Category Archives: Technology

LinkedIn is Stupid

I’ll probably end up careening off course and trashing the rest of social media but my goal here is to tell you how fucking stupid LinkedIn is.

So a million years ago when I graduated college I made a LinkedIn account because “well gee whiz it’s what everyone’s doing and apparently you HAVE to have one to get a job so duurrrrrr” And here I am a million years later and I’ve updated and maintained it and filled in all those stupid little fields, and have like 18,000 contacts or connections or whatever the fuck it’s called and honestly I’ve never gained anything from it.

Yeah I know what you’re thinking. You have a LinkedIn account and you don’t want to face the fact it’s never helped improve your life or your career and then of course admit you’ve wasted dozens of hours of your life maintaining it, so rather than nodding your head in agreement you’re probably doubling down on its usefulness and hate me for saying it’s shit.

But shit is shit no matter how useful everyone says it is. LinkedIn is about as useful as Drano is for your home’s plumbing or as useful as Emergen-C is for your immune system.  Meaning it’s not. Or maybe at the very best sorta maaaaarginally useful.

But really though, think about it. If you’re like me you also have your LinkedIn profile. You have a couple hundred connections, 90% of whom you have no fucking idea who they are. You probably get your weekly LinkedIn email notifications that some random ass person you’ve never met wants to connect with you, and maybe you accept their invite… but only if they’re hot.

LinkedIn Profil Busty Girl
Make sure your LinkedIn profile really shows off your best… eh hem…. qualities.

Every so often out of the blue one of your friends +1’s on of your abilities/skills/qualifications and then you think “Oh cool!” and then you begrudgingly reciprocate and +1 one of their skills out of guilt, whether or not they actually do know how to use Microsoft Excel.

No matter your occupation, you probably get the occasional sales pitch for a ‘Sales Leads Generating Opportunity’ for only the most highly qualified professionals in your market which naturally got blasted to a quarter of a million other people.

And after all these years of updating your resume, and sharing links to articles you’ve never read but sounded important, you realize LinkedIn has never actually got you a job. It’s probably never even got you an interview. Or a referral.

Ask your friends if they’ve ever been hired exclusively from LinkedIn. You’ll hear a resounding no. How something so useless is so prevalent is beyond me. Kind of like degrees in psychology or communications.

The fact is LinkedIn sucks because it like so many other social networking services tries to replace something that is irreplaceable: Face to face human interaction. Maybe because I’ve always had so much success getting a job I never understood the difficulties people faced with it. I’ve never applied for a job and not been offered the position. No shit. The key to getting hired isn’t in LinkedIn. It’s not even your resume. No one is going to hire your resume. No one is hiring your LinkedIn profile. They’re hiring YOU. If your resume rocks, and your LinkedIn profile is stellar but you kinda suck, you’re not getting hired.

People are hired in bars. People are hired on the golf course and the putting green. People are hired at backyard barbeques. People are hired in the waiting room of restaurants. People are hired in hotel lobbies. People are hired at the mall. People are hired on ski lifts. People are hired in elevators. People are hired at birthday parties and bar mitzvahs. People are hired where real life social interactions take place. Not online. Not on your phone. Not behind some screen.

So if you want to get a job, if you want to network, if you want leads, go out and get them. Just don’t expect to get them online because LinkedIn sucks. And no, I don’t want to join your e-marketing group.

Stop Using Uber

Uber busted on to the scene a couple years ago and it has made a ton of waves and headlines since. The taxi cab replacing service has garnered tons of popularity and enthusiastic response. However what you don’t know can hurt you, and my guess is that in a few short years some of the popularity surrounding Uber will turn into notoriety.

The truth is, that as of right now, the current Uber model really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, not only might Uber simply not be as financially lucrative as many other articles have bemoaned, Uber might actually ended up royally fucking you over.

Most of the anti-Uber stuff I have read either deals with things like politics, whether Uber is profitable for drivers or not (the answer is no, it’s not), and then the occasional scare blog that you’ll get raped by your Uber driver. The authors of the pieces don’t do themselves any favors because the pieces are so narrowly focused on one minor issue that they downplay the real urgency related to Uber, it’s drivers and their passengers.

