Tag Archives: Hurricane Gustav

Making GREEN with “Green.”

25 Jun

Okay…

So you probably know that my family is building a house out of shipping containers, and other assorted cast-offs, because a hurricane ate our old one.

And… as you probably know, the local Planning and Zoning Nazis are giving us hell, because “we jist ain’t right…” 🙂

You probably also know by now that “Old Ronin” can be a “Sumbitch” at times… so here’s what I plan to spring on ’em at the next planning and zoning hearing…

First, we all know how important “green” is.

And, if you’ve been following along, for lo these many months, you’ve probably figured out that Ronin is a drinker. And, you gotta do something with all those bottles that you have to haul out to the curb every Tuesday and Friday.

Now, it’s not like I really need “the sauce,” it’s just that coming from California, and seeing how the State is almost bankrupt, I wanted to insure that the guys and gals in Napa Valley don’t go broke, and have to sell their wineries. So… after paying the alcohol tax on them (to keep Arnold from having a seizure! Pay Attention! Sheesh! Okay, I’ll type s-l-o-w-l-y so you can keep up!), and emptying them the good old fashioned way (a wine goblet in each hand)…:)

I decided that I’d use them to build walls in my house, the one that I’m building out of  ISBU shipping containers. It seems only fitting, as they probably got here in a container, in the first place. Plus, I was getting a hernia carrying them to the curb. And, boy, does it make my wife mad!

“Ronin, get those bottles outta the house! NOW!”

“Sorry hon… Can’t do it. Construction material, don’t ya know…” 😉

Glasscape

Pretty cool, huh?

Glasscape2And free…. except for the “emptying them” part…

Glasscape3Only 1,472 more to go, and I’ll have a den! (And a liver the size of Montana…) 🙂

Actually, Ronin don’t drink “that” much… It don’t mix well with my med’s. I’m loopy enough, without “mixing poisons” and then running amok in the neighborhood!

Speaking of pills…

Between “Daddy’s Crazy Pills,” and Momma’s “Boy, is I sick” meds, we have a ton of those little tiny pill bottles scattered all over the house. Now as soon as we empty them, we rinse them out real good, because frankly, I don’t want my kid addicted to “Demerol Dust” any time soon. 🙂

But, I was watching my kid stack them up like building blocks, and then suddenly it hit me. Right in the head!

“OUCH! Dammit boy, no throwin your toys at the Daddy!! Yer gonna put an eye out!”

Actually, it got me to thinking, and we all know that can’t be good.

So, I collected up all them bottles, and started gluing them all together into long rods. And then, I put some little tiny Christmas LED lights in ’em. And then, I put the long rods into groups, and glue ’em to a piece of plywood.

Voila, instant “Squib Stalactites” (or is it “stalagmites?” I forget which!) that glow in the dark!! Now, hang a few from the ceiling, and you’ve got instant illumination!

chemical-balance3Wha? It’s not like YOU don’t take medicine, too! You DO, right?;)

chemical-balance1See? “Objects Da Art.” 🙂

ChemicalBalanceIII_SAAMOoooooh! Purty! 😉

And frankly, between all the med’s and the booze, old Ronin is staying in shape. Round.

ROUND IS TOO A SHAPE! SHUT UP! 🙂

So, I decided to try and lose some weight. And what better way to lose weight, than to blog off a few pounds. It’s really quite easy. You just disassemble your keyboard and rebuild it, reassembling all the keys into one long string, mounted on the wall in your office. Then, you just dash back and forth hitting the keys, like “a crazed lab rat on the meth,” until you either;

(a) lose the desired amount of weight; or

(b) collapse and wake up hooked up to tubes, in the ICU.

office_weightloss_made_easyEither way, you lose a few pounds! Who need’s Jenny Craig?:)

And, while I’m talking about keys…

if you really wanna piss your wife off, you can do the same thing to your security keypad. You know the one you have to turn off in a certain number of seconds, or the rent-a-cops bust down the door and taze you until you pee all over yourself?

The key (I know…bad pun) is to reassemble the pad randomly. And don’t be afraid to leave out some of the keys. You can always use the “extra” parts on something else later on. 🙂

security_keypad_from_hell“Lemme see… what was that code again? Hey!!! Wha the hell? Roooooooooooonin!”

Incidentally, while I was testing the new “security features,” I got… you guessed it… tazed. After drinkin all that wine (I needed to, to empty the bottles for the room addition. Aren’t you paying attention? Gawwwwwwwd!) and then getting some 50,000 volts of “security sting,” the resulting stain wouldn’t come outta the carpet.

And it got me to thinking…

(I know what you’re thinking… Oh gawwwwd, here we go again!)

…about all the take-out food we order.

Why? Because if the heat in Mississippi don’t kill you, my wife’s cooking will. I’m not kidding! We’re not allowed to bring food to the potlucks at church anymore! After that last batch of “Banana Pudding”  they started praying for us like crazy… I mean, we thought that they loved it!  They were jumping all around and “speaking in tongues” and everything!

The paramedics said; “That wasn’t a religious experience, you idiots!  They were having convulsions!”

Oooooops?!?  That pudding took out half the congregation…

(Okay, so they was prayin that we’d move outta their district… But, a prayer is a prayer, right? Well? Isn’t it?)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah…

After my wife saw “the stain…” she gave me until she got back from running her errands, to have it either fixed, or else.  She said something about “large caliber handguns, packing up my stuff, and something about shooting my sorry butt off…” but I’m really not sure because when she talks to me, all I usually hear is:

“Blah, blah, blah…”

But, just to be safe, here I sit, trying to fix the floor. And who doesn’t like wood floors? Hmmm?

