Wanna see an incredibly inspiring and beautiful video? Check out Cody's latest over at his Wranglerstar channel on YouTube.
When Officer Berry took this turd to the jail cell, an altercation occurred. It was video taped by the police jail camera. Officer Berry defended himself AFTER the scumbag took a swing at him (as shown in the unedited version of the video.) As due process, his actions are being reviewed before a court. His is on suspension until he gets cleared of wrong doing.
Unfortunately, the main-stream-media has attained this video and edited out the part where the suspect attempted to punch the officer. What these morons didn't realized was that the original footage showing the attack is playing in the background behind the reporter as she prattles on about the mean officer.
Please view it for yourself then, if you have the time, leave a comment on the youtube video in favor of Officer Berry. He has not had his trial yet so any support should work in his favor.
I know Officer Berry personally and would trust him with my childrens' lives. Those of you who know me (in real-world or bloggerdom) know how I feel about family. We need officers like him on the streets.
What you can do:
1) Watch the video for yourself and see how calm Off. Berry was initally (showing he was not in an angry mood initially). See the unedited footage in the background showing the suspect attempting to punch Officer Berry before he ever did anything.
2) Thumb up the comments that are honest and positive in Officer Berry's defense to they stay at the TOP of the comment screen. There will always be idiot spammers that talk trash on comments and we need to keep the positive comments above those. You can do this by clicking the Thumbs Up button and "like" the comment.
3) Thumb down the rediculous comments, using your own judgement.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and help my friend...Officer Berry.
I think most of my readers (maybe even all THREE of you) are anti-Facebook but for those that have children on FB, here's a little warning. As I have three of my six daughters on FB, we've come across the latest virus. Being the old White Hat that I am, I'll post a little info on it here knowing that Google likes to index the crap out of this blog and it should reach a majority of people Googling for a fix to the problem.
(Sidenote: Google indexed this blog post in 18 minutes. 0_o)
If you've seen a goofy Facebook post that has horrific spelling like this:
"hahahahaha <name of recipient> i cant believe whaaat u did in thiss videeoooo it's sooo stupid it's all over face bok!!! gooo hereee removee theee spaaaces -----> www .vidolaughs. com "
then you have witnessed the handiwork of a hacker. With a simple suggestive hook (ie., look what you did AND it's on video) an unsuspecting user willingly clicks on the link provided. In this case, it is VidoLaughs.com.
Several warning bells should sound in your head when you see this stuff. Misspellings THAT bad are dead giveaways for hackers posting in a non-native language. Simple misspells like VidoLaughs instead of VideoLaughs are suspicious but the ridiculous "whaaat" and "videeoooo" are most certainly done on purpose to gloat the unfolding malicious act. Taunting, if you will.
Always watch the URL when accessing an unknown site. If you are clicking a link like the aforementioned VidoLaugh.com but when your page loads and the URL clearly says "eventforyous.com/login.php" then you should not proceed any further.
|Picture courtesy of YooSecurity (note the URL)|
This is the classic FAKE login page that will steal your information once you attempt to log in. The only good news, so far, is that the hackers, in this case, are NOT changing the passwords on the FB accounts once they have access. They are only logging in, spamming the bogus links, and moving on.
If you are affected by this hack, at this point, you can simply log in to FB and change your password. You would also be wise to run a virus scan on your computer. I recommend Malwarebytes software for a safe and easy solution. I've used them for a few years now and with constant FREE upgrades, I haven't been stumped by a bug yet.
A little geek research for fun:
VidoLaughs.com appear to be located in Portugal, although this is most likely a mirror.
A WhoIs search on VidoLaughs shows a Registrant Protected status but shows the name of the server as ns1.clearfbevent.com. Clear FB Event, as in Clear out Facebook Event? Hmmm. The name VidoLaughs.com was just registered on Oct 2, 2012.
Of course, a quick visit to clearfbevent.com shows nothing. However, a Google search of "clearfbevent" shows 704 entries where the phrase clearfbevent was used in what appears to be a link scam for traffic. "Click here for a free Apple iPad 3" type advertisement.
This attack is mostly (90.6% of visitors) occurring in the United States, says Alexa (click on the "audience" link).
20 PRINT "Hello, world!"
30 PRINT "OrangeJeepDad blog is awesome"
40 REM "Visit us daily"
60 PRINT "All your base is belong to us"
|Courtesy MGM The Green Mile|
|All time FAV: Armaggedon|
As any other prepper/survivalist/geek would do, I jumped to see what it was all about. It didn't take long to see that this software was a very weak attempt at rebranding WiPeer. WiPeer is also an "ad hoc" communications software which is able to connect computers locally via a simple wifi connection.
