Wednesday, June 27, 2012

American Revolution II: Stay Home, Don't Vote!

Post removed for further investigation. I trust my blog companions and the Stay Home, Don't Vote campaign deserves more scrutiny on my behalf before I sponsor/champion the idea. Who knows...I may just be wrong about this thing.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lessons from the Annual Daddy - Daughter Weekend

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!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Using Nuclear Medicine to Determine Brain Death

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.

Help Identifying a Garden Critter

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?

BugOut Mock Run with Random Pics

Our new past-time activity is driving up to our cabin and finding new things to do and see.  On our most recent trip we saw some unusual things along the way so I thought I pass them along to you folks on the blogosphere.

The Shoe Tree. Click on the pic for
a larger view of it.
 One odd thing we noticed on our return drive home last time was a strange looking tree on the side of the highway.  This time we made sure to watch for it and investigate a little further.  What we found, along the highway 260 North of Mesa, AZ is a tree about an hour North of town on the West side of the Southbound road.  For some unknown reason, unknown to me anyway, it appears that folks stop and visit this tree...AND TIE A PAIR OF SHOES TO 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
the family.
We safely moved to the left lane and slowed to a crawl.  Not just because all the cars infront of us had done the same thing but also so that we could take a nice picture. What? Any respectable blogger would do the same...right? Anyway...

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>
 These long drives can be tricky if you didn't get enough rest before heading out.  I typically avoid the sugar-laden energy drinks for various reasons, mostly from seeing teenagers in renal failure in our ICU departments because they though it was okay to drink 20 every day but...I couldn't resist one this time.  It was made by the hunting company RealTree. I had never seen an energy drink from these guys before. It was kinda cool.  Gotta love the logo on the back of the can "Not for city boys".

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!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

OPSEC Tip: How to Hide your Bugout Location

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.
Wifey and I have begun cleaning and prepping an old family cabin that has been unused for several years.  In fact, when we called to have the water and electric turned on for inspection, we were told deposits were needed as the services have not been on in over seven years.

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.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Survival Preparedness includes Physical Fitness

Watching a live haboob (aka
dust storm) roll through town
from inside the gym.
As made obvious by my sporadic blog entries these last few months, I've been a little busy. Among the many things Wifey and I are striving towards this year, physical fitness is at the top of our list. During our 15 years of marriage and concurrent with having six daughters...we've become a little (cough, cough) out of shape. 

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.
So, Wifey and I opted to get a gym membership that includes daycare.  My three little ones can play to their hearts' content, complete with little kiddie workout equipment for ages 6 and up and a rock climbing wall.  My older three can workout with us or on their own.  If they have homework, there are tables by the cafe to sit and study. For $99 per month, Wifey and I can workout as much as we want, get two hours of childcare per day (which is worth its weight in gold = two hours of uninterupted adult conversation!), and get healthy.

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!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

At My BugOut Location, ATM is Empty.

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 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) ;-)


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Article Posted on Tonight!

My guest post article has posted on SurvivalBlog this evening. If you are interested in reading The Top Ten Lessons Learned from the DoS Attack on SurvivalBlog, by all means...go ahead.

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.


Monday, June 4, 2012

I Finally Posted a Contest Submission to Survival Blog.

Me, after my first guest post on
As much as I enjoy writing, I don't put much faith into thinking anyone REALLY wants to read it. For that reason, I've only submitted a few contest entries over the past two years. The first post was at Rural Revolution and was a complete bomb. I'm not sure exactly why but posts there normally gets dozens of comments on articles and I got exactly...wait for it...NONE. The only comment is me, bellyaching about having no comments. Yep, just checked. Almost one year later and I still have NO comments on the article.

The second guest post I had published came out at  the same time and had a little warmer of a reception over at 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: 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.