And while these might be real issues related to Uber, they aren’t central to the reason you should stop using it. Each driver will wrongly or rightly decide to what extend if at all Uber/Lyft and similar services are profitable for them, and if it’s worth doing. And the rape/murder kidnapping stories are to avoiding Uber, as shark attacks are to avoiding surfing – statistically ignorable.

Trouble with the Law

The real dangers with Uber are legal and liability related. Insurance isn’t sexy and it certainly won’t make any headlines but insurance – or the lack thereof – is the single greatest reason for not using Uber, especially as a driver.

(I am a licensed and very knowledgeable insurance agent, so trust that this isn’t just hearsay coming out of my ass. This is some real advice you can take to the bank.)

Vehicle owners are required by law to have insurance on every registered vehicle. Given that all reputable car insurance companies exclude livery service from their personal auto products, this effectively means that if you are an Uber driver, and you have a regular ol’ car insurance policy, you are driving without insurance, and you are breaking the law.

 

Don’t believe me? Ask your agent for a copy of your auto application. I know, I know. You flipped right to the last page, signed your name, and didn’t read a single line. But if you had, you’d have notice the part of the contract stating you decline coverage for livery, delivery, and other commercial use.

Ways this can screw you:

  • Having your driver’s license suspended
  • Having your vehicle registration suspended
  • Receiving a traffic ticket for a no insurance violation, in addition to the ticket you got for the original reason you were pulled over
  • Meeting SR-22 requirements (if you are required to have one, if for example you are required to because of a DUI)
  • Huge fines
  • Increased future insurance premiums

Insurance and Financial Liability

All the other stuff above is really just annoyances and inconveniences. Granted some of those things can cost you a couple hundred dollars, but ultimately they’ll waste dozens of hours of your time. I suppose time is money though.

But, back on track, Uber driving is a great way to screw yourself financially. Kids, it’s time to review insurance 101. In the United States owners of vehicles are financially responsible and liable for any damage or bodily injury resulting from the use of said vehicles.

What this means is that if you get into an accident and damage another party’s car or property, you are responsible for all costs of repairing / replacing whatever it is you messed up.

Now comes the real juicy stuff. What if in addition to damaging property you ended up injuring someone, or actually hospitalizing someone? Or dare I say it, you paralyze or kill someone?

Either way, if you don’t have insurance, you are screwed. And if you are driving Uber at the time the accident happens, I repeat again, you are screwed.

Uber has gained some negative attention in the past couple years for not covering accidents their drivers get into. The rationale was always that you were a private contractor, not an employee, and while Uber has applied that thinking to their stance on employee benefits, they’ve also applied it to their stance on auto insurance. You are responsible for your own insurance, not Uber. So while many rumors abound that Uber does over you, if that was the case you’d have to ask yourself why they mandate you have coverage of your own.

Extra Notes

Commercial Insurance

The only guaranteed way to have proper liability coverage would be to take out a commercial auto policy that explicitly includes coverage for livery services. Such policies are more expensive and might be with “surplus” carriers.

Financed Cars

If your car is being leased or financed for personal use (pleasure, commute, etc) and you use it for Uber or Lyft, you may actually be in violation of your lease/loan agreement since commercial usage is strictly prohibited. If you do your due diligence and get a commercial auto policy and submit it to your finance company, they’ll surely spot it, and take action against you. So while you might spare your left foot, you may inadvertently end up shooting your right foot.

By The Books

Proper licensing and decals are also important. Certain areas mandate that taxi cabs be registered and have all the proper decals. Uber is a taxi by any other name, like it or not. And if you are performing taxi services without getting all the necessary permits/licenses/registration in place, again, you may be breaking the law and subject to fines.

Passenger Risk

Lastly, you shouldn’t even use Uber as a passenger. Would you knowingly use a roller coaster if you knew the amusement park carried no liability insurance? If not, why would you get in someones car if you knew they did not have auto insurance? Considering 32,000 people in the U.S. die in car crashes each year, and only 3 die on roller coasters in the same amount of time, if you could justify not getting on an uninsured roller coaster, not getting in an uninsured car is should be a no-brainer.