You can set your wireless adapter to operate in "ad hoc" mode, with your internet service turned off, and still send out a signal which your neighbor can receive. With proper instruction on how to access you through your wifi signal, you and your neighbor can exchange information.
Just like you can take your laptop to Starbucks and hop on their wifi signal to surf the net or send emails, LifeNet and WiPeer simply allow neighbors to access each other via their wifi signals. Permissions are required, of course, but once connections are established, two or more users within a close enough proximity can communicate via email messages, text or file sharing. Don't get too excited though. You have to be within 200 feet of the person you are trying to communicate with or it doesn't work.
The only advantage I can see at this point with LifeNet is that LifeNet is claiming it can port onto smart phones and Linux machines. This means you can use your Droid to communicate with your neighbor's laptop over wifi if all other forms of internet and cell communication go down. Alas, LifeNet pales in comparison to the features offered by WiPeer.
Here's the comparison:
- free (no ads, spyware, nor malware)
- instant messaging (aka "chat") both private and public
- ad hoc social networking
- file sharing / searching (share files or complete folders, no restrictions on file type)
- friend locator (you get notified when an established "friend" is within wifi range)
- interactive multiplayer games
- Peersonalizer feature (notifies you when a Facebook "friend" is within wifi range)
- available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Croatian, Macedonian & Turkish
- completely packaged with user friendly interface and simple to download and install
- not available for Macs or smart phones.
- not available on Linux.
- no obvious update since 2009
- ad hoc social network
- last updated post May 2011
- throughout the entire LifeNet website, there is no mention of any other functionality (file sharing, user within range notification, gaming, etc) other than communication, including the abstract.
- LifeNet is difficult to download and install. All files are listed on a hub page and have to be downloaded individually and read for install instructions.
But in the end, I'll be ten times better at my job and have a whole list of new skills. My new title will be Radiology Practitioner Assistant or Radiology Assistant. They get used fairly interchangeably.
If you want to see why I'm up to, visit my student blog: http://weberrastudent.blogspot.com/
I gotta get going, I have to figure out how I'm going to pay for this education now.
The second video is Wifey's craft room. I think it is safe to say we've used just about all of the usable space for her FOUR sewing machines, serger, yarn, etc etc. Aside from a few more minor adjustments in the craft room, I can now focus on THE GARAGE (cheers from the crowd!)
Hack attack confirmed by JWR. Survivalblog has been under attack since July 4th and they are "being forced to change servers". Please bookmark the dotted quad addresses (seen below).
US Server = http://18.104.22.168/
Swede Server = http://22.214.171.124/
As I stated LAST TIME THIS HAPPENED, remind yourself that this is a good reason to buy JWR's CD archive of his entire site. It is only $4.97 on Amazon right (link) now and includes 2005 through 2011. Hurry, it might not be there long.
As of 20:03 July 8th (MST)
I may have finally uploaded some video of the retreat successfully onto YouTube. Looks like the only video that uploaded was a little 12 second shot I did. The longer version is waiting for a wifi connection to upload. I should have it up by tomorrow.
As luck would have it, the annual Grand Session event for Job's Daughters AND the annual Girls Camp event through our church fell on the exact same weekend. For my oldest three daughters, it meant making a tough choice regarding which event to attend. For me, it meant figuring out how to keep my six, four, and three year old daughters busy for four days and three nights ALL BY MYSELF. (Qeue the horror movie theme music).
Since my beloved wife had received the calling of Girls Camp Assistant Director, that meant she would be gone with whomever chose to go to camp for the weekend as well. Now I'll admit, I panicked a tad at first. The thought of keeping these little ones content, fed, dressed, pony-tailed, and NOT BORED was a HUGE undertaking for the Dad who hadn't planned a toddler event without the aid of his wife since...well...ever.
I quickly learned what NOT to do if you want a stress-free day with the princesses.
1) Don't even THINK about mentioning what you MIGHT do unless you know FOR SURE that you will be doing it. Heaven forbid if the plan falls through because the "YOU SAID's" and the "WHY AREN'T WE's" will echo like teradactyl screechings in your suburban until you find a swift replacement activity.
2) Don't expect to roll out of bed and out the door with minimal prepping like you do when you are going to Home Depot solo. Oh no. I left the house without a bottle bag AND the all-important Blankie. My sanity may have disappeared forever had it not been for the dvd player in the suburban and our trusted copy of Tangled.
3) Even though you JUST walked through the door coming home from McDonalds, don't think for a moment that nobody's hungry. Plan on having easy-to-make meals ready to pop in the microwave. You might even get a little crazy and set some things out to thaw ahead of time. Crazy, right?! Planning ahead..pfft! Ramen reigned at our house this week but I did go the extra mile once. Yup..I made Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Booyah! Dad of the year!
