Author Archives: krispykirk76

The Song Rhymes The Same

bonzo

Among my three or four all-time favorite bands is Led Zeppelin. Over the course of my half-century on this planet, I’ve watched them become totally rehabilitated from critical outcasts of the Rock World to something transcending Rock Royalty. When I was a kid only burnouts and stoners listened to Led Zeppelin. Today they are considered “founding fathers” who have influenced nearly all popular music since the late 60s.

But, before we go any further, as a drummer I owe it to you to admit this: I hate drum solos.  I refuse to play them and I avoid listening to them.  On record, John Bonham’s “Moby Dick” sounds like four-plus minutes of tippy-tappy filler deep on side 2 of Led Zeppelin’s magnum opus second album.  I can tolerate it because, by that point I’m usually grinning from ear to ear having just devoured the first 30 minutes or so of this beast of an album (my personal favorite, can’t you tell?) but in a live setting “Moby Dick” becomes a thinly-veiled excuse for the rest of the band to enjoy an intermission backstage.  To me, this allegedly whale-sized drum solo has always sounded like some (admittedly muscular) drummer trying out new kits in a music store.  It comes off as a sort of “test drive” of the drum kit if you will.  Boring.

pagelespaul

Prior to 2003, the closest any fan could get to experiencing Led Zeppelin “live” from the comfort of their own couch was the band’s “home movie” The Song Remains The Same.  Released in 1976, the film combines footage from a 1973 New York City concert with a bunch of self-indulgent scenes that have nothing to do with the concert and, occasionally, nothing at all to do with the band or its music.

bollocks

To be honest, TSRTS is just not that good.  As a concert film, it’s near the bottom of the pile of many dozens I’ve seen or owned.  As a movie, it is so poorly assembled and amateurishly conceived that it’s almost unwatchable.  But I still get my copy out and play it once or twice a decade – purely for sentimental reasons, of course.  You see, I’m slightly too young to have had a chance to see this legendary band live; I turned 8 a few months after their arguable peak in 1973 as captured in TSRTS.  The band officially dissolved in December 1980 (following the death of drummer John Bonham) five days after my 15th birthday.  All there ever was for me to collect and cherish while growing up was the band’s nine majestic albums…and this quirky little movie.

planteyesfire

I watched TSRTS last night for the first time in over a decade.  I had heard a song (Sun Kil Moon’s “I Watched The Film The Song Remains The Same”) earlier in the day and I took it as a sign that it was time to watch the movie.  Several things struck me…

giantlespaul

Certain camera angles create a sense of forced perspective that, at times, makes Jimmy Page appear to be shrinking down to hobbit size while his sunburst Les Paul guitar appears to be magically swelling to almost twice its normal size.  Page isn’t a particularly small fellow and the Gibson Les Paul isn’t a particularly large guitar – in fact, it’s on the small side – so I have no idea why this happens throughout the movie.  The weird thing is that it only happens when Page is playing this guitar.

pagenormallespaul

For reference, here is a photo of Page on stage several years later playing the exact same guitar.  Notice how much smaller it seems.  In TSRTS, the body of this Les Paul extends from approximately Page’s ribcage almost down to his right knee.  In the later shot, it barely covers his groin/thigh area.  Weird, huh?

stage

Also bizarre is the stage at the concert’s Madison Square Garden venue.  If you didn’t know any better, you’d think Led Zeppelin where playing a show in a department store.  There are full-length mirrors behind the band and crowds of folks backstage just casually strolling around right in the middle of the show!  I swear at one point this one guy stops in front of one of the mirrors behind Page’s amps to check himself out.  “OK buddy, the pants fit.  Now beat it!  The rest of us are trying to rock out here you know?”  Anyways, it’s the least likely stage you’d ever expect to see a massively huge band like Led Zeppelin play on.  It seems too low, is poorly lit, is far more shallow than contemporary concert stages, and there are non-musician types lollygagging all around at the back of it.  The resulting milieu can be mildly distracting, especially to anyone who’s seen a proper rock concert in the past 40 years (or tried, like I have, to play a show on a crowded stage).

pagewizard

Of course, everyone’s favorite things to love and/or hate about TSRTS are the “dream sequences”.  Each band member gets one (including manager Peter Grant who fancies himself a Roaring 20’s-style gangster).  My favorite?  Jimmy Page’s “into my eyes” sequence: he climbs to a parapet of some dilapidated old castle-like structure to meet with a wizard who seems to beckon him.  When we see the wizard’s face, it’s an elderly version of Jimmy Page!  Then the camera fixes on the wizards eyes and takes us backwards through time showing increasingly younger faces of Jimmy Page until at last all we see is a tiny fetus floating in space.  Then the whole process speeds forward until we are back to the old-Page-as-wizard face.  The wizard then swings this trippy multicolored light sabre thingy over his head.  It’s all very deep and super psychedelic.  The message is obvious: Page is a wizard.  Just watch his guitar playing throughout this concert.  He appears to be in a trance and only opens his eyes a few times as if to check to see if the real world is still there.  Seriously, the man is on another level throughout and TSRTS ultimately ends up being The Jimmy Page Show.

plantshroom

The second best “dream sequence” is singer Robert Plant’s.  Like Page’s it is a wordless fantasy but is filled with broadswords, flames, horses, mysterious boats coming ashore, and a lusty wench.  Sounds like an episode of Game of Thrones, huh?  The shot above is of right as the golden locked Sir Robert takes a big bite out of this red mushroom that he finds growing under a tree.  Gee, what do you think that’s supposed to represent?

