Monday, January 3, 2022

2022 To-Do List

Many people make New Year's resolutions that set unrealistic goals and are forgotten in a about a week. There are plenty of memes that make fun of this...


I want to avoid that but I still have plans for this year. The old saying goes something like this:

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

The margin of error for all of us is growing thin and having entered my 50s the margin for me is thinner. That means I can't just drift into 2022 and hope for the best, because if I don't make things intentional, I will find myself in December of 2022 wondering where the year went.

Here are my Not-Resolutions for 2022 by category....

Health

This is the most common "resolution" made and the one most quickly abandoned. In my case it is something I have been working on for most of the second half of last year, as I wrote about here: A Lean, Mean Blogging Machine. I am not looking to start something new but rather to continue what I am already doing. 

Based on a few factors, the weight loss and improved physical conditioning has been going great. I am conservatively estimating that I am down over 40 pounds and likely more than that. The jeans I was wearing when I started losing weight went on the "too big" pile and the jeans the next size down followed quickly. The ones I am wearing now are 4" smaller in the waist than where I started and are falling off me a bit already. People have said things like "You look like a completely different person" so I guess the weight loss is working. 

So what now? The challenge is to keep it up, maintaining the diet and exercise but adding in weights to the training regimen. I also have been to the family doc and pretty much all of my vitals look great so that is another good sign and indicates that I started getting back into shape before I did too much permanent damage. Going to the eye doc in a week or so, my current glasses that I only wear when driving, are beat to shit, like held together on one side with electrical tape and they are at least a decade old, probably more, so I need new ones. 

Along with physical health comes mental health and keeping the mind sharp and the horizons broad. In 2021 I read more than I have in a long time, mostly keeping track via Goodreads and it was a good year for me...

47 books is a lot and sure lots of them were less than challenging, including some Jack Reacher books which are the literary equivalent of tapioca, but some deeper works as well. I am of the opinion that any sort of reading is good but of course more difficult works make you work your brain harder. Thanks to the magic of torrents I have more books on hand than my local library growing up so there is plenty of material for 2022. There are files out there with thousands of ebooks, the biggest challenge is sorting out which ones I will actually read.

The flip side of pure mental health is spiritual health and having left organized religion behind I plan on exploring what it means to have a healthy spiritual life without the comfortable framework of a religious system. Expect more writing about that.

Comms

I really, really need to a) figure out stuff like HAM/shortwave radio and b) get a decent set-up. I have some Baofeng handhelds but I need something with more oomph. This is something I anticipate will become a very real need, very soon, as throttling and censoring the internet will become more common-place in the name of "public health". It is not coincidental that the same people who line up in favor of vaxx mandates and quashing debate about Covid are also reliably leftist on virtually every other issue and they have almost all of the cards when it comes to deciding what we hear about.

Anyone reading that is a ham radio guy, let me know. For someone who knows nothing about amateur radio, it can be incredibly daunting to get started. My goal is to get my license and a set-up that is not going to bankrupt me but be robust enough to do what I need and allow me to expand as I figure it out. 

It is going to be simultaneously terribly important to be able to share non-approved information in the years to come and also much, much harder to do so. Social media has been great in some respects but in many others it has created a dangerous situation where most of our communication has been throttled down into a few channels that are easily choked off. That is why sharing is caring, spread posts from bloggers far and wide where you can.

Real Life Relationships

The other side of that is that having lots of Interwebz frens and frens on teh hamz is swell but when SHTF having frens who live 800 miles away that I have never met IRL isn't all that useful. I love having the connections online but as a somewhat reclusive person in the real world, I need to expand that circle of friends and mutual assistance contacts.  

So somehow I need to overcome my aversion to meeting new people in social settings and get out there. We have a good start locally on contacts but I would like to expand that base and start to get a feel for where some of our casual acquaintances stand on some of The Big Issues. 

Training

Something that is embarrassing that I freely admit, and more than suspect is the case with most of /ourguys/ is that I spend too much time buying stuff and not enough time practicing with that stuff. I have always been more of a planner than a doer. Planning is good and necessary of course but without practical training it won't be as useful. 

I really should quantify this somehow so I can measure whether I am keeping up or not, I guess I will have to work on that. Whatever it looks like, I need to put more rounds downrange in 2022. The price of ammo is what it is and that can't keep being an excuse.

Blogging

More and more betterer is my motto in 2022.

That is what I have planned, what are you doing in 2022 to get ready for TEOTWAWKI?