All-in-all, we are having a wonderful time. Wifey returns tonight with one daughter. The final two return Sunday. With the help of Mommy's Goodie Bags (she made one for each day, each child, and hid them separately), some fast food outings (being careful to only pick locations with playgrounds indoors), our trusty Netflix account, and the newly assembled Kid Carwash in the backyard...I'd say everyone had a great time. Especially if having a great time is judged by the amount of empty, worthless calories consumed. Winning!
Nuclear Medicine Exam for Determining Brain Death
I learned something new at work the other day: how to determine if a person is brain dead. No, there's no punchline. This isn't a joke. I work in Radiology and a co-worker was doing a study on a young lady that partied a little too hard on her birthday. So hard that she ended up in our ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and was completely unresponsive to external stimuli.
Turns out, there is a medical test to determine brain death. I remember not too long ago they used to do EEGs (electroencephalograms) to examine brain wave activity. You've seen the pictures on television most likely. A bunch of wires gets hooked up to electrodes on a person's head and the electric impulses are displayed on a machine that draws big wavy lines on paper.
Well, in this particular case, a Nuclear Medicine Brain Scan was ordered. For this test, a particular radioactive chemical is injected into the patient using an IV (intravenous catheter). This particular chemical is taken up by the brain and carried around or perfused throughout the brain during normal brain activity. In a person with no brain activity, the chemical simply does not show up in the area of the brain.
For this particular type of test, the chemical shows up as a dark color, much like the outline of the body in the picture below does. Therefore, in the following picture, the area of the brain showing no dark colors indicates that this patient has no brain activity, ie brain death.
This is a delayed image test meaning that images are taken every five minutes or so to "track" the flow of the radioactive chemical. You can see the flow appearing darker throughout the body (shoulders, neck, and face) but none shows up within the brain cavity.
Here is an example of normal brain perfusion:
Notice how the brain becomes darker colored as does the rest of the body? That is a sign of normal brain perfusion. Here's a larger version:
The brain above is noted as "robust cerebral and cerebellar profusion".
I've been in healthcare for a long time and I had never seen one of these studies. I looked it up and in the four years my current hospital has been open, we've only done four of these. Coincidentally, three of the four were young females.
So, now you know one-way doctors can officially determine brain death.
|Click on the pic to enlarge. Critters are on the middle stalk.|
I can't make much of it but maybe you can. A friend of Wifey's (hi Emilie!) sent these pictures to her a few weeks ago asking if we knew what was invading her Tomato plants. The top picture shows the critters (you have to click on the picture to see the magnified version). They are on the middle stem and look like little aphids or something.
The bottom picture is showing how her plant was dying and she wondered why?
Do any of you Master Gardeners have any input on these pics?
|The Shoe Tree. Click on the pic for|
a larger view of it.
That's right. Check out the picture. There must be three dozen or more pairs of shoes and boots tied all over this tree...out in the middle of nowhere. Why? I have no clue...but it looks kinda cool so I took a picture of it.
We were also reminded about the safety of driving slowly along these windy mountain roads. As we came around a corner, we were quickly met by highway patrol vehicles and flashing lights blocking the right lane.
|The upside down trailer. Prayers to|
Looks like a red Dodge Durango had somehow lost control while pulling a nice trailer. You can't really see the Durango but the whole front windshield was smashed out. I wondered if the family had to be pulled out that way or if it had rolled like the trailer. Either way, both were pretty mashed up. No ambulances in sight so I'm guessing everyone was okay.
|The marketing worked on me :-(|
and I bought one...<sucker>
Lastly, I'll mention the fun we had running around all the garage sales in the Hinterboonies. I didn't think there would be much substance at a garage sale in such an underpopulated area but I was quite surprised at the amount of...ahem...stuff these sales had.
We came across on garage sale that was selling items from 14 families. That's right. Fourteen families got together and threw all their "unwanteds" into one yard.
And that's where I found the one thing that I wanted to buy:
|Little Lily and my new toy...|
A remote control JEEP! Yeehaw!
|This is not our cabin but it is the closest I can get to |
showing you how our back porch is built around a
mature tree until I can get a good pic myself.
One of THE coolest things I found out about this cabin was something I didn't even realize at first. You see, I had Google mapped it and tried viewing the cabin from Google Earth to get an idea of what was in store for us. I could see the neighbors just as plain as day but I couldn't see OUR cabin. Hmmm.
I mapped out the closest water source and saw tons of forest nearby (mostly pine and cedar). I felt I had a good general feel for the area and looked forward to the three hour drive north of town. We took the easiest route which no doubt would be the first to jam up should a catastophe strike. Luckily, there are numerous alternate routes to get us to safety. It just might take us a tad longer.