Alright, if you’ve read this far you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with this blog.  Simple.  Next month, this concert film will be reissued as part of a massive boxed set.  The release is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first gig that Robert Plant and Jimmy Page played together, ostensibly the “birthday” of Led Zeppelin, in 1968.

So, if I’ve inspired you to dust off your copy of The Song Remains The Same and stick it in ye olde video player, you’re welcome.  Love it or hate it, you’ve got to admit that TSRTS satisfies the #1 criteria of any pop culture experience: Does it entertain us?

Indeed it does, in many obvious and not-so-obvious ways.

Happy Birthday Led Zeppelin!

 


It’s Time For The Alt-White

Ever heard of Abdul El-Sayed? He’s the swarthy looking chap on the right (full name: “Abdulrahman Mohamed El-Sayed”). Inshallah he will be the next Governor of Michigan.

How about this big-boned Georgia sista Stacey Abrams? Hint: she did not do math problems at NASA to help put a (White) man in space. Stacey (or as I call her “Stay To The C”) has a better than even shot at becoming the first black female Governor in U.S. history. You go girl.

Surely you know who wide-eyed upstart Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is, yes? The pride and joy of the Democratic Socialists of America, young and totally inexperienced Alexandria recently trounced an old White guy in the primary for New York’s 14th Congressional District. We’re gonna keep her on our radar going forward…

If these three names don’t ring any bells I can hardly blame you. Socialist-Progressive political candidates are hardly my forte either. But the times they are a’changin’ and nonwhites are taking over slowly, surely, and totally within the framework of democratic society. And aren’t you just prouder’n’shit for them?

All kidding aside, this might be the most important post I’ve written in years. Maybe even right up there with my masterful Civil War 2.0 OOB post.

But since this is the place where history rhymes, let’s rhyme a little history…

I believe we are on the cusp of a third wave of 21st Century reactionary populism in this country.  And it might even surpass the first two in size and impact…

teaparty

The first wave was the Tea Party Movement – a conventional conservative reaction against an unlikely (but well-deserved) black socialist President. Alas, that nominally tax-revolting movement sputtered out as it was slowly absorbed by the status-quo-accepting cuckservative GOP.  A decade later “Tea Party” is just another way of saying “Republican.”

The second, even bigger, wave was actually a synchronization of two waves: the nativist, pro-Wall, America-first Trump campaign; and the red-pilled identitarian Alt-Right.

Sadly, the Alt-Right was smothered in its crib at a staged event in Charlottesville, Virginia almost exactly one year ago today. Who does that leave to defend our White and Western European civilization and values against the invading hordes?

ok2Bwhite

My prediction: the next wave will be the Alt-White Movement. Like the Alt-Right from whose ashes it rises, the Alt-White is a reactionary movement against Progressivism, Egalitarianism, “Social Justice”, feminism, cultural Marxism, Meetooism, open borders, but – most of all – White Genocide. Put another way, if the Alt-Right was a tendency to fight against every degenerate post-modern cosmopolitan trend in society, the Alt-White is the same basic dissident tendency but is informed first and foremost by an awareness of White Identity.

The three nonwhite political candidates at the top of this post weren’t supposed to scare you. They were supposed to make you feel irrelevant.

America’s newspaper of record (((The New York Times))) just hired a diversity pick to join their editorial staff. Sarah Jeong is virulently anti-White and seems perfect for the job of continuing the crusade to beat down, disenfranchise, and replace the very Whites who descend from this continent’s original founders, settlers and colonists.

ocasiochange

What is the average Chad Normie supposed to do about this ongoing “brown wave”?  Throw in his lot with the Alt-White of course.  There is no other choice.  It doesn’t matter if Chad is a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, or an apolitical slacker.  If he’s White, he needs to join with his tribe in order to survive.

skulls

You see, simple little luxuries like politics don’t really matter when you and everyone who looks like you is dead.

So, until those well-dressed missionaries from the Alt-White knock on your door and offer you the plan of White salvation, I encourage you to continue to exercise all of your rights – especially the ones protected by the 1st Amendment.  I’m talking about your Freedom of Association here.  Live where you want, work where you want, shop and recreate where you want.  If you’re White then you already know where that place is…and what it looks like.

open-carry

Oh, and don’t neglect your right to self defense (as enumerated in the 2nd Amendment).  The purest White communities, White lives, or White values are worth little if they are not adequately defended.