22 comments:

  1. Re radio & comms, I'd be glad to help. I do amateur and unlicensed radio, would be glad to give you some info. You can go a long ways with some ham radio study guides, and other things.
    Drop me a line at ppPhP09 at protonmail

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  2. Short version of recommendations re stuff you can do that should help you make progress w/comms:

    1) Get the ARRL Technician class study guide.
    https://www.arrl.org/shop/Ham-Radio-License-Manual/
    (You can also get it on Amazon and other places)

    There are other guides including free ones, this $30 or so guide is worth the $ if you are starting from not much background. It explains everything pretty well and includes soup-to-nuts everything you need to learn the material, and to find and take and pass the FCC licensing exam.

    2) There's a free guide that is worth reading also, but I would read it after you do the ARRL guide. This free no-nonsense guide is more like an outline than a textbook like the ARRL guide.
    https://www.kb6nu.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/2018-no-nonsense-tech-study-guide-v1-1.pdf

    3) Check NC Scout/Brushbeater.org for articles and material re radio.
    His RTO class covers a lot of good, practical material that applies whether or not you're into amateur radio.

    ideally, with 1) through 3) you can learn and practice "practical radio" which includes amateur stuff but also non-licensed stuff. "Practical radio" might be a little analogous to practical shooting compared to square range shooting. The unlicensed stuff (e.g. FRS) is helpful if you're going to be talking with folks who aren't licensed or who you don't have time to train more thoroughly in radio.

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  3. Solid, reasonable goals Arthur. I have several of the same ones. Just went back to the gym today for the first time since late November - lost a little ground but still better off than I was at the start of my fitness journey back in Nov '19! The other big one for me is to spend time on organizing my preps and tools. Got lots of good, important stuff should the SHTF, but finding what I need, when I need it? That's a whole different story... I too also need to get to the range for a much needed refresher. It's been so long it's embarrassing and I picked up a 10/22 and a .308 bolt during the "plague" that need optics mounted and sighted in. My to-do list is a mile long!

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    1. I hear that, my organization is sorely lacking as well.

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  4. ARTHUR: if i could suggest a series of books by NEALE DONALD WALSCH. very thought provoking & a very different take on religion per se.kinda wonder if this comment will get thru. love your take & thoughts on our state of affairs. CHEERS DAN

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    1. I'll check it out, I am pretty open to lots of stuff right now.

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  5. Wow, your health regime is going very well. Your are definitely doing it right. I can't seem to lose 40 pounds all at once - I 'yo-yo', losing some, gaining back some. I lose about half your amount but net lose about 2 -3 pounds. I know - PATHETIC!

    For firearm training, consider an air rifle. I know - not a powder burner, but can be fired in the backyard (especially if spring powered sub sonic power level). Fired 20 times a day, you get a lot of practice for not so much cost.

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    1. I was thinking I need to do some work with my .22 rifles, that isn't near as cheap as it was but still about 20% the cost of an AR round. The key is more mental than physical, I still slip up and start to eat junk once in a while so the best thing is to not have it around. You just get into a different mindset about food.

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  6. Congrats on that drop of weight, I did similar but have been sliding here at the holidays. 47 books, huh? Nerd. Watch your choice of frames with those glasses and don't get the .Mil birth control option or I will be imagining you with a pocket protector, mechanical pencil and slide rule.:) I have so much on the table for Armageddon-22 it's affecting muh autisms at an alarming rate. You have inspired me (as did anon above) to delve a bit into the radio/comm. aspect again. As much as I'd like to get out and socialize to make end of the whirled friends, the last time I tried that I found myself thinking ' there's no way I'm surviving with this lot.':) This might be the year of surprises though. I'll be doubling down on the veggie/herb/edible flower garden, scribbling death poems and honing my primitive skills for future use. 4h

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    1. I might check into Lasik, I haven't had much movement in my script for a long time. I just want to make sure I can both see to drive while not screwing up my ability to shoot.

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  7. My goals for the new years to get ready for Spicy Times. Stay Perfect.

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    1. Say hello to the new year, same as the old year.

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  8. The Silicon Graybeard blog has a lot of good information relating to amateur radio, including a lot of technical resources. It is at thesilicongraybeard dot blogspot dot com. Lots of space news related info also.