Upon our first arrival to the cabin, we did a complete walk-around. Grandpa had built a frame around a single wide trailer from (I'm guessing) the 1970's. He, as a Master Carpenter (degree'd from Arizona State), carefully crafted an additional room on the trailer and proceeded to build both a front and back deck. That's where I found the hidden treasure...on the back deck.
Trying to spare as many old pine trees as possible, grandpa decided to leave one particular large pine right where it grew. Which happened to be right in the middle of the back deck he was building. As he crafted the deck porch extending off the back of the framed trailer, he cut a large hole in the decking so that the boards encircled the large pine but hindered it's growth not one bit.
And therein lies the OPSEC tip: the huge canopy atop this old pine tree almost entirely covered our cabin (or atleast a good portion of it). The rest of the cabin was shrouded by the other trees on either side of the home. Turns out, that is why I couldn't see the cabin from Google Earth. This place has been there for 30+ years so I'm sure the all-watching Google satellite has passed over several times.
So if you want to keep your place hidden, consider building your trees into the design of your retreat and not just cutting them down to make room.
|Watching a live haboob (aka |
dust storm) roll through town
from inside the gym.
I've noticed a few things when it comes to physical fitness:
1) You never see a fat marathoner
2) I've never heard a farmer say "Today at the gym..."
What I can deduce from this is that if you want to lose weight, you don't need a fitness club membership or fancy workout equipment. Just get your butt out the door and starting running. Once you get to the point where you can run 26.2 miles (marathon), look down at your belly. There shouldn't be much of it left.
And farmers work SO much on the farm that they don't need to go to the gym for a workout. Visit Rural-Revolution a few times a week and see how much time they spend running down their cattle or working on the land. I can see where the phrase "strong as an ox" comes from...its all that lifting, digging, pulling, etc.
With that said, from my side of the city fence, I have a need for a gym. For reasons beyond my control, I feel enormous amounts of guilt if I leave kids at home to go exercise by myself. With children ranging down to three years of age, they can't exactly go for a jog with me either. Now sure, I can ask the older girls to run beside me and load the three younger ones up in some kind of jogging buggy thing but seriously...that sounds more stressful to me than anything else. And don't forget the lovely 120 degree days here in Phoenix that SO lend themselves to exercising outdoors. Every tried to jog in a haboob?
|Our favorite gym.|
Being a non-farmer, my job involves a lot of sitting behind a computer or sitting while I perform an ultrasound exam on a patient. My job, like many other's I suspect, lends itself to becoming physically out-of-shape. So, until I move to my own farm and start working my own land, I'll have to frequent a fitness club to take my kids off my hands while I lift weights or climb a stair stepper.
Now, onto the good news. Wifey and I decided in 2011 that it was time we spent a little extra money on ourselves for self improvement. Having devoted 100% of our time, effort and money to our family has given our kids a solid foundation in many ways but we were setting a horrible example of what healthy people should look like.
Wifey went first with a pesonal trainer for six months. She lost several pounds and dress sizes which, unfortunately, led to the NEED for a new wardrobe. Right. Anywho, good for her. I'm proud of her and all her hard work has paid off. My turn started almost a month ago. I'll be going six months with a trainer as well. One month in and I've already had to start punching new holes into my church belt. Old shorts with buttons that couldn't reach their respective button holes are now needing a belt to hold them up. Hooray!
My point is this: you can spend years prepping as we have done. We've stored the food, water, bugout bags, medical supplies, etc etc. But when the time comes to put feet to the asphalt, I would have been grabbing for my inhaler by the time we hit the end of our block. Life is about the survival of the fittest. You can't wait until you are at your bugout location and start to shovel out your garden/latrine/stock pond to realize you are too out of shape to do what needs to be done.
Get in shape...before it is too late.
(Best Arnold voice): Do it! Do it NOW!
Wifey and I are on our second trip for the month to our BugOut location three hours North of Phoenix. We've cleaned up the long abondoned family property and have begun repairs taking note of cache space as we begin to relocate supplies from city to country.
JWR's humble essay today on the probable coming bank runs here in the US spurred me to test the local system here in the hinterboonies. Squirming as I hit "Yes" to the $2 fee for withdrawing MY OWN MONEY from a generic ATM (no Bank of Americas up here), I am quickly notified upon my second withdrawal that the machine is out if money.
I withdrew $200 before the well went dry. Now, I don't know how many ATMs are in this sleepy little town but I do know there are a lot more people than ATMs.
Don't wait until the last minute to withdraw some cash folks. Get your 5's, 10's & 20's out now and get whatever silver you can afford while it is at a low ($28/oz last I checked). I receive no remuneration from and gladly endorse GainesvilleCoins.com. They are affordable and ship very discretely. One shipment threw Wifey off when it came addressed from Joe's Plumbing Supply. She asked me "What plumbing supplies did you buy that are SO heavy?" LoL.
