Reviews Mar. 2, 2011

Delicious Dehydrated Apples

The apples turned out looking very appetizing, and the taste is just as good as the appearance.  I got about 8 or 9 zip lock baggies full.  Most will become part of my lunches at work, but I promised my niece I'd bring her some to try.  I'll keep with the small batches for now, but next fall when we go apple picking up near Charlottesville, I'll get enough to keep the Excalibur running for a week or so, and actually put away enough apples to make it worthwhile.  Here's what they ended up looking like:

These Are My Magic Sho-oes

Unlike Mr. Gump's, my new shoes are not necessarily meant for fast running, but are for running off-road.  Team If It Hits The Fan is competing in the Rugged Maniac 5K adventure race in May, and we're getting ready.  The regular running shoes aren't cutting it on the off-road trails.  I got the Saucony Progrid Xodus 2 today.
These things are not attractive, but they have an aggressive tread, Vibram soles, and are pretty comfortable.  They are a little flashy for my taste, but are the most subdued that I could find.  The laces are easy to adjust, and so far they seem to stay tied just fine.  I just wore them out to dinner tonight, I'll give them their first off-road test this weekend.

My polypropylene socks are a little too think.  I need to find some socks that are thinner, durable, and will keep my feet healthy.  My pals Pat and Robby are marathon runners, so I'll ask them for their advice.  Any of you who have ideas, please leave me a comment with your sock suggestions.

TV Shows

There are two shows out right now that really like.  Top Shot on History and Sons of Guns on Discovery. 

Top Shot is in its second season and pits great shooters from all disciplines in team and head to head shootouts to determine the winner of $100,000 and the title of Top Shot.  Weapons so far this season have included 1911 .45's, Thompson sub-machineguns, Official Police revolvers, and compound bows. 

Sons of Guns follows the Red Jacket shop in Baton Rouge.  They design and build machine guns, suppressors, and historical arms.  Some shows focus on building a unique gun for profit, others on doing it for "good" (not that profit isn't good!).  In one they rebuilt a WWII flamethrower for the last surviving Marine Medal of Honor recipient from Iwo Jima.  Tonight they had a young Marine who lost the use of his right arm in the current war, and with it, lost the ability to hunt.  They built him an ATV with a pintle-mounted semi-auto 12 gauge shotgun that he could shoot with one hand and regain the sport he loves.

Both of these shows really take the positive aspects of gun ownership to the general public.  They show that private citizens can be trusted with even the most exotic of weaponry.  I salute Discovery and History for bringing these shows in, and hope that the trend continues with other shows and channels.

Another New Sponsor!

I'd like to extend a big welcome to our newest sponsor, Essential Packs!  Essential Packs has a wide variety of unique survival and preparedness gear... from emergency kits especially for dogs and cats to an 8,000 KW generator, they have it.  They have emergency kits for home, school, the office and when traveling, and a selection of CERT gear too.  They also offer 14 varieties of genuine Wegner Swiss Army Knives.

They are going to have me review some of their products, so stay tuned for that.

Please visit their website and when you make a purchase, let them know you heard about them at If It Hits The Fan!


  1. I had to see what was in the Essential Packs pet preparedness kits, since I have 5 cats. My first thought was, "Good thing they have a bloodstopper in there, since you'll need one for the cat scratches you'll get when you try to put that leash on your cat!"

    And no litter for an emergency litter box? Most cats won't use an unfamiliar litter medium (if they're used to clay litter, they most likely won't use sand or garden dirt if they're away from home -- they'll use your boots or something else that smells familiar to them!). I honestly don't think they have half a clue about a cat's needs.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Jeanne!

    One thing to keep in mind about any "turn key" preparedness kit, whether for pets, your car, or your family's 72 hour kit, is that none of them will be right for everyone. Each will need some customizing for your individual needs.

    If I had this one for our cat, I'd include a bag of what she normally uses. If I don't need it for her, it can come in hand for extra traction in bad weather. I'd imagine they did not include litter for that very reason.

    I got a chuckle out of your thoughts on the leash.

    I'll pass on your comments to the folks at Emergency Packs.


  3. I agree... it seems like it would be a challange to get a leash on a cat!

    Like with any emergency kit, you may not need or use all of the items in the kit. But its better to have the items just in case. I spend a lot of times with these kits and it took me a while to figure out how some of the items would be used. In talking to other folks in the field, I started to appreciate how intially a seemingly inimportant item, can make a real difference in an emergency.

    Consider that cats and dogs get really freaked out in disaster situations. Many pets run away, get confused, and sometimes don't return. FEMA recommends keeping pets confined (and seperated from one another). Depending on the severity of the disaster, a leash might be the best option. Although not necessarily ideal, its better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  4. Thanks for the additional info, James!


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