Diversity + Proximity = War.  Be ready.  Be on the winning side.

 


Escape? From What? To What?

vacation

Well folks, tomorrow is August.  That month of dog days that squats astride Summer like a big sweaty fat dude.  In fact, that’s exactly what August is: a big sweaty fat month.  It’s also vacation time.  The time when entire European countries shut down so that their overworked masses can escape the drudgery of living in a socialist worker’s paradise and achieve some kind of temporary sun-drenched bliss on an island in the Mediterranean.

beachbeer

For Americans, this time of the Summer used to mean one thing: the classic family vacation…in your Dad’s Wagon Queen Family Truckster…packed full of crap…with you in back trying to ignore your little sister who just wouldn’t stay on her side of the seat.  Kids: “Are we there yet?”  Dad: “Don’t make me stop this car!”  We’ve all been there and survived that.  Was it fun?  Not exactly, but it probably did – like all things that fail to kill us – make us tougher.  Where did we go on those brutally endless vacations?  To some overcrowded, overpriced and overrated theme park?  (yay!)  Grandma’s house?  (boo!)  The beach?  Who cares?  We were getting out of the house.  That was all that seemed to matter.

The essence of a vacation is the act of escape.  And, just as in a prison break, the destination is immaterial.  The entire point is to vacate your current location.

But why do we all need to escape/vacate?  Are our surroundings really that miserable and dull?  Did we suddenly discover that we are trapped in some gigantic Matrix of electronic overstimulation, intellectual starvation, and mass media-driven distraction?

I’ll let you answer that for yourself.

beach

I lived in Hawaii for nine years as an adult after living literally right on the beach (east of A1A if you know your FLA) for nearly half of my childhood.  That was more than enough beach for one life thanks (I’m still digging the sand out of the crack of my ass).  When I recently lived in the Mid-Atlantic, folks were constantly asking/pestering me about my total disinterest in that jewel of the Delmarva coast Ocean City (the one East Coast destination I am proud to have avoided).  My response “You call that a beach??!!!”

I live on my own mountain now so I kind of get the whole need-to-escape thing.  But what I never really understood was the appeal of the annual Summer vacation.  You do know you’ve got to go back to that hell when this is over, right?  And are vacations ever really worth all the stress, expense, and hassle?  Newlyweds should take a royal one (aka a “honeymoon”) to some place truly exotic right after the wedding.  Make it so special that it gets vacations out of your system for the remainder of your life.  It worked for me.  Alternately, choose a career that requires frequent travel and relocation.  This is guaranteed to beat that love of travel and “adventure” right out of you for good.  How do I know?  Because all of my fellow retirees who completed a full career in the military are, to a man, 100% homebodies.

Bottom line: vacations are almost always a drag.  They over promise and underwhelm.  And if you really find yourself needing an escape, perhaps what you really need is to reconsider that prison you are living in.

So, yeah, I just outed myself as anti-vacation.  Add that to my recently-revealed anti-holiday stance and I’ve now grown into some kind of ornery old crank.

Good!

As preppers, we should ask ourselves “Can I do something prepperish and have it masquerade as a vacation?”  Maybe, take a week off to scout out good bug-out locations in a nearby mountain range or National Forest.  Drive back roads the whole way.  Behave the whole time as if you’ll never see (or need) civilization again.

Just a thought.

Better yet: don’t go anywhere at all.  If you love your location and your current situation, you certainly shouldn’t feel any need to escape from it.  So have a staycation instead.  (<That’s a good link there, you’d better take a few minutes to check it out before proceeding)

I’ve blogged before about the joy of doing nothing.  Why not do nothing for an extended period of time, say a week, a month, or even a year?  And then, if anyone asks, you can say you had the best vacation of your life.  Works for me!

mooseoutfront

“Sorry folks, the park’s closed.  The moose out front should’ve told you.”


Behold The Tacticooler

I was in the hardware store a few weeks ago and the staff was clowning around over a new display of coolers. They were playing a game of “Guess The Price”. The product? Yeti coolers.

yeti

The least expensive model on display was selling for $350.  Everybody in the store was laughing in disbelief.  Right next door at Wally World, an equivalent-sized cooler might set you back $30.  Yeti’s top-of-the-line cooler sells for $1300 – or about as much as a “normal” person would spend on a nice rifle.  Who on Earth spends this kind of money on a COOLER??!!

NattyLight

Me?  I’ve owned a few coolers but I’ve never been a cooler snob.  When you stop and think that 99% of these coolers are just going to be crammed full of Natural Light and tossed in the back of a fishing boat, a realization starts to set in.  Some of us are “Cooler People“.  And some of us aren’t.

yetiman

This guy is a “Cooler People”.  You know the type: likes to hook his bass boat up to the truck and drive around town with it dragging behind…just for looks.  He paid good money for that boat and wants validation dammit!  I’m gonna guess that he even has a Yeti sticker on his truck (right next to the “Salt Life” one – you know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever lived near the Chesapeake Bay area, Gulf coast, Florida, etc).