Get it before it hits $50/oz and hide some bills away. Hopefully you have some tangibles stored for barter. Don't forget your ammo stockpile too.
Peace Out...from the Hinterboonies (and man is it chilly up here) ;-)
I've wanted to contribute to SB for a couple of years now but didn't feel I had any substantial knowledge to add for an audience so submerged in preparedness and survival intelligence.
After being somewhat at the forefront of the DoS attack and helping to get the word out, the idea occured to me that I FINALLY had something to write about and submit to SurvivalBlog.
I hope you enjoy reading it. I sure enjoyed writing it. Thanks again to James Rawles, his wife Avalanche Lily and all the advertisers that help keep his website afloat.
|Me, after my first guest post on|
The second guest post I had published came out at the same time and had a little warmer of a reception over at TheSurvivalistBlog.net. This article garnered 41 comments and makes me feel a little better. So, you can see my apprehension in submitting my third guest post to my all-time fav website: SurvivalBlog.com. The Grand-daddy of all survival websites.
IF my article gets accepted, I'll post a link to it here on my blog when it goes live. I will NOT, however, be holding my breath for a great response. Of course, I just realized, SurvivalBlog doesn't have a comment section! Hey, I'm feeling better already :-)
Update 06-05-12: My guest article is posted! Linked above.
I noticed SurvivalBlog.com is down. JWR was kind enough to upload an index page explaining that SB is getting hit with a DoS attack (Denial of Service).
When you visit SurvivalBlog, either by URL (typing the words, Www.SurvivalBlog.com) or by IP address (using numbers, http://126.96.36.199/ ) you come to a temporary blank page. The blank white page states that SB is under a DoS attack and to please NOT refresh or reload the page.
Let's say you own a flower shop and 100% of your customers buy over the phone. There is an evil competitor down the street that wants to put you out of business, even if only for one day. He has some friends come over to his location and they all bring their cell phones. Everyone begins calling your shop at 8am when you start your business day. They either make up bogus sales orders or just hang up when you answer. They continue to call ALL day until closing time.
You were not able to take any legitimate orders for that day. You're not closed permanently but you were effectively closed for a full day.
This is similar to a DoS attack. Only, the bad guys can use any computer that they control to "auto dial" your number (visit your site) and they just sit back and watch. Once enough page loads are being requested at the same time, within a certain time frame, the server hosting said website will shut down due to bandwidth restrictions. It can resume once the massive attacking traffic has stopped.
So DON'T reload or refresh the SurvivalBlog homepage or you'll be adding to the "traffic" which is crushing SB. Take a deep breath and come back tomorrow.
In the meantime, remind yourself that this is a good reason to buy JWR's CD archive of his entire site. It is only $4.97 on Amazon right now and includes 2005 through 2011. Hurry, it might not be there long. Also, there are a handful of programs out there that allow you to "crawl" his site daily and archive it yourself for free. I like Black Widow myself.
I look forward to the juicy details JWR is sure (I hope) to relay to us.
Survival Blog's IP (dotted quad) is http://188.8.131.52/dottedquad.html and has remained up during the DoS attack.
Update: SB's low bandwidth offshore site http://www.survivalblog.se/ is also down.
As of 5-27-12 20:37
|My Code Cart at-the-ready.|
A little after 2 am, the all-too-familiar "Code Blue" rang out over our intercom system. These night shift codes mean two things in my Radiology world: will the patient need a Radiology exam to solve the mystery of their code and how long will I be able to do chest compression this time?
You see, more often than not, I'm one of three men on the night shift in the entire hospital. At 6'3" and 270 pounds, it's encumbant upon me to do the compressions. Our ER Physicians are usually male but they are too busy conducting the code and only do chest compressions if absolutely necessary. Security guards are always male but never assist in codes. They are present but uninvolved.
Luckily, there is one male LPN on duty tonight to share the task. So I do what I am trained to do. I step up on that step stool and position my clasped hands just above the tip of the sternum. Whatever sleepiness that had settled in during my uneventful evening was now flushed away with a sea of adrenaline. I begin to throw all my weight into compressing this man's rib cage as I repeatedly check his pulse rate on the monitor. Too slow or too shallow and I'm not circulating enough blood.
I quickly feel the unmistakeable snapping of ribs. My instant reaction is to let off the pressure but I know what has to be done. I continue to pound away while the doctor and nurses scramble with heart stimulating drugs and paddle shocks. Minutes seem like hours as I stare into his eyes, hoping to see a glimmer of consciousness. 15 minutes...25 minutes...35 minutes...
My triceps have all but locked up. My pectorals are screaming and one bead of sweat runs down my hot, red face. "I've got to get to the gym or this is going to be me someday," I think to myself. The doctor calls for a pulse. I step back and watch hands palpating for pulses on both sides of the groin and neck. All eyes are on the monitor.
