Showing posts with label Kindle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kindle. Show all posts

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Reminder Matthew Bracken's Enemies For Free!

Matthew Bracken's Enemies Foreign and Domestic is currently free. Think this deal lasts till Thursday.

If you do not have a kindle there is an app you can download to read it on your computer. If you haven't read this book (and all Matt's stuff) I strongly recommend it. One could argue things are looking more and more like the beginning of Enemies these days.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review: The Blighted by Archer Garrett


Our long time friend, advertiser and overall collaborative partner Archer Garrett wrote a new book The Blighted. After reading it the logical thing seemed to be talking about it. So here we go.

The basics are that the world is hit by a global Zombie event. It follows multiple groups of people across the world and in the American Gulf Coast area.

The Good: It was a fast and enjoyable read. The book was able to delicately balance staying interesting and being action packed with being fairly realistic about the characters skills and capabilities. I find stories (like this) about fairly normal folks more interesting that the super duper survivalist/ Sammy the Seal fantasy.


This book was a good example of how you can switch from character to character and keep things cohesive. It did not get choppy or unduly confusing at any point. Along these lines it has been great watching Archer develop and improve as a writer.

The Bad: Few significant survivalist/ preparedness lessons. Definitely a book to buy for entertainment not a manual wrapped in a fiction novel like some books. This is not really a bad thing, just something to be aware of.

The Ugly: Nothing to speak of.

Overall assessment: Solid read. I enjoyed this book and think you will also. For $3 it is a great value for your entertainment dollar.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Read Archer Garrett's Flasblack for Free!

Friends,

I'm going to make Flashback (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008XK5FVS) available for free on Amazon from Monday 12/3 to Friday 12/7.  If you haven't read it, or have readers that might be interested in picking this up - it would be greatly appreciated if you would pass the word along. 

The book is short, but I've tried to cram a lot into it.  The story is Orwellian in nature in that a collectivist revolution has resulted in a tyrannical regime that has absolute power over all, except for a small, urban holdout that has managed to successfully repel the regime.  The story takes place over the course of one night.  The second half of the book is a discussion of morality, with a biblical argument against collectivism.  Even if you are not a believer, I think the argument, if from none other than a historical perspective, shows that mankind has struggled against this ideology for much longer than most realize.

Anyway - I think the message is important, so I'm trying to get it out there.

Regards,
Archer

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Free Ebook- The Western Front Part 1

Our newest advertiser "The Western Front" is offering part 1 of their Ebook free on Amazon. Should be free for another day or so. I haven't read it yet but am looking forward to it. Note that if you do not own a kindle there is software which can be downloaded to read kindle stuff on pretty much anything.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Cool New Blog- Free Survivalist/ Prepper Type Kindle Books

One of the cool things about having a kindle is that there are always free books. Typically from lesser known or unknown authors who are trying to drum up some attention. This isn't the way you are going to read the newest Stephen King or other popular author but if you just want something to read it is a great way to go. Wifey is on there all the time finding random light reading. The only downside is that it takes time. You have to look through a sea of random stuff and books are typically only free for a a short time.

Enter Pam's Pride Recommendations. She links to a bunch of free kindle books that are in the survivalist/ prepper/ homesteading/ staple cooking/ etc genera. You might not be interested in all of them but some will probably strike your fancy. Since they are free you might as well just grab whatever seems interesting and check them out as time allows.

Please do be sure to confirm that the book is actually free before clicking to purchase it. As they are only free for a short time the stuff a week back typically costs money. I say that so you don't go hog wild and accidentally spend a bunch of money thinking you are getting free books. That being said it is still a good list of interesting books, most for about $3 a piece. I added a few to my wish list that looked pretty good.

