mormons have some experience in this department and I will seek their advice.

In other-other news, my home value has dropped another ten thousand dollars in the last year or so and I now owe 271% over it. Wahoo.

Survivalist Pack February 17, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Bad Times Ahead, Leather, Never Give Up, Never Surrender!.
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I read this over at the American Spectator: A Lenny Skutnik Sputnik Moment and thought the author had a very good point about needing to be ready in case of a large-scale emergency. At the end he details the contents of an emergency survival backpack and I’ve decided that I’m going to do this myself.  Do read the article but I’m going to put up the contents of that kit here.

Also, I’ve decided to make my latest SBL bag into a tool bag that I’ll keep in the car.  I already know some of the stuff I wast in there: pliers, (needlenose and regular), screwdrivers, wrenches, duct tape, wire cutter, vice grips.  I’ll look around at Home Deeprot and see what else looks good. Please drop a note into the comments if you think there is something else that would be good to have too in either bag.

• A highly-detailed map of your area and a compass. You may think you know your way around, but the streets you know may be blocked. A map and compass will guide you around those obstacles. Any Boy Scout can show you how to orient the compass to the map and follow it to where you need to go. Don’t rely on cell phone GPS systems which, in a big enough emergency, may not function.
• Waterproof hiking boots, two pairs of socks, lightweight rain gear and a sweater or polar-fleece pullover to stay warm.
• Six or eight protein bars and two liters of water, enough to keep your energy up and keep you hydrated on your hike.
• Two dust-proof painter’s masks which may reduce the effect of a biological or chemical attack.
• A small flashlight and first-aid kit including a stretchable cloth bandage to brace sprains.
• A multi-purpose “leatherman” tool and a 20-foot length of clothesline.
• If your home is more than ten miles from your place of work, you need a poncho or space blanket to hunker down in overnight; and
• If you can carry it legally, a weapon of your choice be it a can of pepper spray or a pistol. (Don’t leave that unsecured in any office even during the day.)

Three Things February 16, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Bad Times Ahead, Never Give Up, Never Surrender!, Politics.
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Found this over at Knowledge Is Power the other day and thought that this really needs to get more exposure. Seriously, watch the whole thing and spread it.

Related: 24 nails.  Fucking animals.

Pappa’s Got a Brand New Bag February 15, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Food, Leather.
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More Saddlebackian Leathery goodness:

This is the small satchel and it was one of Dave’s Deals a week or so ago. I just couldn’t resist. Actually I’ve started to regard these things as necessary utilitarian items rather than expensive indulgences. This thing will be great for an emergency first aid kit or tool bag. There was one of the backpacks in Dave’s Deals that I almost pulled the trigger on too. It’s gone now of course. Oh well, there will be something else there soon.

On another matter I took The Parental Units out for dinner last weekend and we visited The Golden Steer for the first time. This is a nice steakhouse that’s been around since 1958 – a thick slice of Old Vegas. The Rat Pack and Elvis used to eat there, among many other celebrities over the years. It was fabulous. Definitely equal to any of the other nice places we’ve been to here. If you’re ever in town I really recommend it. It’s on Sahara just west of the Strip on the north side of the street. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but once you’re in it’s like you’re transported to another era; all the waiters are wearing tuxedos. Expect to pay a bit though – dinner for three was about $260 with the tip.

Fall of Rome II – The Electric Bugaloo February 10, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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Winning The Future - We're Doing It Wrong

The Roman Empire is much in my thoughts these days. Just before the proto-Frogs strolled in and started trashing the place I wonder how many of Rome’s citizens really knew how bad things were at the end? Not many would be my guess.

I was talking to one of my co-workers earlier this week. He and his wife have taken their life-savings out of the bank and have it hidden on their property. They’re also buying lots of silver – thousands of dollars worth. I’m going to start doing the same, as well as start stocking up on supplies and survival stuff.

My next gun will be a shotgun. I want this like burning:

That will be very handy in the days to come I think.  I found that over at Barking Moonbat Early Warning System.

Remember when it was illegal to lie to congress? Yeah, me too. 

Related – there’s a bathroom on the right:

Nevermind February 9, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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We had the Big Meeting and it was much ado about nothing. We’re not moving or reorganizing and no layoffs or even reductions in budgets for our department. Status. Quo.

Move along. Nothing to see here folks!

Times They Are a-Changin’ February 3, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Bad Times Ahead.
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The economy in the Las Vegas area is generally in the toilet and I really don’t see things looking up anytime soon. The organization I work for is heavily dependent on the revenues from the construction industry, particularly housing. That was great when they were throwing up zillions of those things every year, but now not so much. To help with the expenses we’ve gotten rid of most of our contractors, put in a hiring freeze, switched over to a four day / ten hour per day work week, voluntary furlough and whatnot. Right now there are about twice as many empty cubicles as occupied ones in my general area. Last week we got a somewhat enigmatic e-mail from The Wigness of Maximum Bigness that she got together with the other Embiggened Wiggoners and that they have hatched A Plan. Shortly thereafter we got another e-mail from our Large-ish Wigger that there will be a Department meeting scheduled for next week. There are several Divisions within a Department so it’s kind of a big deal when they do these things. They usually last an hour. This week we were notified that it has been expanded to two and a half hours. That’s a really big deal. Today we were notified that the whole she-bang has been moved off-site to another facility. I’ve been here for going on 13 years and this is completely unheard of. Something very, VERY massive is coming down the pipe. At the very least this means some sort of re-organization and consolidation. I’ve already been through a couple of those and they never had any of these theatrics, though. I’m thinking that this means relocation as well. We actually own several of the floors of the building we’re in now and we’ll probably sublet them. This will be a massive cost savings right off the bat if we get moved to an under-utilized area of another facility. I was just talking to a co-worker and he reminded me that we pay something about $93,000 per month just for parking at this building. So there it is. Contraction, compaction and extraction.

Dammit. I like this building.