Wooden-Floor-1The “traditional parquet look”

Wooden-Floor-2See? And all it took was some patience, enough chopsticks to feed most of Bejing, and about 35 tubes of Elmer’s Best…

Wooden-Floor-3Perhaps you’re in the mood for “Herringbone?”

Wooden-Floor-4Relax. It’ll grow on you… like a fungus! 🙂

See, now, when those guys at the Chinese Restaurant start giving you the “evil eye” for taking extra chopsticks, you’ll have a good reason!

Wooden-Floor-5

Okay… Last choice. I’m going blind, here!

So, I’m takin a poll. Which pattern do you like best? And vote quick, because she’ll be back any minute!

Ah crap! She’s home and I ain’t done yet! Anybody got the number handy for “911”?

Okay… I’m lyin! Everything you see here was the work of an Artist named Jean Shin.

I just wanted to remind you how cool “Green” can be. To some people, all this stuff started “with garbage.” But, Jean is making a fortune, a statement, and saving the planet at the same time! And, so can we. But we’ll get paid in “comfort, security, and affordable housing!”

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance RoninRemember… Green is Cool. Especially when you share it with a friend. If you like what you see here, and you want it to continue, I urge you to consider hitting that Paypal button up there, and donating a few bucks to the cause. We need a house, so my wife can get well, and my little boy can be safe. And frankly, we’re running out of options. We appreciate anything that you can contribute.
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See the Classiest “Top” in Town!

8 Feb

We interrupt this broadcast, to bring you this late breaking news:

Many of you have followed along, as my family (slowly, methodically, and offtimes painfully…) builds a new home, using stuff that most people would consider “alternative’ construction materials. Our use of Shipping Containers and recycled Aircraft Hanger Components does make the neighbors nervous, I admit.

angry_mobAt least I think it’s “nervousness…” It’s hard to tell with all the glare from the pitchforks and burning brands…

However, even our “Alternative House” uses many of the same components you might find in other “conventional” homes in the neighborhood. Some of these  “cross-over” components can be used by anyone seeking lower utility bills, better energy efficiency, and an enhanced lifestyle.

Like for instance; I get email all the time from readers who want to “go solar,” only to find themselves mired in “pitched battles” with their Homeowner’s Associations.

This cracks me up, considering I live about a stone’s throw from “Hooterville,” where a neighbor’s status in the village is measured by how many derelict cars he has dumped in front of his trailer. Okay, maybe it’s not THAT bad, but it’s an absurd, surreal little corner of the rock, to be sure! LOL!

It seems some people (damned neighbors, anyway!) think that solar panels are ugly, property depreciating diversions, destined to rob them of their hard-earned equity.

Okay, I can see how a few panels thrown up on your roof might be considered “unsightly.” Even I have to admit that I’ve seen a few panel arrays that “didn’t quite look like they belonged there…”

domestic-home-solar-panels

These aren’t exactly “unsightly,” but they could use some dressing up, to make them blend in with the roof. Can you say; “Afterthought?”

Well, you can take a big sigh of relief because those clever folks over at Fabral have come riding in, to your rescue!

fabral-solar-roof

Fabral’s Solar SSR is a standing-seam metal roof system that harvests energy from the sun.

You remember from previous posts how much I like Standing Seam Metal Roofs, right? Well…

The wizards at Fabral have invented (fanfare, please…) The Solar SSR, a photovoltaic solar laminate, produces electricity when exposed to sunlight and offers a green solution for metal roofing applications.

And before you start in on me… NO! It ain’t magic! It’s science. You remember, it’s that stuff you slept thru in high school, so you could dream about cheerleaders, and puberty, and cars… eh? At least, that’s what I did…

Electricity generated by the laminates is fed through the electrical system into the power grid. The flexibility and durability of these laminates make them ideal for metal roofs, where expansion, contraction and curving are considerations.

And fear not, ye dwellers of Hurricane Alley! Fabral has your back!

The panel/laminate bond that’s created up there on your roof has been tested and proven to withstand winds up to 160 mph.

So not even your Mother-In-Laws screaming and hollering at you, will dislodge it!

Take that, Hurricane Katrina!

HINT: For those of you compiling your Christmas and Hanukkah lists, I want this! I’ll be good, I promise.

Okay, I probably won’t be “good,” but I’ll keep it on the “low-low…” Okay?

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program…

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance Ronin

Note: In “celebration” of both winter, and “frozen friends…” I give you a new header photo “Container Cabin in the Sky!” Some of you will recognize the cabin, it’s a “Stankey Monument.”

One Last “Hurricane Gustav” Observation…

3 Sep

As Hurricane Gustav rolled toward the Gulf Coast, I watched a characterization recently which I suspect was actually intended to allay the fears of the national (and even international) viewing audience about a very specific and often feared sub genus of American culture:

I speak of course, about “the poor, misunderstood Southern Redneck.”

Now, in spite of the weather, the rain, the wind, and even the cops, the broadcasts were extremely well done, and it was obvious to all that the news commentators truly cared for and even perhaps loved their charges. Hell, the press, bent on sensationalizing the impending disaster, treated them almost like real people.

And the staging was brilliant! It was almost like looking at a life-sized diorama. It was authentic down to the swaying masts in the harbor, the vibrato of the rigging as the winds ripped through it, and the large snarling dogs barking and growling in the background.

The commentator illustrated the steely nerves of the “future” victims, and painted “pictures of personal bravery” that would make mortal men weep. He talked about the exodus of mankind from the oil platforms perched precariously in the Gulf of Mexico.

And the “real kicker” for me was the revealing display of the lower back tattoos on the womenfolk depicted, almost as if an anthropological commentary on “tramp stamps” as “redneck art.”

You’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, aren’t you?