Anyway I will be swinging by Pam's Pride Recommendations pretty regularly, if not daily. You should check it out. Even if you do not have a kindle give it a look. I think there are apps to read the books elsewhere like on your computer or a tablet.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Winning and Losing: Eating Well, Couch to 5k, Berkey Water Filter and Solar Power

We have been making some changes lately. We have started eating a lot better. More fresh fruit and veggies, lean protien and better carbs. Less eating out, just plain junk and carbtastic blah meals. Most of it is pretty intuitive. If there are not chips in the house you won't eat chips. Having some discipline and not going out to eat every time we feel like it and that sort of thing. The carb thing is kind of a grey area with lots of folks taking different views. We have both tried the super low/ no carb thing before and it doesn't work for us. She just hates it and I am tired and weak all the time. Instead we are trying to eat more reasonable portions of wheat bread or tortillas and brown rice. Just avoiding the huge bowl of white rice or plate of pasta kind of meals. We both feel a lot better and are getting healthier.
Wifey has been doing Couch to 5k. She is midway through week 6 right now. While she, like many people, does not currently and probably never will like running it is working for her. She noticed that dragging the kid up stairs has gotten easier. I would say this is a real good program for lots of people to seriously look at. If you are a fairly healthy person who is of a reasonable (like not morbidly obese) body weight but have not been very physically active this is a great way to get back to it. Toss in some sort of weight training program and you will be good to go. If you are seriously overweight or woefully out of shape it might be wise to do some sort of build up to this program, like eating reasonably and walking 1-2 times a day several days a week for a month or two to build up some conditioning and drop some fat. As always everybody should consult a general practice doctor, a dietitian, a cardiologist and a physical therapist before any sort of change to their diet or beginning any exercise program.

Personally I am cutting back to 2 times at the weight pile a week and upping my conditioning. Still doing the big lifts, just a bit more geared toward holding what I've got while conditioning gets tightened up. The human body only has so much work capacity and most of us only have so much time so there is a sort of push/ pull relationship. If you add or up the intensity in one thing you are going to almost inevitably lose ground in some other. Also inherantly between weight training and running/ cardio/ conditioning there is an inherant trade off. It isn't a bad thing really, especially for someone without many sport specific goals. Unless you plan to be a competitive marathoner or powerlifter it really isn't an issue.

On the downside our Berkey water filter is currently deadlined. I couldn't get it to seal and pass the dye test then (maybe while slightly frusterated;) I broke one of the white plastic nut/ bolt combo's that seal up the holes without an element in it while putting it back on. So I am not sure what exactly was wrong but now there is a new problem to deal with. Talk about not moving in the right direction!

This happened about three weeks ago and I put it away in frustration. I am going to get a replacement nut/ bolt and some more elements (either to replace the faulty ones or as spares) then go from there. On the bright side the good folks at Directive 21 have been great in helping me trouble shoot things and have just been a huge help with this. If I weren't such a slacking procrastinator this problem would likely already be fixed. Had I bought our Berkey from some no name fly by night folks who knows where I would be.  There are no problems that money (hopefully not very much, I really want it to be just the washer, not the element(s)!) and time can't fix. It hasn't been a huge concern because we have another water filter. Maybe there is a lesson there.

On a nice sunny day recently I busted out my little solar charger. I fiddled with it until I had a decent idea how it was supposed to work and then plugged in my kindle. After several hours in direct sunlight nothing happened and my dead kindle was still dead. This lead to a good amount of not very nice language.

 I realised a few things from this. First of all I do not know anywhere near enough about electricity. Second since we have added all sort of stuff, some pure entertainment and some useful since picking this charger up we may have already outgrown it. Third I need to test it at it's primary purpose which will be charging AA and AAA sized batteries. I am waiting for a sunny day when I have time to mess with it. Another more substantial (probably 15-26 watts) portable solar charger and maybe some sort of battery bank could be in order. However I have to do some more testing and become a more educated consumer before putting something else onto the wish list. If anybody has good resources to check out on this front I would be interested. Specifically good primers on electricity in general and a good breakdown of what watt/ size pannels can charge what sort of stuff and in how long would be great.

These two events were pretty frusterating for me. Nothing like having to go back to the drawing board or adding something else to the shopping list in an area where you thought things were good. Then again testing stuff is a good thing, even if you don't get the answers that you would like. Far better to have issues now, with the worst case being spending a little bit of money (water filter) or adjusting my expectations and maybe searching for a new piece of gear (solar charger), then some time down the road during an emergency when I need this stuff to work.