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  9. I would echo the recommendation to get yourself some study guides from ARRL. If you're up for it, I recommend going for a General tier license. To be honest I think that HF is where it's at as far as ham radio goes, most people in your local area are not trained and are gonna be using a lot of FRS/GMRS band handhelds. Which suck, but are better than nothing. While I prefer dedicated ham band radios over Baofengs, the nicer ham radios just do ham and can't be programmed for FRS/GMRS. They might be able to receive FRS/GMRS but they're locked out of transmitting on it. So while I do like my fancy ham transcievers, for preparedness I have a small stockpile of Baofengs for handing out to people. I bought a bunch of BF-888s radios as they are even cheaper than UV-5Rs and just have a simple knob, no complicated keypad or display to confuse grug-brains.

    Ham radio is a useful skill to have, but the bands are exclusive to use by hams and therefore most people in your local area won't be using them. It's a rewarding hobby though, and it can serve a purpose when you need to do longer range comms than what crapsack walkie talkies are capable of.

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  10. As a natural born recluse, it was sometimes disappointing to me to realize that long term preparedness will depend on community as you have described above. No one can be a complete homesteader on their own, even if you could work 24/7/365; it's just not possible. One man cannot garden his own food reliably, but a network of gardeners can. I'm not anti-social, just naturally asocial, so networking and developing circles of the like minded near me is something I have to work at. Barter will become an essential life skill, as will sharing information as our interwebs go wonky or even dark in times to come.
    I'm a few years ahead of you, and had been a lifelong runner since high school. Had to give that up due to orthopedic issues, culminating in spending an hour in a cat scanner getting a CT guided steroid injection in my left sacroiliac joint. When my doc told me that running was no longer in my best interest, it was a very hard thing to hear. What I discovered was that at my age, it is far more important to maintain muscle mass and strength than is distance endurance. To that end I cannot recommend too highly a couple of books that have changed my life:
    The Barbell Prescription: Strength Training for Life After 40 by Dr. Jonathan Sullivan. It's the What and the Why. The How is coach Mark Rippetoe: Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training.
    I am convinced that a couple years into lifting, I have completely rehabbed my knees, hips, and my back is now stronger than it ever has been as a runner. Squats, deadlifts, and presses are all I need. I don't do bench presses as I don't have a safety cage at home, just a squat rack to hold the bar. I hate commercial gyms with a passion, and won't set foot in one. It is enormously satisfying to stand at the top of a deadlift with a couple hundred pounds in my hands. Free weights are key, no machines because the effort of maintaining proper form and balance works your entire body all at once.

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    1. Thanks for that, I am downloading both of those books right now. I need to relearn how to lift, I did a lot when I was younger and in sports but that isn't going to work now.

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  11. I believe I did notice several new folks at the gym yesterday morning. Good for them!

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  12. Re the Comms or radio thing.
    Some general ideas about equipment and gear, a little bit which has been discussed in the comments above.
    1- unlicensed radios such as FRS/GMRS (yes GMRS is licensed but you know what I mean), CB etc.
    Blister pack radios like you get at a dept or sports store are fine to have a few on hand, get maybe 1/2 mile range typically. (The package says 20 miles, a couple of astronauts in outer space might get that but less under normal conditions). No training or anything needed, easy to use, gets you some radio right now.
    You can usually use the Baofeng UV5R for this even though you're not supposed to. The Baofeng can be used as the same kind of radio on those bands usually, but is much more capable and flexible.

    2) if you get the FCC Technician class amateur license, it would make sense to get a dual band (VHF/UHF) mobile radio. "Mobile" meaning more powerful than a hand-talkie (HT) like the Boafeng UV5R. Generally around 50 watts of transmit power. It's still line of sight but with a larger (say 4-6') antenna which is at some reasonable elevation like 10-30 feet off the ground, that extra power will translate into greater distance. Potentially 10-20 miles especially if you're on a hilltop.
    You need the amateur license to be able to use this stuff but it's a lot of capability for not much investment.

    3) you can get a shortwave radio to listen on right now, no license needed to listen. A shortwave reciever (doesn't transmit just listens) isn't expensive and opens up a lot of outside info sources like foreign broadcasts etc.

    One good general radio resource is Steven Harris' radio1234.com
    He talks about every kind of radio, licensed and unlicensed and even has links to reasonable ones you can buy if you want to fill that niche.

    If you really get into the amateur stuff, as they explain in the study guide for the Technician class license, if you get the next license up known as General class, then you can transmit on shortwave/HF frequencies and that's what gives you the potential to talk across hundreds and thousands of miles. For most folks it's a bigger investment of time to learn that material but the license test is still just $15 just like the Technician license. It may be more than you want to commit to right away, but I'd leave it open as a future option once you take care of the low-hanging radio fruit.

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  13. Correction re Steven Harris' site, the correct URL is http://radios1234.com/

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