As Hurricane Gustav prepared to meet Louisiana, a weather guy from the Weather Channel set up shop in front of a harbor filled with shrimp trawlers and oil tenders. Now, this wasn’t just any old harbor, it was pretty much “ground zero” for the coming storm, and all eyes were cast to the heavens and to one sorry vessel, packed to the forward bilge pumps with people. In fact, the weather guy (whose voice was literally reeking of distress) related that 10 adults and 8 children were on board because the guy who owned the boat didn’t want to risk losing it in the storm, and he couldn’t afford to flee to a hotel room, anyway.

Let’s put this in perspective, okay folks? A Category 3 hurricane is headed for your harbor, and where do you drag your wife, kids, and in-laws? To the boat anchored there at ground zero, of course! Because all those “extra hands” can help bail water, right?

I only have one question. Where in the hell were the cops? Why didn’t they taze this idiot, drag his sorry ass off to “safety,” and insure that his brood was sheltered from the storm? Most jail cells are “hurricane resistant,” right? I’m sure they could have found space for him.

Okay, that’s three questions. So sue me…

Now, I’m gonna admit that as a soon as I saw that, I started praying like a horrified Hebrew in the Gaza… and I wasn’t praying for him, I was praying for his poor family. In Hebrew, with feeling… If I had any hair left, I’d have torn it out!

I’ve done some time on Shrimp Trawlers. Admittedly, it was long ago, and I was a better (fit) man, but I’m telling you now, the last place I wanna be in the middle of a hurricane, is on a shrimp boat. And there’s no way in hell my kids would be within miles, maybe even scores of miles.

Now that the carnage is over, and things are settling down, I hope some social worker somewhere in that moron’s parish is looking hard at that tape, trying to figure out a name, to put with that dumb-ass face. And then, he needs to be given the chance to explain himself, while somebody tears him a new one…

If I had my way, they’d find the sorry bastard, tranquilize him with a few teaspoons full of Robitussin, and then extract his teeth one by one with a ball peen hammer and some old rusty fishing pliers.

And if he passed out along the way, well… I’d just wave a cold Budweiser in front of his face long enough to stimulate his salivary glands, and then start over…

This moron gives legitimate “Sons of the South” a bad name. I mean, this guy has got to be somebody’s “idiot stepchild.” He’s probably even got a laminated Confederate Dollar Bill in his wallet.

Don’t get me wrong, my entire family is rooted in the South. And, I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, but sure, our family tree grows straight up, without a single branch! However, it is planted in “Southern Soil,” baby!

But this guy just really pissed me off. My only wish is that he lived near enough to me, so that I could offer to teach him a lesson or two in “parenting…”

And this concludes “Ronin’s look at foul weather and high winds,” at least for now. The next hot air you read about, will in fact, be my own…

That is all…

Stay tuned…

Gustav’s Morning After…

2 Sep

Well, its a brand new day.

One filled with thoughts of playing with the kid, and even making nice with the wife.

Unfortunately, I have yardwork to do. And, this is about as much fun as being banished to your room, during your sisters birthday party.

(Hey, I thought the water balloon greeting was pretty funny, but Mom said I went over the line by filling them with motor oil… Who knew?) LOL!

Anyway, Gustav was a bust, around here. We got wet, we got wind, we even got a waterspout and a tornado or three, but other than that, nothing. Nada, Zip, Bupkiss…

No looters to shoot, no free MRE’s, no nothing. Picture Ronin sad.

The beaches are all closed, while the county cleans up the debris. The Highway (highway 90) is still closed, for the same reason. The curfew is lifted, and everything is going back to normal.

My wife’s doctor even called, to check in with her and make sure she was okay. When’s the last time that happened? He must be having a boring day at the office…

(Actually, Dr. Christie is a great guy, and he really cares about his patients. Plus, he looks up to me, because he went to that sorry school – USC, and I went to the cool school – UCLA. He’s obviously suffering from envy.)

My phone is ringing off the hook, mostly people wanting to know if it’s safe to come back home. I usually tell them of the horror, flooding, tragedy, suffering, and devastation… and tell them to stay where they are, until they take root. I’m not much for neighbors.

Hey, I’ve got no trouble loving my fellow man, as long as he’s at least three counties away… LOL!

We see the sun peek out from time to time, we’re getting intermittent light rain, and it’s humid as hell, but it’ll pass…

Oy Vay, like a gallstone, it’ll pass…

I’m currently listening to:

Goodbye Blue Sky – Pink Floyd

So, it’s time to focus on other places, that REALLY need the focus. Like SW Louisiana, where things didn’t go so well…

And, it’s time for me to start brainwashing you again, as you follow the thrilling sage unfolding…

“Shipping Containers Make Strong Houses…” Film at 11pm…

Stay tuned…

Gustav goes “Gutless?”

1 Sep

Rain rain, go away…

Well, we’re still here.

It appears that the hurricane, although not over with, is falling apart. And that’s a good thing. It’s already several miles inland, and spinning down. The last I heard, it was a weak Cat 1 storm, now. I’m just relieved that it wasn’t a “Katrina event,” with the aftermath being years of frustration and hollow sounding rhetoric, aimed at placating hurricane victims.

There’s definitely gonna be some clean-up, but it looks like it’s gonna go a lot faster than the last time.

The highway that parallels my house, Highway 90, was under water for a while, and the beach is now a “lagoon.” There are some tree branches down, but Katrina cut most of our dead wood for us, and it’s not nearly as bad.

The MDOT guys are saying; “Highway 90 in Harrison County is closed at this time due to storm surge. We urge motorists to please avoid the area.”

The ocean ain’t supposed to be on the street… Right?

I walked down to the beach (it’s about 1/4 mile from my house) and it’s pretty clean, as hurricanes go. There are some downed power lines, and the cable company is gonna have it’s hands full, but we’re not in bad shape.

