Oberon's West – Vox Clamantis in Deserto. I'm an expat New Yorker trying to live the good life in Wyoming.



We have a number of decent FM stations that you can receive in the basin. I spent the late afternoon and evening listening to them while puttering around in my workshop. I took a page from Ayn Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged, and changed the frequency whenever a news broadcast came on. Much more relaxing that way. When it starts getting dark out, I switch to AM and start getting some really distant stations. It’s a fun exercise anyone can do with a simple AM/FM radio.


This Weekend


Yep, I used RKBA and gun control tags in this post to lure you in. As a Type 3 FFL holder and owner of a working homestead, I have certain keywords enabled in my blog reader. Its functionality has been all screwed up for the past 24 hours because of all you jackasses who think you have the answers. You had the same answers five years ago, and they didn’t work then, and you had the same answers 25 years ago, and they didn’t work then either. Your answers are wrong.

And with that rant done, I can now attend to the topic at hand. The weekend. You know, those two days out of seven that most people aren’t working their day job.

Go take your family someplace this weekend, and go do something with them. Be grateful that you have them. Life is short.

Here’s a suggestion: http://www.museumsusa.org/museums/

Here’s another one: https://www.doi.gov/blog/20-public-lands-explore-this-winter

Here’s yet another suggestion:


Notice how Edward had directed his armed ire against a guilty (on multiple counts) target that truly deserved it. He wasn’t a ham radio hobbyist, so I’ll give him a pass on not scrounging the useful electronic components out of the infernal device before putting a round though it. Just one word of advice: pop the vacuum seal on the picture tube before shooting at it.

Then go make a blog post about what you did this weekend.

Seriously folks. Turn your computers, tablets, televisions, and other media CONsumption off this weekend, and go do something productive with your family.

Give and Take


Escaping the Walled Garden

I have often talked about the “walled garden” and its role against personal freedom.

I have a friend who is an arch-conservative Republican type. He’s the CIO of a company in downstate New York, about as downstate as you can get before reaching New York City which those of us who are from upstate would rather see become part of New Jersey. Actually, totalitarian statist politics of the five boroughs aside, NYC is a nice place to visit, although I wouldn’t want to live there, or work there again. Even for my good friend Dan who helped me learn how to hack computers, and runs one of Manhattan’s best IT consulting firms that I had the privilege to work for. Dan, BTW is not the CIO I am talking about as he is a moderate Democrat, a CEO, and someone I can talk politics intelligently with despite our occasionally differing viewpoints. But I digress. BTW, Dan if you’re reading this give me a call the next time you’re in Jackson. There’s a few restaurants we gotta drag the wife and kids to try. Now where was I??? Oh yeah.

So my other unnamed friend from New York lives surrounded by “the enemy” a couple towns away from where the Clinton’s place is. He’s got enough money to pretty much pack up and move anywhere, and is a good enough CIO that any company in the US would hire him in a heartbeat. He often asks me about life here, and says he’s jealous that I went and made the move off the East Coast. Yet, when I tell him he too should relocate he comes up with the usual excuses as to why he won’t. I say “won’t” because from a logistical, financial, and employment standpoint he can be out here next week. Instead, he stays in a place where the next disagreement with his neighbor is likely to result in his extensive gun collection (by Eastern standards) being shown on the evening news. For whatever reason he’s decided to stay in this walled garden, a prison of his own making.

For those of you who may in a similar situation, but have that small voice in the back of your head whispering “take the red pill,” I have found a book that might help you along a bit. Of course, ultimately the decision is up to you and you alone, but sometimes a little encouragement proves to be helpful.

The Wander Society

That’s an Amazon Affiliate link, and I do make a little bit off each purchase, so if you like what you read here please help support the blog by making your Amazon purchases off the link.  Thank you!

In the meantime, here’s a little number from one of my favorite Rock and Roll bands.

How We Do Precious Metals

M.D. Creedmore recently had a blog post about precious metals (PM). This is a big “prepper” topic, with the pro/con being about 50/50 best as I can tell.