So what’s my point?

If you own – and are damn proud – of your $350 Yeti cooler, you have a) too much money; and b) too little brains.  You probably have on a $40 pair of underwear, own at least two pieces of Apple gadgetry, and haul your pretty little bass boat around with a $51,000 pickup truck.  Conspicuous consumption tends to cluster after all.

If not, congratulations!  You are one of us – the normal (non-Cooler) people.  You also probably, at the beginning of this post, instantly thought of a dozen things to spend $350 on and none of them was a cooler.  Am I right?

But seriously, Yeti isn’t a good value.  Yeti also comes with some (albeit minor) political baggage.  I wish I had a punchline to put here but I’m confident that brand-hyper-consciousness is its own joke.  Hey, after the collapse how about we bury you in your cooler?  Deal?

The cooler makes the man?  Yeah, good luck with that Bub!


The Lonely Prepper

Most of us, unfortunately, live in a society where instant gratification is king, where everything is bought on credit, and consequences-be-damned is the status quo.  We preppers fight these – and many other – prevailing tendencies on a daily basis as we move among and interact with Chad & Stacey Normie (who live packed like sardines in a hellishly conformist bedroom community very much like the one pictured above).

Honest question: do we really care what happens to Chad & Stacey after the SHTF?

Honest answer: that depends (but ultimately we probably should care very little, if at all).

There was a very thought-provoking piece on American Partisan recently about this Big Question. Click the link and take a minute to read the whole thing. Don’t skip the comments!

There, on one page, is a concise distillation of the hardest parts of being a prepper. Some preppers stress about quantity: “Do I have enough?” Others worry more about quality: “Did I go too cheap on my AR? My flashlight? My EDC folder?” But the scenario I fear more than anything isn’t running out (it will happen), or things breaking (it will happen), but people you know (and possibly care about) showing up at the door of your bug out location/doomsday retreat with empty bellies and empty hands.

What will you do?

gunsnbeggars

I think the author of that AP post nailed what it means to be hardhearted. When survival is on the line, you absolutely positively have to be able to say “No!”  And saying “no” requires courage…and leadership.  And leadership can be a very lonely thing.

But before it ever comes to that let’s ponder what it means to be a leader in a post-collapse world.

A leader has influence.

Have you ever convinced someone to buy a certain caliber firearm, “strategically relocate” to a different state, begin prepping, or collect silver/gold just by talking to them? If so, you might be a leader.

A leader sets the example.

Are you the most prepared person you know?  The one with the broadest skill set, the deepest ammo pile, and the best-stocked pantry?  Then you could be a leader.

A leader constantly improves and trains.

Do you do more PT than any other civilian your age that you know?  Do you get more range time?  Do you read more?  If not, then you know what you need to do…

JConnor

Bottom line: We will need leaders to help us survive what is coming.

Be one.

Start today.

 


The Fourth Of What?


This country celebrated a holiday a few days ago. I say “this country” because Independence Day is a silly holiday and I don’t usually observe silly holidays. St. Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and MLK Day are all silly holidays. I’ve got nothing against you if those are some of your favorite days of the year.  It’s just that my values are a little…different.  Here’s one easy way to spot a silly holiday: the proper celebration of a silly holiday depends entirely on purchasing something; a tree, bags of candy, champagne, a turkey, a cake, etc.  When you are programmed to buy things for a certain day because it’s what you are supposed to do, it’s no longer a holiday, it’s an obligation.  It’s a Pavlovian response to where you are on the calendar.  Your silly holiday has become what we used to call in the military “mandatory fun”.  Holidays are all just thinly veiled orgies of consumerism anyways and celebrating them – in this consumerist way at least – can be self-defeating if you are prepping and looking forward to surviving the coming hard times.

“Gee. What happened to you to make you so bitter about your own country’s birthday, Kirk?”


Well, in a general sense, being retired means you stop looking at a calendar. Most days I simply don’t care what day of the week it is, what numbered day of the month it is, or how long it is until the next three-day weekend. You see, only slaves obsess about those things. Slaves to the clock that is. A wage slave. A prole. A mindless commuting & consuming drone. I was one for 30 years but I’m better now, thanks.

So that pretty much wipes out all significance of 99% of all “holidays” for me. Not that I ever cared much for them anyways. A sunny day, a clean pool, and a full cooler were always the most important things for me around this time of year.


This year – my first full summer on the mountain – the 4th came and went without any fuss. Out here in the mountains of Central Appalachia, you hear a few fireworks and (more than) a few gunshots. But there are are no big spender aerial spectacles like those that once surrounded me on the old farm back in the Mid Atlantic. Folks don’t have that kind of disposable income around here I’m guessing.


OK, so I celebrated in my own way by blasting a full magazine of tracer ammo at an old styrofoam cooler I had stuck upside down on a stump out in the woods. That was more satisfying than any fireworks I’ve ever lit. If you have ever shot tracer ammo out of an AR-15 at night, you know what I’m talking about.