The new construction along the beach is holding it’s own from what I can see. There’s a condo project going in on the corner, and it’s several stories tall, and I didn’t see one broken window, or glass door. (I can’t see the “beachside elevation” as it’s a trek across open water to get anywhere near seeing it.) Not gonna happen. You’ll have to use your imagination.

I’m amazed at how empty the town is. Everybody ran for cover. Here’s their theme song;

It was interesting walking against the headwinds (the winds are still gusting to 90mph every once in a while), two steps forward, and three steps back, but I figure it’s just a part of the “Gustav Gym” plan…

It’s raining pretty hard, and it actually hurts when it hits your skin, but it’s starting to slow down. We’ll have bands of this rain for hours yet, and the winds will accompany it, like “Bonzo” (Jon Bonham of Led Zeppelin) beating out a tune for Robert Plant.

I was gonna take some photographs, but the rain is still coming down so hard I don’t want to risk my digital camera. My wife would kill me if we couldn’t take our “mandatory 50 pictures a day” of the “Emperor of the New World.”

(Now, we do know a “poser” in India, who claims to be the “Emperor of the World,” but we know for a fact the only throne he has, is in his bathroom. At least I think it is. To hear him talk, I’m not even sure he has indoor plumbing…) LOL!

BTW: I think we’re giving Joshua a complex. Whenever he hears the camera start up, he covers his face with his hands… LOL!

The storm isn’t really affecting Joshua, much. In fact, we stand in front of the storm door, and he’s fascinated just looking outside at the wind and rain. The trees moving back and forth probably have something to do with it, as well…

Right now, he’s sleeping, and probably dreaming up more ways to torment Dad.

There are several tornadoes tearing things up, right now. I guess Gustav figured out he wasn’t gonna leave a real terrible mark, so he brought friends to help him add to the scorecard. I didn’t see any waterspouts, but there are tornadoes reported in my immediate area, and there is a couple of them racing inland, all across the counties here…

Did you hear this?

Michelle Malkin (syndicated columnist) said this;

Per Gov. Bobby Jindal’s order at 4am this morning: “As directed by Governor Jindal, Louisiana State Police will initiate contraflow at 4:00 AM Sunday morning. For the first time in history, the entire Louisiana coastal population will be evacuated due to the impending threat of Hurricane Gustav.”

We know who won’t be praying for their success and safety: tolerant, peaceful liberals wishing the worst on Republicans in Gustav’s path and laughing about the possibility of grave destruction.

(snip)

God is not on your side, gloating sleazeballs.

Can you believe that? What an idiot! Man, what a “hater!” Some people will say anything to get attention, I guess…

There are over 50,000 families without power in the lower six counties of Pearl River, Stone, George, Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties, so far, according to the news I just heard.

And since the power is flickering again, and the rain and winds are picking up, I suspect I’m about to join them.  I can just barely see the road from here (it’s about 100 yards away). So, since this is the third time I’ve tried to get this post up, what you see, is what you get…

Stay tuned!

Knock – Knock! Who’s there? Gustav, Dang it!

1 Sep

Hurricane Gustav has made her mark…


Gustav made landfall at hit on the shore near Cocodrie, Louisiana, southwest of New Orleans, sparing the “Big O” a potentially lethal direct hit. He arrived, fashionably late (at 10am local time), his eye set on taking out a few shrimp boats and oil tenders.

Here in coastal Mississippi, we’re getting heavy rain, and winds that howl, but not nearly as loudly as the wailing we experienced during Hurricane Katrina, three years ago.

Before it reached the coast, it was weakened to a category two hurricane, a storm with winds of 95-110 mph, which can generate a storm surge of around 5 to 8 feet.

We’ve got cars floating down the street, and some debris being blown around, but luckily, it doesn’t look like any “hard structures” are getting torn up, yet.

I suspect that it’s the result of all the new construction, and the heavy use of “hurricane straps” on building components. And the neighborhood I’m living in is not exactly “aging gracefully,” so if there is going to be any real extensive damage, I suspect it will be here. So far, so good.

I haven’t heard of any fatalities yet, or even any injuries. I suspect that it’s because most people headed for the hills, and everyone is on their toes.

They’re telling us that we’ll be experiencing Gustav’s wrath for several hours, as he’s slowed down a bit. It’s the sustained winds that kill, the storm sends wave after wave of “ill winds” at us, and we get battered over and over again. That’s what causes the failures. But, so far, the winds are just making noise, and pushing garbage, and the “errant” car around.

And here’s what I’m listening to, now;

Floodwaters have been lapping over the top of New Orleans levees, but there are no reported breaches. That’s good news!

The power is fluctuating pretty hard, around here. So, that’s all for now.

More later…

Stay tuned!

Gustav is knocking on the door… don’t answer it and maybe he’ll go away!

1 Sep

It’s about 2:00 am, and all is well…

It’s the calm before the storm…

Hurricane Gustav is just offshore, and headed for landfall. And, it looks like the levee’s are going to get tested again.

Here in Mississippi, we’ve gotten some rain and high winds already, but it’s nothing compared to what’s coming… it looks like we may get a LOT of rain, and even some pretty good tidal surge, but the bullet is aimed, once again on Louisiana. All the models are starting to converge on the SW area of Louisiana, just shy of New Orleans.

And I’m not talking about Tyra Banks, or Heidi “whats-her-name.” Hey, I’ve got nothing against her, I just can’t remember her name. And anybody who loves “Seal” can’t be all bad. That guy can really sing!

But I almost wish that reality show “I’m a washed up hag of a supermodel/harpy” Janice was there. Maybe a building would fall on her. Isn’t that what’s supposed to happen to “wicked witches?” LOL!