Since I moved out here, I became part of an unofficial network of folks who trade with PMs as a bit of a hobby. I say “as a hobby” because cash is still king and the value of a pre-64 quarter will still be 25 cents if you try to spend it at the supermarket. As of this morning, it would be worth $2.95 in our little network. How did I get that amount? https://www.ngccoin.com/price-guide/coin-melt-values.aspx

Most recently, a friend of mine from South of here traded me some pre-64 dimes for one of those excess ARRL Handbooks I’m selling. Back when I was doing the Sparks31 blog I always took PMs in exchange for the class, and a few students took me up on the offer. One of them a couple years back paid me in bullion which is not my favorite form of PMs to trade with, but I used it at a friend’s trading post in town to buy a REDACTED, and he later went and got cash for it at a gun show from a customer of his who is now part of our network of PM trading hobbyists. Or maybe he was just stockpiling it for TEOTWAWKI, which comes to what I want to say next…

A lot of the “con” side talks about the difficulty that PMs will run into after TEOTWAWKI with establishing value. Well, TEOTWAWKI is not here yet, and while I personally doubt it will ever come (although it did for me in 1987 with the stock market crash and end of the possibility of a nice mellow career as a COBOL programmer for IBM [lol, yeah right]), there are some of us out here who have already established barter/trade networks with PMs. We did it here, and you can do it there. And if you can’t do it there, you want want to consider that you are living in the wrong place. By doing it now with your local network, you will have established PMs as a valuable method of trade, their purchase value in relation to cash/FRNs, and educate more folks about fiat versus species currency. You just raised your level of preparedness. Funny that.

Start small. A box of my usual .45-70 ammo cost me $34 the last time I bought it. Using that web site, I know that pre-64 coinage is running about $12.50/$1. You do the math, and you find that $2.72 would be the price in pre-64 coinage.




Since pre-64 nickles are the same as post-64, I’d round it to the nearest 10 cents or take 95% copper pre-82 pennies for the balance since their melt value right now is about twice their face value.

Interested? I’ll tell you how to get involved. Talk to your like-minded friends about this, and start trading. When you have a trade table at a gun show, hamfest, rendevious, or wherever, mention you take PMs in trade for your product. Finally, if you are at a gun show in central Wyoming, you will probably find a table that has a collection of firearms, field gear, interesting books, and communications electronics on it…

Now nothing might happen for a while, and after my TEOTWAWKI in 1987 I finished writing my first survivalist book in 1990 and gave the country 6 years to collapse. It’s 22 years behind schedule, and I figure it’s probably not gonna happen any worse than it is now with President Camacho is in charge of our mediocracy. But if it does, the network is already in place, running, and working pretty well for something slapped together by a bunch of cowboys, oil field workers, and assorted marginal types. I even think there’s a writer in it too…

Working Lights

I just finished attending to the pets this evening, and being that it’s after sunset needed some lights to help me out.

Here’s what I grab for when I’m attending to chores after dark.

On top is a Black Diamond LED head lamp I’ve had for a few years. It has a large white LED, two small white LEDs, and two red LEDs. The red LEDs are for preserving night vision. The smaller LEDs provide a modicum of light to work on projects. The large LED is like a spot beam for seeing at a greater distance or for when you need more light up close. I’ve found a headlamp to be essential for working on stuff in the dark because it leaves both hands free.

The bottom light is a small no-name white LED flashlight that was part of a national park adventure kit my wife got for me a couple Christmases ago. It’s bright enough to throw a good beam out about 50 yards or so, and doesn’t eat batteries. (Both these lights use AAA size.) It’s for when you need to throw some light at a greater distance than a headlamp can offer you, and don’t need both hands free. The body is also beveled so you can lay it flat and not have it roll around on you.

I use both lights when working outside after dark. The flashlight is for general navigation and inspection, and if I need to work on something, like untangle a dog, I switch to the headlamp.

All family members possess two working light sources. LED mini-Maglites are inexpensive enough and come in pretty colors that are astheticly pleasing and hard to lose on the ground. The local sporting goods store had nice reasonably-priced headlamps with a single bright LED and a variety of body colors. So, each family member has a headlamp and a mini-Maglite in their kit. Including the 3 year old.

Bright pretty colors are important when you are trying to get daughters into day-to-day self-reliance and preparedness. Not are they more pleasing to their eyes than the “tactical” colors, buy they are also easier to locate when placed on the ground. Different colors also help resolve ownership issues, assuming they have different color preferences. At any rate, the objective here is to get them to start thinking about being prepared and self-reliant, and to equip them with useful and practical tools they will enjoy having and using such as flashlights and pocket knives. If making it look pretty helps that along, make it look pretty.

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