Shooting a gun is the purest form of celebrating (alleged) national independence that I can think of.  Otherwise, it was really just another day.  I think I ate barbecued ribs, baked beans and potato salad too…

But when I sit here four days later and wonder “What the heck is that holiday all about?”  I can only shake my head. The always-reliable Z-man can speak for me. I think he nails it. He makes many quality observations the most salient of which is the simple fact that “USA” (and Old Glory) is merely a brand. And that brand is being crammed down our collective throats more and more by elites who don’t give two shits about this nation, its borders, or the culture of its original European colonist/settlers.  “Oleaginous grifters” indeed, Z-man.  Waving the flag is no different than wearing a Harley-Davidson trucker hat or putting one of those stickers of the little dude pissing on the Ford logo on the bumper of your (non-Ford) truck. It’s silly and rather pointless.

Another reason I shy away from outward displays of patriotism as our way of life fades away before our very lives here in FUSA is that almost none of us know our history as well as we should. Read this.

Now tell me how you feel about the 4th of July.

The time for “patriotism” is over folks.  I hope you’re ready for what comes next…


(More) Shooting Practice

Alright sports fans, I promised you another shooting session and here it is. A few weeks ago, I shot a bunch of guns from 15 yards and posted the results. Sharing the crappy results with you was supposed to motivate me to shoot more and improve my skills. Let’s see if that worked.

Today the weather at the range was almost identical to last time: 78 degrees, 47% humidity, and a 3 mph breeze on my back. I shot all the same guns, the same ammo, and at the same targets. The only variable I tweaked was the distance. This time, I shot – offhand – from 7 yards. I shot clean guns without any warm up or fouling shots. I gave myself ten rounds (of regular ball ammo) for each gun and tried to make them all count.

The most striking difference in halving your range to a target is how your groups tighten up. I’m still not a great pistol shooter but at 7 yards I kept all my groups to under 3 inches and got everything on paper (most shots were in the black). At a shorter range I was able to focus more on my grip, my trigger squeeze, and my breathing. The results speak for themselves…

My Browning Buckmark .22LR autoloader shot well but not like a laser. This is a sloppy three inch group for 7 yards but it was the first gun I touched today so I was fairly shaky. Still, I scored 90 points (an all-time) high for me on these targets.  I “double-holed” two of the shots in case you were wondering where all ten went…

I was calmed down and a bit steadier by the time I picked up my Taurus Model 85 .38SPL snubbie. This gun should excel at ~20 feet. And today it did. I scored 83 points in this decent 3″ group (a major improvement over how this gun shot at 15 yards).

I was getting in the groove by the time I picked up my Taurus PT111 9mm. Last time I shot this pistol, I was all over the place. Did cutting the range in half help my grouping? Without a doubt it did. If you count that shot at 6 o’clock as a “flyer” (I don’t), this was my tightest pistol group of the day at 2.75″. If you don’t call it a flyer, my group stretches to an abysmal 4″. Still, I scored 86 points and felt very confident shooting my newest handgun.

My Glock 21 is always a smooth shooter and it shot like a dream at 7 yards. 88 points and a 3.5″ group. I know I can do better but keep in mind this was shooting offhand from a sort-of-Weaver stance at under one round a second. I don’t see any point in leisurely pistol shooting. When that day comes that you need to draw and fire your pistol, you won’t get more than a second or two to do the most damage you possibly can. Therefore, the best way to practice pistol shooting is quickly – singles, doubles, triples, it doesn’t matter – just dump your mag as quickly as possible while keeping a good sight picture and avoiding flinch and trigger slap. .45ACP is a large enough caliber that a group like this on center mass will put anything down…for good.

Done with the pistols, I loaded ten rounds in a 30 round mag, slapped it in my DPMS AR, and proceeded to rapid-fire the whole shebang…from 7 yards. A true pro would’ve only made one small hole. I’m no pro, so I’ll have to settle for this 2″ group. It’s interesting how an AR zeroed at 50 yards shoots this low at 7.  In fact, at this range, you can almost measure the offset of the optic used above the barrel axis.  In my AR’s case, the center of the optic is about 2″ above the the barrel.  The good news is that my group is almost perfectly centered, at 50 yards this group would blow the red right out of this target.

Also interesting is how the shot cups in 12 gauge 00 buck shells make bigger holes in a target at 7 yards than the pellets do. I’ve noticed this effect before and always marvel at how much damage a plastic “flower” can make at short ranges. Compare/contrast this pattern with the pattern I shot at 15 yards. It still looks like a pistol shot this but I only had to pull the trigger twice instead of ten times.

Any questions, potshots, or snarky jokes? Please leave a comment. Until then, happy shooting!


The Art of Doing Nothing

The most common question I was asked last year when people heard about my plans to quit work, drop out of society, and live on a mountain, was “But what will you do?

My answer was either a) “Whatever I want!”; or b) “Absolutely nothing!