I can’t wait to see what the press, and those who wax philosophical are gonna do with that. Remember last time? We heard all about wrath, and sin, and repentance…

I hope that this time, we hear about help, and compassion, and caring. This part of the US has gotten pounded for the last several years, and it’s starting to make me think that building a house out of steel isn’t that crazy after all…

So, it appears that the “City Beneath Sea Level”  (8′ below) is about to get another dose of reality, Mother Nature Style. This time, people are listening. New Orleans, and most parts of the LA/MS Gulf Coast, have become ghost towns. Biloxi is all but abandoned. The only thing we’re seeing on the streets is the occasional police car, and HumVees. It’s an exodus of biblical proportions…

Even the casinos are shut down. So, we KNOW that people are listening. And while we ponder what else they’re listening to, here’s what I’m listening to;

Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks

Here’s what people in New Orleans are “listening to” on the TV;

The guys and gals at MSNBC are telling us that a historic evacuation of nearly 2 million people from the Louisiana coast is seemingly complete, as gun-toting police and National Guardsmen stood watch while rain started to fall on this city’s empty streets…

The storm is getting set to crash ashore sometime late Monday morning with frightful force, testing the three years of planning and rebuilding that followed Katrina’s devastating blow to the Gulf Coast. The storm has already killed at least 94 people on its path through the Caribbean.

Painfully aware of the failings that led to that horrific suffering and more than 1,600 deaths, this time officials moved beyond merely insisting tourists and residents leave south Louisiana. They threatened arrest, loaded thousands onto buses and warned that anyone who remained behind would not be rescued.

Col. Mike Edmondson, state police commander, said he believed that 90 percent of the population had fled the Louisiana coast. The exodus of 1.9 million people is the largest evacuation in state history, and thousands more had left from Mississippi, Alabama and flood-prone southeast Texas.

Late Sunday, Gov. Bobby Jindal issued one last plea to the roughly 100,000 people still left on the coast: “If you’ve not evacuated, please do so. There are still a few hours left.”

Here in Mississippi, it’s not quite so sophisticated. The local authorities are telling us “to either batten it down, or get the hell out.” Where I live, there was a mandatory evacuation scheduled for Sunday afternoon. It’s based on which “zone” you fall into, based on address. But, as the storm progresses, it’s clear that although the weather is going to get really rough, it’s not gonna be another Katrina, at least not here.

We’re gonna get some high water, to be sure. But how high is anyone’s guess. The wind is gonna howl. And I suspect that a career in “roofing” would be a real asset right now. Time will tell. Until then…

It seems like the minutes go by like hours. Life seems to slow way down when you’re waiting for a hurricane to slam into you. We knowing it’s coming, but no one really knows how bad it’s going to be. And with that, comes the raw nerves,and the giddy “Man, are we gonna get spanked!” vibe…

We’ve done everything that we can do, and we’ve made our peace with what’s to come. And as crazy as it sounds, I’m not even that nervous. Hurricanes are hurricanes and they’re coming for you, no matter what you do.

Here’s the latest update I’ve heard that seems “reasonable;”

Hurricane Gustav is now about 200 miles away from the US mainland and will be making landfall around midday Monday. Hurricane warnings are in effect from High Island, TX to the Florida/Alabama border. Persons who are in the hurricane warning area should finish everything they need to protect their belongings and their safety NOW. This storm is extremely dangerous. As of 11 pm, winds remained near 115 mph and the pressure was 954 millibars. While there is about 12 hours of opportunity for Gustav to strengthen, it will probably be about the same intensity or just a little higher at landfall. New Orleans will be in the right-front quadrant of the storm, which typically has the highest storm surge. If the storm surge goes right into the city, it could be awful news.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm surge is expected to be 10 to 14 feet to the east of where the storm makes landfall. Hurricane force winds extend outward 70 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds 220 miles. At 1am, New Orleans reported wind gusts to 33 mph and the storm is over 200 miles away. For those of you who made it out of harms way, good job! For those who stayed in your homes, hunker down because the worst of the storm will be tomorrow morning.

So now you know as much as we do. As my wife and I get ready for the storm to get here, we’re holding our new son, and thinking about how blessed we are, in spite of everything around us.

If you’re near us, and you’re reading this… Help everyone you can. It’s how healing starts.

Good luck, and stay tuned!

Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks – My Favorite Version!
(No pictures of doom and gloom, and good production values)

As Hurricane Gustav bears down on us…

31 Aug

I don’t know what YOU’RE doing, but As Hurricane Gustav bears down on US, we’re starting to get ready…

To run like the devil was chasing us!

Are YOU ready?

Most predictions now, are that Hurricane Gustav will make landfall as a Category 3, near SW New Orleans, LA. And, we’re gonna start seeing the rain and high winds, in about 10 hours. The main bulk of the storm should land early tomorrow morning.

We’re located about 65 miles away, so that’s not good. If it’s a Category 3, we’ll get a ton of water, lots of tidal surge, and heavy winds. It’s looking like it’s gonna be ugly. Man, I hope FEMA learned something from the last time…

If you’re reading this and you’re within the cone of the storm, I thought I’d take some time to help you remember how this works…

Which translates to “I thought, that instead of preaching the “Gospel of Shipping Containers,” I’d try to help you remember to get “all your groceries together,” as you head out the front door, in advance of the storm.”

Let’s look at that kit you’ve put together, to help you survive this hurricane, okay?

Now I know that some of you will probably want to put enough supplies together to last longer than three days,  but the idea is that you can pick this bag up and run like hell, when it’s time…

And, most of you will want to modify the contents of this list to suit your own personal preferences.

Why? Because there  are people on this planet who are really picky, no matter what the conditions are,  and others of us who can’t stand powdered milk or “potted meat.” Nothing says; “You’re not my favorite child!” like handing a kid SPAM! Blah!