And there it is.
That weak blip. That electric signal that indicates a pulse is present on this ashen gray elderly gentleman. "Hot damn...we did it!" His heart is chemically dependent to keep running but he's alive. You may ask why? I don't. I just do my job.
I go wait at the front of the hospital for the family to arrive. They live nearby and are there within minutes of me posting guard out front. I escort them back to the ICU. Our doctor explains everything that has happened and walks them into the patient's room.
A grief-stricken middle aged daughter weeps by the bedside. The way she sobs when she says "Daddy" makes my eyes tear up. After a few words, her husband says to her "I have your brother on the phone." She takes the phone, holds it to Daddy's ear and says "Talk to him John. The phone is by his ear."
Over the cell phone's external speaker we can all hear John's crackling, sobbing voice as he tells his Dad he loves him. "Hang in there Dad...I love you Dad." And the old man's mouth began to move.
"He can hear you John! His lips are moving! Keep talking!" the daughter said as she wept. I watched one more time as John's emotional voice lept from that cell phone and coaxed motion from the old man. A father gets to hear his children one more time as they tell him they love him.
That's all I need to hear. I turn and walk back to my department. I sit in my old, uncomfortable department chair and look at my watch. I get to see MY children in two hours. They might not understand why Daddy works all night but on THIS particular night, I know EXACTLY why.
|She told the baker what to write on |
her birthday cake.
The usual answer became "I'm not sure" and after a while, Wifey and I decided just to get her what WE thought she needed (imagine that!). Among her gifts were a new school backpack, a new dress and shoes for church, a modest mp3 player ($14 from Amazon, no ridiculously overpriced iPods here) and a new line of Legos made just for girls.
It wasn't until Wifey relayed a recent conversation to me that she had with one of her friends that I saw the big picture. My daughter didn't know what to ask for because she wasn't being bombarded with carefully crafted commercials hawking the latest, greatest must-have toy of the week.
You see, we opted to disconnect our cable tv over three years ago. We don't even have the bunny ears required to get three local channels. We simply don't need it AND don't miss it one bit. The constant barrage of junk television shows with misguided teen plots and negation of family values will not be polluting my kids.
In fact, almost a year after we turned it off, I took a few of my older girls with me to work one night. I had been called into a hospital to perform an emergency ultrasound which typically takes less than one hour. My girls tagged along with plans to watch the tv at work and enjoy the free soda pop in our cafeteria.
Upon returning from my examination, my eldest daughter informed me that not only were the same sitcoms on the Disney Channel on year later...but the EXACT SAME EPISODES were playing. In other words, one year after we tuned out commercialized television, the networks were still re-running the same old junk.
My girls were amazed and laughed at the fact that, in their minds, they had missed NOTHING by having to live without cable television.
So I had my thoughts reconfirmed this month as to the validity of turning off the cable networks many years ago. My children don't ask for the latest widget and are happy with gifts from the heart.
Wifey even teased #4 that she was only getting one birthday present. Unbeknownst to her, all her gifts had been wrapped up inside one large box, giving the appearance of one gift. Do you know what she said when she was told she only got one gift?
Not one...single...word. No whining, no crying about multiple gifts at past birthdays or birthdays of siblings. She was content with the notion of one single gift. Can I attribute that to a lack of tv? Probably not, but it sure helps keep her little mind from being distracted by worthless drivel.
I am so proud of her and the little girl she is becoming. I love her so much. She makes Fatherhood such a joy.
|Arrival at the Faire.|
This is the first year we've been lucky enough to scrape together funds and buy costumes. Wifey, my oldest three daughters and I all bought outfits from Amazon. Here is a LIST of all the costumes we bought and used. Wifey made costumes for the three little ones herself and saved us a few bucks.
I like to think that Ren Festivals give us a little insight as to the way things were back in that time period. I enjoy going not only to see the clothing of that time period but to see people actually using skills from that period as well. There's always a glass blower, soap maker, coin striker and dozens of other fantastic showcases on hand.
The official Renaissance era spans from the 14th - 17th centuries (according to Wikipedia). It was a time of blooming artesian expression from the likes of D'Vinci and Michelangelo.
Here is the Coin Striker (QuickSilver Mint) that comes to our festival EVERY year. There are only a few jobs I'd like to do at the Ren Festival...and this is one of them.
Here's a hand yarn spinner explaining that in her opinion, an average family from this time period would not have been able to afford a yarn spinning wheel. They would have had to opt for this handheld spinner due to cost and availability.