After being 100% retired for nearly four months, I can honestly say that those two answers are the same exact thing. Allow me to explain…

I learned a new word the other day and I’d like to share it with you. It’s Latin and I’m not sure how to pronounce it (is it “Ah-shyum” or “Oh-tee-um”?) but it’s “Otium“. Click on the word and take a minute to read about it.

It’s a much better word than “retirement” isn’t it? “Retirement” always gave me images of a broke down horse that was too old to run being carted off to the glue factory. Any time I “retire” something, it goes in the back of a drawer or gets hauled off to the dump (depending on how big it is and if I have room for it).

Take a look at this tree. What do you notice? It is a young, slightly crooked, tree but it isn’t growing in a forest. There are mountains beyond and the sky is a beautiful shade of blue. The wildflowers are blooming and it’s a nice day. Focus on the tree for one solid minute and notice what happens inside your head. If you were in this picture, what would be your overwhelming urge? The answer you give could be a clue as to whether you can handle doing nothing.

Me? I can’t think of a better way to spend time than doing nothing. There are plenty of things that keep you from doing nothing but lately I’ve been whittling away at them until there aren’t any left.

If I were to list the top three things that keep us from doing nothing it would be something like this:

1) Job/career (I think 30 years of doing anything is plenty, but keeping at it to the grave is one of the saddest ways to waste a life that I can think of.  Do you work to live or live to work?)

2) Family/kids (Marry someone with their own hobbies, interests and “inner life” – share everything you have with them but don’t completely “mind meld” into a single being. Have your kids as early in life as possible. When they leave home, do everything in your power to keep them from moving back in with you. When mismanaged, our kids’ lives become our lives, and who wants to live somebody else’s life?)

3) Technology (Here I’m talking about that phone in your pocket, your game console, your laptop/pad/tablet/PC, etc. – basically, if it needs to be plugged into the wall every so often, it’s almost certainly a tiny vampire sucking your life away especially if it has a screen.  Science has proven that being connected makes us miserable and the more we are connected the more miserable we get.)

I’ve met quite a few folks that are physically incapable of being still. They tend to lack the ability to self-reflect, have lower self-awareness, and can’t grasp the concept of mindfulness. They are literally hyperactive children trapped in grown bodies. And they are becoming more common. Why is that?
Here’s one very well-thought-out theory. I think it’s spot-on. External forces, over the past two (three at the most) generations, while in the process of transforming ours into a Consumption-based Society, have “accelerated” our lives to the point that we’ve lost the ability to slow anything down. Admit it: going fast is fun. But if you can’t slow down (or stop entirely) you never notice any fine detail, you never let anything “soak in”, you never get a chance to process your own thoughts and experiences. Screw that. You can have your “acceleration”, I’ll just sit here on my mountain doing nothing!

Here’s another tree for you to meditate on. This one’s a little closer to my mountain. That horizon of stacked ridges is classic Appalachia for you and has its own calming effect on people. It is said that “People who live where they can see mountains are happier”. I have found that to be true.

Let me end this post by sharing the words of a wise man with you. This is a mantra of sorts to me. May it help you find what is important in your life.

“Tomorrow, makin’ a list of things to do
And when I wake up
I’m gonna cross off a few

There must be millions of reasons
To try and explain, you’re never through
When they give you twenty-four hours
Only so much a man can do

Tomorrow, made up my mind
Gonna get busy, come from behind
Today I’m staying right where I am
Break a few rules, make a few plans

There’s thousand of things
To keep you from doing what you wanna do
And if it isn’t this then it’s that
Back where it’s at, and you’re never through

There must be millions of reasons
Thousands of things, just to name a few
I’m gonna spend the rest of today
Makin’ a list of things to do

But I’ll do ’em all tomorrow
Tomorrow…
It can wait until tomorrow.”

– Joe Walsh, from the album “But Seriously Folks” 1978


Shooting Practice

allsixtargets

Proficiency with firearms isn’t just a necessary life skill but it’s also a fun hobby. Some play golf or go bowling. Me? I like to blast at stuff in my backyard.

One of the perks of my new location here on the mountain is an infinite back stop. Basically, I can shoot in any direction in any caliber at any time and not risk hitting things I don’t mean to shoot (like people, cars, houses, etc).

I finished my chores and projects early today and rewarded my self with a little bit of shooting. Usually when I shoot, I pick one gun or caliber and hone my skills in a focused manner because it’s easier to get better when you work at it one tool at a time. Today I switched it up and fired 10 shots each out of six different guns at six identical targets over the span of about a half hour. I wanted to see which I was best at right now.

It’s been many months since I’ve shot a gun seriously (at a fixed distance and using a standard target). Most of my recreational shooting is just casual plinking at cans.  But since today was my first attempt at serious “range time” in a long time, I bravely decided to document the results for all to see, mock, and laugh at.  Enjoy!

It was 77 degrees this afternoon with 46% humidity and a 3mph light breeze from “downhill” (almost ideal shooting weather).  I was standing shooting off-hand at 15 yards (unless otherwise specified) on the level (neither uphill nor downhill) at Birchwood-Casey “Eze-Scorer” targets (8″ x 8″) stapled to a sheet of plywood on a 4 foot tall post.