I guess the closing point is to look at eating healthier, getting into better shape plus alsp really start testing and retesting your equipment. Odds are something that should work might not.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Enemies Free Kindle Download

Matt Bracken's novel Enemies Foreign And Domestic will be available for free Kindle download on Thursday, March 1st. I am looking forward to having a copy of it in kindle format.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book Review Shatter by TC Sherry

This is book two of the deep winter series. To recap the last book began in the winter with a massive earthquake and ended with some other problems. This book sort of skims over the tail end of winter and covers the spring and summer. During this book bad turns into worse. It becomes apparent that the Spokane region and the PNW in general are not going to receive help from the outside and things are not going to return to any sort of old normal.

The Good: This book, as well as the previous book, lays out a compelling vision for a very bad future.
To me it is sort of a “and then what” kind of book. So things went to heck in a hand basket, you get stuff set up initially and after a couple months most of the looters have been naturally selected AND THEN WHAT. Folks start figuring out how to feed themselves in the long term, trade, reorganize society and move forward. That is what this book is about.

MILD SPOILER ALERT FOR THE NEXT COUPLE LINES.
Basically in the first book after the earthquake things internationally then nationally go to hell in a hand basket. The dollar collapses and there is war.  In this book things get even worse, and then worse again, like dealing with all that had happened in the first one wouldn’t be enough.
END SPOILER ALERT

The book brought up some interesting stuff when it comes to property rights, scavenging and ethics. What has been bothering me in a couple books I have read recently, and to some degree the first book in this series is hypocrisy. In this book the main characters actions on the whole were IMO were pretty close to what they expected from others. I won’t say that I agreed with every thing that happened but on the whole it wasn’t offensive and was very thought provoking so that was good.

I think this issue gets complicated if there is a significant die off or long term population shift. There are definitely more questions than easy answers as far as I am concerned. If folks are dead or gone and heirs are not able to be located who does the property belong to? If your neighbor was visiting his cousin in Maine and the balloon goes up at what point do you decide he isn’t coming back? What happens to his stuff?
I think it is pretty clear that stuff which belongs to people who are present or realistically may be present is theirs. However if things get nuts enough that big companies fall apart and such who do their buildings, stores and equipment belong to? Some level of nationalization albeit at a city or county level is likely, at least with this sort of stuff and is probably fairly ethical.

I liked that government didn’t magically go away. It is really a pipe dream to think that some sort of government won’t exist, especially at the local level of city and county. It will hopefully change and help set the conditions for people to take care of their selves, or at least not cause any real problems in a new world though it could get nasty and totalitarian.

In this book there was a sort of barter network that morphed into a sort of general store. For somebody with a knack for that sort of thing, access to a suitable space and some stuff to sort of seed the effort it might not be a bad idea to take some notes about that part. That people were more interactive vs just staying at their homes alone was good I think. People have a tendency to be social animals and it is difficult if not impossible to produce everything you could need or want. It definitely reinforced the desirability of being able to produce, above and beyond your own needs, something which people want.

Personally I do not stock things specifically for barter. However that is at least in part because I am not quite there yet. If one was so inclined they could probably do pretty well with a few hundred dollars of the right stuff. Stuff like kerosene, lamps, .22 LR and small game shotgun loads, sewing stuff, matches, booze, etc.
This book is a good reminder that in many ways local government is more important than at a higher level. To paraphrase Ragnar Benson the county zoning or agricultural commission is far more likely to cause problems in your life than men dressed in black carrying MP-5’s from an alphabet soup agency. This is probably far truer in a long term serious situation as they will have a lot more freedom to maneuver. Bad local governments could turn into little fiefdom’s or Stalinist collective experiments very easily.  It was also illustrated in the book that if people don’t stand up to these things as a group they will inevitably get dealt with piece mill and picked off accordingly.

The Bad:
There was a distinct flavor of population and resource control. Think checkpoints and fuel usage restrictions, curfews, etc. I think these would likely be reality in this sort of situation but it isn’t something I particularly like.
Checkpoints I think would be a fine idea, probably a necessity so long as they didn’t hamper the free movement of individuals in the area and allowed some sort of through passage through for those who need to get someplace. It kind of rubbed me the wrong way that there were passes for people who were deemed special which of course included the main characters. Personally in that situation I would be awful curious about who the heck decided which people were special and what the heck they thought gave them the right to say they could move around freely but I could not. They really didn’t go into detail on exactly what these restrictions were or how they affected people who, unlike the main characters, were not deemed to be special, so I can’t say if I really have an issue parse.