Here a young lady explains to my wife how the hand loom works:
This is just a glimpse at how large the festival "town" actually is:
I talked to a worker at one shop and she said her mom had owned the same store for 27 years. Folks actually BUY these buildings just like REAL property. If a shop is not available for purchase, you can purchase the lot and build a shop yourself (once approved). According to the Royal Faires website, it looks to me like the MINIMUM price just to rent a "cart" was $1000 for the two months that the festival is open each year. If you need electricity, that's an additional $275.
I just can't imagine making THAT much money at the festival. I mean, if you're doing it just to go and be a part of the era, I get it. Break even maybe. But if you're trying to make a living doing this? I don't see how.
One of my intentions of going this year was to take inventory of what all was being sold and see if there was a niche I could fill with my family. If you work in a "store", you get free tickets to anyone that works with you for the entire time the festival is open. Obviously, ALL my girls would be employees so the savings there would be several hundred dollars if they went to the festival several times. But what could I sell?
I immediately thought of the wonderful wooden handmade tankards made by Don Lewis over at Rural Revolution. I figured, if ANYTHING would sell like hotcakes at a Ren Festival...it would be these awesome wooden tankards. I started wondering to myself if I could get Don to let me sell them for him at our festival and how would I get them to Arizona.
Then guess what I ran into about ten booths deep in the festival...
SOMEBODY SELLING DON'S TANKARDS!!! DOH!
Guess it wasn't such a bad idea after all. Goodly Woods was a store owned by Joseph Victor and he not only made his own tankards but sold Don's too. I saw several of the "locals" walking around carrying Don's tankards. They appeared to be a staple item, as common as the cinched up boustier...and both tended to overflow (wink wink).
All-in-all, we had a blast and can't wait to go again next year. I even made a few friends...
|What a cutie!|
|Image via Google but by no means illustrates all headaches.|
Mine are usually in the back of the skull near the base.
Now, it seems that my old friend Ibuprophen is only about 50% effective. I haven't asked my physician friends if there is a level at which a person can develop a tolerance to it but perhaps I've reached it. Otherwise, either my headaches are getting worse or their root cause is changing. I've taken 800-1000mg dosages up to three times in one 24 hour period and had it not take the pain away. It used to work after one dose.
Hence the reason for this post. I'll be experimenting with new methods of migraine control and posting it here as well as on my Medicine tab. I've begun asked my Emergency Room nurses for their opinions on Imitrex and similar drugs. As soon as I get some, I'll post the effects.
What do YOU use for headaches/migraines?
Unreported cash income seemed to be best way to go if I wanted to live my own life and not report to The Office five days a week. Of course, the profit margin on these businesses aren't what they used to be and as I've grown up (stop snickering!) I've slowly come to accept that I may just have to "work" for the rest of my life (I have a large family now, social security obviously WON'T be there when I hit retirement age in 30 years, etc etc.)
So one of the things I have begun to implement is bartering. This week turned out to be a good week for my family. One of my trained "professional" skills is Sonography or performing ultrasound exams. Since there is no radiation involved ( I am also trained in Xrays and CT Scans = radiation), I can perform ultrasounds on people without the need for a Doctor's prescription and not worry about losing my license.
This week, after completing the third or fourth ultrasound on a family's pregnant mommy, I requested the use of their giant bounce house or jumper as some people refer to them. This family happens to have five of them and were more than happy to help me load it into my trailer and take it home for TWO WEEKS!
Just the sight of my childrens' faces as they walked out into the backyard as saw what Dad brought home was priceless. My 4th daughter just turned six yesterday and I told her this was her last of her birthday presents this year. All six of my girls played on it for hours AND the house was peaceful AND everyone went to bed on time and exhausted = win-win-win!
So my point is: look around you. What can you barter? Just like working can make you money, saving money can also "make" you money or at least help you keep what you have in your pocket a little longer. So, too does bartering. It cost me nothing to do the ultrasounds other than my time and between me, you and the fence post...I LOVE doing ultrasounds on babies. It is so fascinating to see God's little creation kicking around in mommy's tummy and to watch the parents faces glow with happiness while watching.
Spend an afternoon writing down some things you can do for barter. This will help keep the ideas in your mind when opportunities arise. I recently loaned out my trailer to a co-worker who needed to move things up to his bugout location three hours to the north of us. In exchange, he was more than happy to load me up with bags and bags of oranges. We have enough fresh squeezed orange juice to last a month and it didn't cost me a penny to loan out my trailer. I've also traded for bullet proof vests and leg holsters.
Every little bit helps. Do you barter?
I bought a dozen or so rain barrels (rinsed out 55 gallon used Coke barrels) and placed them on the side of my house. The back of my roof is pitched and has two gutter drains dumping right outside the back wall of my house. I placed a barrel directly under each drain and to my joy, had them filled in no time.
Here's a little video:
|Perfect for when you don't have an electric|
washer OR if you have limited access to one.