First up was my Browning Buckmark semi-auto pistol in .22LR (“Camper URX” model in stainless finish with the 5.5″ bull barrel).  I’ve owned this gun for almost a decade and have put many rounds through it.  It is accurate and I feel I can shoot it well.

22

I had one flyer (lower right) but I’m going to blame that on the fact that the gun was clean (all of my guns were today) plus I was shooting no-name bulk lead round-nose ammo (not known for its accuracy).  With 10 shots out of 10 on the paper and 9 scoring a total of 74 pts, this is about as good of shooting as I could’ve hoped for as rusty (and shaky) as I was today.  Not counting the lone flyer, my group measured 3.75″ and this gun shot the day’s best three bulleyes.

38

Next up was my Taurus model 85 revolver chambered in .38 Special.  I’ve owned this gun for less than one year and it is my first wheel gun.  It also has the shortest barrel of any gun I own (I call it my “snubbie”).  To offset these handicaps and to maximize my accuracy with this notoriously inaccurate gun, I fired all ten shots single-action (with the hammer cocked).  Ammo was PMC Bronze FMJ “ball” training ammo (regular load,  non-“+P”). Not surprisingly, I had three flyers.  But the 7 shots I did get on paper scored 51 pts.  This group measured 4.25″.  3 flyers out of 10 shots (30%) is a bit disturbing (this is a 5-shot pistol) so the tight group (for me) was reassuring.

9mm

I was slowly warming up as I moved up from smaller calibers to larger.  Time for everyone’s favorite: 9mm!  My Taurus PT-111 “Millennium” Generation 2 is my newest gun.  I’ve owned it for only a month or two and I’m still getting used to it.  I love its size, magazine capacity, and light weight so much that it has become my everyday carry gun.  I guess I better get good with it then huh?  Shooting American Eagle FMJ training ammo, I only had one flyer out of 10 shots and it’s literally touching the paper there at 4 o’clock so I hesitate to even call it a “flyer”.  A recently cleaned gun will do this until you’ve fired enough “fouling” rounds through it.  The trigger on this gun has a ridiculously long pull.  I’m positive that’s why I’m all over the place here.  But look at those two bullseyes!  I scored 51 pts with this rather large 7.25″ group.  More practice is definitely needed with this pistol.

45

We all have that one gun that we feel most comfortable with.  Usually it’s the one you’ve owned the longest and/or shot the most.  For me, it’s my Gen 3 Glock 21.  This pistol was a gift from my Dad and is the first “real” pistol I’ve ever owned (not counting that cheesy little Beretta Bobcat in .22Short I had when I was a kid).  I love everything about this Glock: the balance, the fit in my hand, the crisp trigger, and the way it “points” without even being consciously aimed.  It’s no surprise then that I shot my favorite pistol the best.  I shot 10 rounds of Federal FMJ “ball” training ammo and everything landed on the paper.  68 pts and a 5.5″ group out of a .45ACP duty pistol at 45 feet!  I’ll take it.  Love, love, love my Glock.

AR15

OK, that was enough pistol shooting for one day.  I wouldn’t say I “hate” shooting handguns but it’s a very difficult skill to master and maintain.  The older I get the harder it gets to hold a pistol steady, get a good sight picture, and squeeze off a good shot.  Give me a rifle any day.  Rifle shooting is a breeze by comparison, and few rifles are as fun or as accurate as the AR-15.  Mine is a lightly modified cheapy DPMS Panther Oracle.  It was my first AR and I’ve put thousands of rounds through it over the past decade so shooting it feels as comfortable as putting on an old pair of jeans.  This comfort shows up in the fact that, like the Glock 21, my AR shot no flyers today.  Pretty impressive for recently cleaned guns shooting mediocre bulk ammo.  For the AR, I moved back to 50 yards and shot from a rest (not a bag, just the railing on my deck).  Optic was a non-magnifying red-dot (which might need some re-zeroing).  Ammo was low-budget American Eagle 45-grain FMJ training stuff.  I got all 10 rounds on the paper and in a very nice 3.5″ group.  If you call that shot at 11 o’clock a flyer, my group tightens up to less than 3″.  Points scored totaled 74 (tying the Buckmark 22 for first place).  50 yards is pretty close for rifle shooting.  Maybe next time I’ll double that distance and see if I can maintain a 3″ group…

12ga

For giggles, I loaded up my Mossberg 500 12ga. shotgun.  Shotguns, while punishing to shoot often and train with, are perhaps the guns we should all strive to get the best with.  Here’s why: a shotgun is the gun you are mostly likely to use to put down a rabid dog, kill a varmint that’s been eating your chickens out behind the barn, or blast home invaders in the middle of the night.  If you are scared of shotguns, just shoot them more often!  If 12 gauge is too much kick, move down to a 20 gauge or even a .410.  Or just do what I do and use lighter/shorter 12 gauge loads.  As a prepper, homesteader, or self-defense enthusiast, the shotgun is your friend.  There is a huge variety of different size shells and load types from slugs to birdshot.  No other gun changes its character and usefulness so much just by using different ammo.  If I was forced to only own one gun it would be a shotgun.