Fuel restrictions I have a hard time with. Now if the local government has fuel and is distributing it then some prioritization to EMS, food production, etc makes sense. However telling someone what they can do with fuel they have is another thing. If someone has a 300 gallon fuel tank in the barn and a 74 stingray and wants to go drag racing down their driveway it really isn’t anybodies business but theirs and their neighbors.
A few things happened that were just a little bit too convenient. The main characters stumbled into some stuff in a way that was awful darn lucky. Not so much as to really mess up the book but enough not to show the benefits of having some things squared away beforehand or the downsides of not having them squared away.
The author talks badly about politicians and government officials who are anything other than perfect public servants and folks who said public positions carry privilege. However the main character definitely uses his position to his advantage a few times getting favoritism or special treatment that Joe down the block wouldn’t. It was government choosing winners and losers at a small local scale. Nothing nasty parse, more like good old boy stuff.

The Ugly:
Not really anything ugly about the book in the usual sense that something is worse than the bad. However the book did expose (which is a good thing and thus doesn’t really belong in the bad part) a couple of ugly and very real possibilities. The first is that a default on our debt would cause all sorts of international problems. It is the kind of thing that starts wars. Even if our country fell apart we have a huge and awesome military. Somebody who thought we were weakened and that they could take advantage or attack our allies might be making a very serious mistake. Even if we were pretty tired and confused we could wipe the floor with most countries.

The next is that some places would try to continue suckling from the teat of government. Big, blue rustbelt and New England cities come to mind.

Lastly the balance of government would go all out of whack. Everyone more or less marches to the same drum in normal times and any pull from individual organizations or departments is canceled out by checks and balances or equaled out by pull from other organizations. However as people and agencies had competing visions, conflict over resources and such things might get crazy. The usually boring game of whose budget and staffing will go up by 3%, whose will stay the same and who might (though it rarely happens) face cuts could turn into serious infighting, like 3rd world stuff. Also in a die off scenario the whole line of succession thing could fall apart pretty easily leaving the US without a clear leader.

The vision of massive cascade failures laid out in this series is compelling, disturbing and seemingly plausible. I was familiar with that concept but had never heard the phrase before.

In closing I enjoyed this book and recommend it to readers. It is definitely worth paying $5 for the electronic edition.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Well it is Turkey Day. This is the second time I have spent Thanksgiving in a war zone. The first was a lot easier, maybe in part because of the rose colored glasses of time but mostly because missing my wife and kid is very different from the rents, siblings, extended family and friends.It was as good of a day as it could be. The dining hall did a bang up job. They had everything I wanted and it was all great. Things were pretty quiet and I got to do some reading which was nice.

I have been thinking about what I am thankful for. I am thankful that we aren't worried about keeping a roof over our heads, buying groceries and other basic things. I am thankful that we are able to have Wifey stay at home with Walker. I am also thankful that they are home with family. She gets a bit of help with kiddo when she needs it and if anything happens I know they are in the best place they can be. That is a huge thing off my mind while I am over here. I am also thankful for preparedness books in kindle format, gymnastics rings, bumper plates, crocks, lightweight boots that you can run in, one point adjustable slings, pmag's and my snuggie. Yes, you heard that right I have a snuggie in Afghanistan and it is great.

Well I hope that everyone has a great Thanksgiving. Enjoy great food and drink and time with family. Who knows what can happen by this time next year.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reading

Craig and I agree on about 85% of things and argue like old women about the other 15%. We remind me of my friends Ryan and Chad that way. In any case I have got to thank him for something. I recently made a comment to a post on his blog. In his response he asked if I had read anything by Dimitri Orlov. I had heard of him but hadn’t really read anything. I got to thinking. Right before I came here I loaded my Kindle with a bunch of books; one of which was written by some dude with a Russian sounding name and was about the Soviet collapse. I checked and it was written by the fellow in question.