If your power goes out for whatever reason (snow, heat wave, TEOTWAKI), you're gonna have to figure out how to wash your clothes without your handy electric washing machine.
That's where the Wonderwash comes in. Highly recommended on Amazon for ease of use or portability. It has been on my wish list for about two years.
I received a deal alert just now. It is on sale for $42.95 + shipping which puts it around $50. If you buy two, like I did, shipping is free and the total for two is $85. Compare that to Amazon selling them for $59.
Research at Camel shows the historical low for this item was $38 but that was back in 2009. It also has a high price of $66. This deal at $42.95 is the best we'll see for a while. Get it while you can.
Live in an apartment with limited access to washing machines? Wonderwash.
Live in the hinterboonies with no electricity? Wonderwash.
|My Snowbear trailer|
So I bought a trailer. Now any time I need to haul something, I can hookup to my trailer with both my Jeep or my Suburban. I haven't used it very much but it is reassuring to know it is ready and waiting.
|6 qts of OJ, fresh squeezed|
I had no intentions on charging him anything so the free fruit was a welcomed surprise. We broke out the juicer and went to town that day. There's nothing better than fresh squeezed juice!
So when my friend from work asked to borrow my trailer a few weeks ago, I quickly agreed. It just sits in my backyard...begging to be useful. When he asked me what he could pay me for it, I jokingly said payments are accepted in oranges. Turns out he has 52 orange trees at his place!
Gasp! So far he's had the trailer for two weeks and I've already netted several bags of oranges. I think I may just have to start pimping out my trailer for goods. I mean, this is just too easy!
It's interesting to me how many orange trees there are here in Arizona. It has been my experience that most people that have them are somewhat bothered by them. I've been told you have to pick the fruit off every year for the health of the tree. Another man told me he has to trim out any dead branches or it affects the tree. At this point, I've heard "please, help yourself to the oranges" so much that if I ever did lose my job I'm pretty sure I could keep the family stocked in free orange juice until I found another job.
My 14 year old daughter came home from a sleep-over last weekend with a huge dog food bag full. Her friend's family has numerous orange trees on their property. They build their house in the middle of an old orange orchard. That particular Dad told me they had to clear 40 trees to make room to build his house. So he has an overabundance of oranges on his property, as do all his neighbors in that area.
We have friends in our daughters' Job's Daughters group that have orange trees on rental property. They told me that if we didn't go pick the fruit, he'd have to pay pickers to go clear them off the trees. PAY to get rid of oranges? Wow. We took home oodles of oranges last time we were over there.
Now if we could only find someone with a cattle abundance problem...we'd be set!
|Ribs covered in bbq & molasses.|
(For a great homemade cornbread recipe for your Dutch oven, check out this post.)
My usual recipe simply calls for straight Kraft Original BBQ sauce that I'm pretty sure is in just about every grocery store. I originally bought it because it was only $0.99 per bottle. It tasted so good that it has become a staple at our house ever since (and it is still one of the cheapest bbq sauces in our store.)
I stuff the dutch oven to the rafters with ribs then cover them with about four bottles of Kraft bbq sauce. Since you want your ribs as close to fully submerged as possible to keep them from drying out during cooking, I fill the empty Kraft bottles with water and swish them around to get the leftover sauce out and pour that into the oven. After rinsing the bottles a few times each, I usually have the ribs covered in liquid.
|Someone snuck a bottle of Sweet|
and Spicy Chipotle sauce in on me!
This sweetened up the ribs terrifically. The ribs were a huge hit and I look forward to making them again!
Don't forget to turn your Dutch oven every 15 minutes or so while they cook. If you leave them in the same spot for too long, you may get a hot spot burn. Always rotate your oven 90 degrees clockwise AND turn your lid 90 degrees counter-clockwise. This will keep the hot spots both on the lid and underneath the oven from sitting in one spot for too long.
|Fun & Friends around the fire pit.|
I started by making my favorite Dutch oven ribs cooked over a mesquite coal fire. I love the smell of a burning chimney starter filled with charcoal. I filled up our 8 qt Lodge Logic dutch oven with pork ribs and smothered them in my favorite Kraft bbq sauce and molasses. After cooking for several hours, the meat just fell right off the bone. Mmmm!
Wifey went to work on decorations and games. She hung donuts from strings and the kids had a game where they had to eat the donuts without using their hands. It got REALLY difficult when someone turned the ceiling fan on...cause there were donuts hung from the blades! Laughter roared through the house!
|Handmade decorations and treats galore!|
We're blessed to have friends like these who enjoy family time more than anything else. I had two co-workers that called off the day after St. Patrick's day because they drank themselves into such poor shape that they couldn't come to work the next day. You can keep your green beer and coming home from a party smelling like an ashtray. I'll take home gatherings any day of the week...and I don't need alcohol to enjoy it!