Now, I say “Eat it and like it!” But, if you’re more compassionate, you might wanna have your kids participate in the selections you bag up…

IDEAS FOR FOOD FOR 72 HOUR KITS

Package each meal for each member in individual bags. Label them with stuff like “Breakfast – Day One” etc…

This prevents any loss of food for any one person in your party and allows you to keep track of your stuff.

Meals Ready to Eat – MRE’s are invaluable, here. They have everything you need, and even things you don’t.  (I still have about 862 tiny bottles of Tobasco Hot Sauce from last time!) I allow 4 meals a day, because without anything else to do, eating seems to help pass the time. I’ll diet later.

Pick foods your family will enjoy.

It’s very important that you place foods in this kit that your family will eat without being finicky.  You might plan to place foods in your kits that your family particularly enjoys but that you don’t always serve. Any treat, during a storm, is a godsend.

Place food in your kits that are easy to prepare or ready to eat.

When you need to use this kit, remember you will have in most cases been evacuated from your home either by car or on foot.  It will be a stressful time for your family.  You may be in a Red Cross Shelter, in a campground or on the road or on the way to relatives homes.  You will not have all the luxuries of home. Cooking at best will be difficult.  Please keep this in mind as you choose your foods for this 72 emergency survival kit.

And, don’t spend a lot of money! You’re gonna need it later, I promise!

This is a survival kit.  You will want to be comfortable but not extravagant.  The food you place in here, due to its convenience, will cost more than you desire to spend, however, you can keep the cost very reasonable.

Ideas for Food;

Beef Jerky               Saltine Crackers
Corned Beef Hash         Soup-for-One
Roast Beef Hash          Cheese & Crackers
Beef Stew                Oyster Crackers
Chili                    Dried Beef
Ravioli                  Fruit Cups
Applesauce Cups          Vienna Sausages
Pudding Cups             Bread Sticks
Cookies                  Snack Pack Cereal
Canned Milk              Powdered Milk
Fruit Rolls              Fun Fruits
Packages of Raisins      Packages of Peanuts
Granola Bars             Beef Sticks
Box Juices               Hot Cocoa Mix
Suckers                  Hard Candy
Trail Mix                Power Bars

This list is just to give you some suggestions for putting together your own kits.  As each families taste differ you will need to adjust for your own families taste. Duh!

As much as you guys and gals know I hate Walmart, it looks like they’re really gonna cash in on this one!

Menus – Examples

Breakfast-Day 1     Breakfast-Day 2       Breakfast-Day 3
—————     —————       —————
Cereal              Instant Oatmeal       Granola Bar
Powdered Milk       Fruit Roll            Granola Bar
Fruit Cup           Box of Apple Juice    Box of Grapefruit Juice
Box of OJ           Hot Cocoa/Ice Tea     Hot Cocoa/Ice Tea

Lunch-Day 1         Lunch-Day 2           Lunch-Day 3
———–         ———–           ———–
Cup of Soup         Beef Jerky            Box of OJ
Saltine Crackers    Peanuts               Cheese & Crackers
Box of Apple Juice  Applesauce Cup        Fruit Cup
Pudding Cup         Box of Grape Juice    Granola Bar

Dinner-Day 1        Dinner-Day 2          Dinner-Day 3
————        ————          ————
Corned Beef Hash    Chili with Beans      Beef Stew
Applesauce Cup      Saltine Crackers      Bread Sticks
Box of Grape Juice  Box of OJ             Box of OJ
Granola Bar         Tapioca PuddIng Cup   Fruit Cup

Pack instant mix puddings and jello!!!

Finally, “OJ” in a box. I was hoping for a “prison cell,” but if you can squeeze his big head into a little tiny box, I’ll be satisfied! “If da box don’t fit, you must acquit!” LOL!

Repack dried fruit into margarine tubs, or coffee cans.  The cellophane type packaging will let them dry out to rocks.  Warning:  Some raisins aren’t dried enough to keep well.

Cookies have a high fat content. Because of this, you’ll want to consume them first. They’ll go bad (rancid) otherwise quickly. That’s my excuse, and I’m stickin to it…

Cheese & crackers have a fairly short expiration date, or have so much anti-oxidants that I can’t stand them. But, kids love them. Again, eat them sooner, rather than later.

I’d add to this list: peanut butter, jam, Ramen noodles (or the equivalent.) Macaroni, mushroom soup mix, tuna, rice,  (If you have a 20 lb bag of rice, I guarantee that you won’t starve…)

You may want to tape to the container a ‘grab list’ to grab at the last minute.  E.g. cheese, tuna, sandwich stuff, — stuff that will keep for a few days without refrigeration but that you don’t want to keep in the kit due to long term storage problems.

EMERGENCY FUEL

CANNED HEAT (STERNO) – This can be purchased at most sporting goods stores as well as most grocery stores.  You will need to store 1 large can per person per day. Maybe more, because some idiots drink it. Seriously. Can you imagine? You really have to need a drink, to swallow Sterno!

BUDDY BURNER – Don’t set your “buddy” on fire after he passes out from drinking the Sterno. IAlthough he’ll burn for hours, t’s a felony. Select a shallow can (tuna, cat food, etc.) and insert coil of corrugated cardboard the height of the can.

Pour in some melted paraffin wax to partially fill  a can.  Allow it to harden.  Place a birthday candle in center to help light it, and make your kids crazy. They’ll spend hours trying to figure out who’s birthday it is! A lid on the can with a wire handle will help control the heat.

You won’t be loved for lighting these indoors.  They are smoky, and reek of the stink. Kinda like your Mother-In-Law. Hey, I wonder if you could get your Mother-In-Law to drink Sterno? Talk about a 2’fer!

A much better alternative is to carry a gallon of rubbing alcohol and a lidded tin  3/4 of the way full of salt.  The salt acts as a wick for the alcohol.  A catfood tin works great, and the plastic lids  that come with some of them keeps the salt from escaping.