That said, I’m not that great with my Mossberg.  Today I loaded two Herter’s 2.25″ “Mini-buck” shotshells.  Each one carries six double-aught pellets which roughly equals the firepower in a 12-round magazine of .380 or 9mm but unleashed in two shots versus a dozen.  In the photo above you can see what an open-choke shotgun does at 15 yards.  Only 8 of the 12 pellets landed on paper (four “flyers”).  If I was scoring this like a pistol, I’d give it 45 pts.  The grouping of the pellets that hit paper was a lousy 7.5″.  But if I hadn’t labelled the target, you’d have difficulty telling it apart from the 9mm or .45 targets.

So, how is your shooting?  Are you practicing as often as you should?  Can you beat this old man’s shooting?

Late Edit: turns out I’m shooting pistols from twice as far away as necessary.  Certified Gun Master Massad Ayoob says 7 yards (21 ft) is the optimum distance to practice self-defense pistol shooting.  This makes me feel even better about my four and five inch groups at over twice that range.  Maybe I’ll do all this over again tomorrow…at 7 yards.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 


Stronger. Smarter. Better.

I’m back!

It’s been 15 months since I last posted here. What happened to me? No, I didn’t come down with a horrible disease, get hospitalized, or go through a terrible divorce (ensuing suicide attempt optional).

I did, however, go through some major life changes – all of which I have discussed/meditated on/telegraphed right here in the pages of this blog.

After five and a half years on the farm, I finally decided to get serious – really serious – about the sustainability of my situation.  I took control of my life and dropped out of the rat race.  That’s right: I quit my job.  In fact, I quit everything that resembles a “modern” life.  I kissed a very lucrative career goodbye, sold the farm, sold the sports car, buried two dogs, and relocated to a mountainous “flyover” state where the people are good, life is simple, and each day is accepted as a gift.  Today, I am not just singing about “getting down on the mountain”, I am actually getting down on an actual by-God mountain.  And it feels good.

I’m not entirely off the grid but I’m close enough to it that, compared to everyone I know, I am practically a hillbilly hermit.  Location is everything, and I’m now content with mine.  I can’t see my neighbors (mainly because I have none).  In fact I can’t see much of anything except God’s own hills and woods in all directions.  At night, when you look up, you can see the Milky Way without even really having to try that hard.  If you wanted to visit me, you’d need detailed driving directions (and 4WD) because my address will not show up on your fancy GPS navigation gadget.  Yes, I have indoor plumbing and regular mail delivery but I don’t have cable tv, high-speed internet, or reliable utility power.  I have multiple flowing springs and thousands of trees to do with what I please but I no longer need to worry about Facebook, the NFL, or a 9-5 job.  Sounds heavenly doesn’t it?

fallmountains

So where am I?  Here are a few more hints:

  • My new home state has less diversity (i.e. it’s “whiter”) than any place in North America has been since the late 1600’s.  A white boy can feel right at home.
  • My taxes are lower across the board than almost anywhere else I’ve ever lived.  After ditching my six-figure income, I am looking forward to paying zero taxes (other than property and sales tax of course) next year.
  • The locals are dying off and/or leaving this state faster than they can be replaced, leading to a minor population “crisis” that could, if unchecked, result in loss of Congressional representation.  Translation: the already-low population density hereabouts is steadily getting lower.
  • I can arm myself however I choose whenever I choose and step off my own property thus armed.  I can even get in my vehicle and drive around so armed without having to secure prior permission from a judge, sheriff, or other authority figure.  This is kind of a big thing, especially if you have never enjoyed the full exercise of your natural rights.
  • Crime is so rare here as to be practically non-existent.  If it weren’t for the (largely unseen) scourge of opioid addiction, this place would be perfect.

So what does all this have to do with the original intent of this blog?

Well, my life is rhyming with my family history.  I am still over a decade away from “retirement age”*, yet I have managed to leave it all behind to live simply – and frugally – immersed in nature.  My father did it and so did his father before him – and both did it at roughly the same age I am today.  I am a third generation “escape artist”.  I only use that phrase because I don’t know what else to call it when you quit a good paying job, sell everything, and run for the boonies as if your life depended on it.  What would you call it?

All I know is that I am stronger, smarter, and yes, better, than I was before I took the plunge, er…pulled the plug, um…ran for the hills…whatever you call it.

 

 

 

 

* I worked “in the industry” full-time for a total of 30 years so I consider my “early” retirement neither early nor unearned.  If you find it difficult or even impossible to quit working – even if you can afford to – I might suggest some serious self-reflection on your life’s priorities.  Working is massively overrated.  Life is short.  Make yours count for something more than a paycheck and a desk in cubicle land.