My friend Craig spurred me to get back to reading. I was really busy for the first months here but since we have collectively stopped trying to go 24/7 and slipped into a more maintainable pace and we have also became more efficient in things my spare time situation has gotten better. No real reason I haven’t been reading lately. I just kind of got out of the habit of it I guess. Well I am getting back into it and enjoying it. Reading will go a long way toward me doing the utmost I can to prepare while here. A lot of PT, a few purchases now and then and some financial preps aside that is about all I can do.

On the bright side that is worthwhile stuff to do. Some reading will really help round things out for me. I started the Orlov book and it is pretty interesting. There will be more to come on that later. Anyway I want to thank Craig for getting me back to reading.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I am just not sure when it comes to precious metals these days. I see definite shades of 1980 in the charts and buying at the top of the market is bad. On the other hand it may be different because of our insane monetary policy and other factors. Prices could continue to climb and stay high for many years so I may start getting priced out of the market entirely. Right now I see the up side for silver being better than gold. I am still buying but am not going to increase my contributions any. This week silver dipped some and I was able to pick up a roll of 90% quarters and another of dimes. It was money from last year so I guess I was a bit closer to last years PM goal then I thought. Or we could say this year is getting off to a great start.

We also picked up a snow shovel to keep in our vehicle. Wifey got a lightly used Helly Hansen waterproof shell type coat at the used stuff store for like 18 bucks. She needed a waterproof coat with a hood and even if she had 3 that was too good of a deal to pass up.

I also got started using my Kindle. Downloaded a bunch of public domain books. Got the Gibbons I plan to read as well as some Shirlock Holmes and The Count of Monte Cristo. Next I am going to get military manuals and survival type PDF's. A solar charger would greatly aid in its prep utility and is worth at least looking into.

It has been a pretty crazy week here with getting back home from the holidays and me jumping back into work. We are probably still feeling the after effects of jet lag and all that. I cooked dinner yesterday and incorporated a bunch of cans of stuff we have had lying around. There were some substitutions but it turned out well.

Next week I am going to try and get through more of The Bear Went Over The Mountain. It is very interesting if dry at times. Also I am going to get some more stuff to put on the Kindle.

Got emergency seeds? If you don't you probably should.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It Was a Merry Christmas

It was a very nice Christmas Day for the TOR Clan. Pretty traditional really; we opened presents, had some breakfast, relaxed for awhile, watched some movie FIL watches every year (don't remember what) and then had a big dinner. After that we watched Toy Story 3 which little sister in law really enjoyed. It has been a quiet evening. I really enjoyed being able to take about a nice long nap between lunch and dinner.

We had a really good Christmas haul this year. I got a mag light, an energizer LED lantern, a Garmin E Trex series GPS, a Kindle, a silver dollar (I was pleased to hear they got it awhile back when silver was a lot lower), enough cash to buy an external hard drive and a few other things. Wifey got some cash, a Kitchen Aid mixer with some accessories, a kit to make baby food at home and some various other stuff. Walker got a ton of clothes, toys, various other stuff and almost a hundred bucks to go into his college fund.

I noticed that most people spent about as much as they normally do this year. The last couple of years may have been down a bit. I did however also notice that people (us included) seemed to put more thought than normal into the gifts they purchased. Instead of just grabbing something as people can do they seem to be putting some real thought into it.

I am looking forward to getting the GPS up and running. I have an old Magellan somewhere but the user interface is seriously lacking. That was back when them and Garmin were neck and neck. Since then quality has improved a lot and the Etrex is pretty darn easy to use. I am quite eager to check out the Kindle. I think it will be useful instead of hauling a dozen books here or there. It won't replace a good old fashioned book for situations where there is inclimental weather, rough use and such. However for something like a deployment or other situation where I will have decent (using a very low standard of dry, minimal electricity acccess, etc) accomodations this will be a lot easier than  30 pounds of books. Also seeing as we move a lot sooner or later the sheer weight of physical books will start to be an issue. Of course I will continue to purchase prep type books in a physical format but for a new fiction novel or just something I want to read the Kindle may be the way forward.
I hope everybody had a really nice Christmas.

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