VAGABOND STOVE – No picking on Vagabonds! They never did anything to you! Sheesh! You’re a bunch of felons, you are! So… Use a number 10 can.  Cut opening around the top of the can with a can  opener punch.  This is to provide a draft for your fire.  Then cut an opening at the bottom of the can  large enough to fit the Buddy Burner or a small fire.  Cook on top.

Use the can opener backwards on the rim, so that it stabs the side of the can instead of the face.  By  doing this at both ends you can just get the buddy burner down on the inside of the can, and have  less risk of getting cut on sharp edges.

This cut up can is also a very good charcoal burner.  WARNING: Put on non-flammable surface. It gets HOT.

FUEL CONSUMPTION AND BURNING TIME

Lighting Equipment

GAS LANTERN (Coleman, two mantle)

Burning at the rate of 5 hours per day, the following amounts of white gas would be used:  Per day – 5/12 quarts; per week – 2/12 quart per month – 3 1/8 gallons; per year 38 gallons.

But get a 1 mantle lantern instead.  It makes very little difference in the amount of light, and  requires only half the fuel.

DON’T forget to have spare mantles for it!.

CANDLES (Burning time)

3/4 diameter x 4″ tall – 2 hours and 20 minutes
7/8 diameter x 4″ tall – 5 hours
2″ square x 9″ tall – 7 hours per inch or : 4 inches – 28 hours

Use the tea candles, for “short” light needs.

Heating or Cooking Equipment

TWO PLATE GAS BURNER (Coleman)

I would get a backpacking stove instead, due to the room.  Most stoves can be run on unleaded auto fuel, if disaster strikes your neighborhood. You know, stuff like a fire, a riot, a flood, a tornado, a hurricane, or an earthquake…  The  most critical need for help after the disaster is during the first 72 hours, yet  community and government assistance will probably not be available during this period.

REMEMBER THAT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY WILL BE ON YOUR OWN!

With a minimum of expense and trouble it is possible to ease the stress of a difficult situation and  may even save you and your families life.  In any form of emergency situation, several things take place, both physical and emotional.

  1. We will all experience emotional shock and a certain amount of hysteria.
  2. The propensity of accidents increases.
  3. The greatest threat to loss of life are accidents that lead to severe bleeding or other forms of injury or trauma.

If we are not able to address these injuries as effectively as possible, this will greatly increase our  own stress and could virtually debilitate some people and prevent them from acting in a sound and  rational manner.

WE must keep in mind that in the event of a severe disaster, all familiar public services, including  medical, will be immediately over-taxed and as a result, will be basically ineffectual to you as an  individual, particularly during the first 72 hours.

Assistance Organizations such as the Red Cross, Hospitals, the Military, National Guard, etc., require a  certain amount of response time no matter what you’re seeing on TV. Believe me when I tell you that they are looking to you to take care of yourself and your family completely for a period of a few hours up to 72 hours.  It takes approximately 72 hours until their operations  are even close to being in full service.

First Aid Kit

In any emergency a family member or you yourself may be cut, burned or suffer other injuries. If you have these basic supplies you are better prepared to help your loved ones when they are hurt. Remember, many injuries are not life threatening and do not require immediate medical attention. Knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency. Consider taking a first aid class, but simply having the following things can help you stop bleeding, prevent infection and assist in decontamination.

Things you should have:

* Two pairs of Latex, or other sterile gloves (if you are allergic to Latex).
* Sterile dressings to stop bleeding.
* Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect.
* Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
* Burn ointment to prevent infection.
* Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes.
* Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant.
* Thermometer (Read more: Biological Threat)
* Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers.
* Prescribed medical supplies like glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies.

Things it may be good to have:

* Cell Phone
* Scissors
* Tweezers
* Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant

Non-prescription drugs:

* Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
* Anti-diarrhea medication
* Antacid (for upset stomach)
* Laxative

HOW TO PACK IT… HOW TO STORE IT

It is important that you take a comprehensive survey of your own family units needs and insure that  you have included any special items that are unique to you.  Your needs could be very much  different than the suggested lists, only you can decide what you and your families needs are based on your resources and experiences.

Once you have established and gathered together what you feel are necessary requirements for both  an Emergency Preparedness Kit and a substantial First Aid Kit; you will need a container that these  items will go in.

1-  Fishing Tackle Boxes
2-  Tool Boxes
3-  Sweater Storage Boxes
4-  Rubbermaid Tote and Go

The items listed above are ideas for storing your large First Aid Kit.

These boxes need to withstand the rigors of rapid transportation. Please keep in mind that none of  the items you gather together are of any value to you if they cannot be brought to the point of need and be in useable condition and render the service that the items were intended for.

1-  Rubbermaid Tote and Store
2-  Suitcase
3-  Footlockers
4-  Plastic Garbage Cans
5-  Corrugated Cardboard Boxes

The items listed above are ideas for storing your 72 hour emergency kit.

These kits do not have to be complicated!  Rather, simple is better than complex, however, the need  of quality and durability should be one of the major criteria for any items included.

WATER STORAGE

The Civil Defense Bulletin Reads:

“Water to be stored should be drawn into containers before it is needed.  Don’t wait until an emergency happens before laying in your supply.  When an emergency occurs, it may be to late to act.  The public water service may already be interrupted or contaminated. Also, if thousands of households are trying to fill water containers at the same time, they would reduce the pressure in the street mains.  This would make things like fire fighting more difficult.  Waiting until something happens before you draw and store the water you need could cost you your home or even your life.”

Good Methods of Storing Water –

Store Bottled Water – may be stored up to six months with no detrimental effect or rotation required.

Store Water in Old Bleach Bottles –  No not rinse the Plastic Chlorox Bottles before filling with water.  You should not get ill from drinking this water as the residue left in the bottle is probably just the      right amount of chlorine to protect the water.

Purchase five gallon water containers from a camping supply store or Army Surplus store.  Keep in mind, however that you will need to transport this and possibly on foot so consider the weight involved if you choose this method.  Water weighs approximately 8 pounds per gallon.

Water Purification Methods –

Boiling-  Most water can be purified by boiling it, and it  will destroy the bacteria.  In order to  improve the taste it will be necessary to aerate it after boiling.  This is accomplished by pouring it from one container to another several times.  This should be done after the  water has been allowed  to cool.

Chlorination-  You can use any commercially available bleach solution.  It should contain 5.25% Sodium  Hypochlorite.  Add the following to a clean container in which when the water is added. It can be thoroughly mixed by stirring or shaking.

4 drops per gallon
20 drops = 1/4 tsp or
enough to purify 5 gallons.

After adding the proper dosage and stirring, allow the water to stand for 30 minutes.  It should then have a distinct odor of chlorine. If this odor is not present, add another dose of the solution and let stand for another 15 minutes.

The taste or smell or chlorine in water as treated in this manner is a sign of safety. It is not harmful.  On the contrary, if you cannot detect chlorine in water you are trying to purify by this method, do not drink it.

Purification Tablets – Tablets that release iodine may be used safely to purify drinking water.  These tablets can be found at most drug stores and sporting goods stores.  The names vary but it is generically known as halazone tablets.

CHILDREN’S SURVIVAL KIT

Store these items in water proof containers.  A plastic bucket is ideal for this.  Make it accessible to your emergency kits.

Suggested Items:

Books & Magazines, Paper, Coloring Books, and Activity Books, Felt Tip Markers, Colored Pencils, Scissors, Games, Small toys, any Hard Candy, Children’s Vitamins, Pain-Reliever, Cold Remedies, Band Aids, and First-Aid Cream, String, Clothespins, Feathers, Straws, Wooden Blocks, and don’t forget your marbles!

WATER STORAGE YOU DON’T NORMALLY THINK ABOUT!

Remember that you can turn off your hot water heater, and drain water out of the drain connection.  Also, your toilet tank contains 5 gallons of good clean water. (If you don’t poison it with a toilet cleaner tablet)

Be Careful About Rain Water!

2 liter pop bottles are also a good way to store water, and don’t
require a cup to drink it.

PAPER CUPS, PLATES, BOWLS and DISPOSABLE UTENSILS are GOOD! No washing, and easily disposed of. This will also cut down on contamination issues.

SOAP – Liquid soap (soft soap or pump ivory) works best when water supplies are limited.

I’d use dish detergent for this.  Rinses easier.

FIRST AID KIT – It is assumed that major medical needs will be taken care of by community resources.  The community has a plan which will deploy paramedics, fire departments, police, And other medical personnel as needed to areas where major injuries have occurred.

NOT A GOOD ASSUMPTION.  Most communities don’t have a “realistic” plan, and even those that do are so badly overloaded that you may easily die before getting medical attention, even if you are at the hospital.

The purpose, therefore, of the items included in the family First Aid Kit is to treat minor injuries so that they do not become a major threat to health during the first few days of an emergency.

If you are serious take a 50 hour first aid course.  And take a refresher every two years. For NEXT time. It’s too late for that now. Grab a first aid manual, if you have one, and throw it into the kit!

When this is over… again… Learn second aid.  Knowing what to do during the first 24 hours after an accident is critical!.  Get a copy of “Medicine for Mountaineers” It has a lot of stuff you don’t need (Altitude sickness…) but has instructions for using morphine, antibiotics, sulpha, various drugs.

SLEEPING BAGS and BEDROLLS – Wool blankets resist fire, they warm even when wet and they are less bulky than sleeping bags.  There must be adequate and appropriate sleeping cover for every member of the family.

Wool blankets take forever to dry, are warmer than cotton, and are expensive.  Use polyester filled sleeping bags, and get a decent stuff sack for them.  If you live in a warm climate and don’t think you need much bedding, then use acrylic blankets.  They are much warmer, wet or dry, are cheaper, and the moths find them distasteful.

An alternative is to use polyester filled quilts.

My winter sleeping bag is 8″ x 20″ stuffed in its stuff sack. It’s a LOT smaller than 2 blankets.

Keep some basic hand tools ready. An adjustable wrench is a good start. You can use it to turn off gas lines, water lines, etc…

Most gas lines have a pressure regulator at the house entrance. You’ll know when it’s time to turn it off.

Don’t forget a battery powered radio, and extra batteries. And, having a camera in your pocket isn’t such a bad idea, either! You might find something worthy of recording for history!

Obviously, this is just a “reminder.” I’ve cobbled together  as much stuff as I could find, to help us jar our memory while we get ready for the hurricane. It’s in the middle of the Gulf now, and it’s trying to figure out where to strike…

I’ve got packing and securing to do, so I’m gonna call it quits for now. There’s lots of stuff I’ve forgotten, I’m sure. So please just add them to the list, using the comments box, below.

Take care of yourselves, and anybody else you can. If you don’t have to go out, DON’T! It’s gonna be dangerous, ugly, and possibly even life-threatening…

Here We Go! G_d Bless You All, and Good Luck!

Stay Tuned…

PS Sorry about the crappy formatting. I’ll fix it later. Right now I’m trying to do eight things at the same time… Is this REALLY what Bill Gates meant, by “multi-tasking?” LOL!

(And if you’re one of those types who feel like I’ve “stolen” a part of your article [included here in my post], remember this is for a good cause, PRESERVING HUMAN LIFE. There is a very real hurricane approaching us, with very real bad intent. If you’re pissed off about “copyright issues,” take it up with my lawyers, if I live.)