In Summary

Uber drivers not getting paid enough or the prospect that your next passenger might be an axe murderer are certainly issues worth discussing in a different post. However the main reasons for not participating as an Uber driver is because you can get royally screwed in the event of an accident. Life won’t be very fun for you once the injured party lawyers up, and you’re staring down the barrel of a lawsuit with no insurance company standing behind you. Add to this that when the DMV finds out, they’ll also take away your license and your car, you’ll be traveling up shits creek, and it won’t be in an Uber.

Reading Material

http://fortune.com/2015/10/13/uber-crash-insurance/

https://www.policygenius.com/blog/insurance-secret-uber-doesnt-want-know/

http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2015/02/09/uh-ohuber-has-some-coverage-issues

Generation Complication: Play

Work is important, and so is play. Often times it feels like even leisure activities manage to become a new source of stress and complexity.

In this post I’m not referring to large scale or important events like traveling overseas, weddings, graduations, funerals, and so on. These all do require massive planning, coordination, reservations, and cost sharing.

Don’t Make Fun Events Stressful

In short, don’t make otherwise fun events, stressful ones.

Growing up, my parents would make me and my siblings all wear matching outfits and pose for our annual Christmas photo. There was always a rush to get dressed, a rush to the photographer, a lot of yelling, a lot of tension, a lot of my sister and me getting grounded for – gasp – not having authentic smiles.

Then stress would manage to sneak itself into the holidays themselves. Every year without fail my siblings and I were rushed to open our parents presents, then immediately whisked off to Grandma 1’s house, and then plucked out and flung over to Grandma 2. There was never any breathing room and the experience sucked the life out of the fun.

Christmas-de-stress

Traffic accidents, funerals, IRS audits, cancer in the family, and Piers Morgan evoke negative emotions, and rightfully so. But not everything needs to be a stress fest.

Your family’s annual Christmas photos should not be stressful. Christmas and Thanksgiving should not be stressful. A trip to Disneyland should not be stressful. A vacation should not be stressful. Camping, road trips, beach trips, going to the movies, parties and casual get-togethers should not be stressful.

If you’re stressing out over something that’s supposed to be fun, you’re doing it wrong.

Don’t Over Plan

I’ve witnessed people of all walks turn leisure activities into stressful activities, and simple days at the beach into overcomplicated logistical nightmares.

As a kid in the 90’s I didn’t have a cell phone or social media account, but miraculously I was somehow able to hang out with my friends after school, on weekends, and during the holiday breaks between semesters.

My mom did have a cell phone, but not everyone did. And before texting was popular and Facebook was even a whisper, somehow her and all her friends and relatives managed to coordinate parties just fine, without the endless game of ping pong that we now call planning a party.

Please don't....
Please don’t….

These days, planning a party or social outing requires no less than 87 text messages, satellite imagery, and four carrier pigeons. Where are we meeting? Can we move it back? Whose car are we taking? Who’s driving? Who’s coming? Where are you parking? What are you bringing?

Having fun yet? Remember, keep it simple, stupid.

You Only Need One Chief

Democracy sucks sometimes, especially when it comes to festivities. A lot of people like to weigh in or change something about an event for no other reason than they get to feel like they were in control. If you schedule something for Saturday they’ll ask to move it to Sunday. You schedule it for 2pm, they’ll insist it get pushed to 4. You plan on everyone meeting at your house, they want to get picked up. You already have a static plan in place, but they insisting on altering it in some way. There are always going to be people who attempt to swim against the tide. Don’t let them steer you off course.

I remember the good old days when planning went like this “This is the time. This is the place. We’ll find out who’s coming when we get there. I’m leaving my place at 11 if you want to hitch a ride. Hope to see you Saturday! Oh, and bring some friends!”

When hosting, be the chief..
When hosting, be the chief..

Don’t be uncompromising where it’s easy and convenient. 15 minutes here or there won’t kill you. But once the original planner is feeling like this is no longer what they wanted to do, it’s gone too far. Pick one chief to lead all the Indians.

Hosting Simply

When it comes to hosting a party, especially at home, here’s a simple tip. More is better. Expecting 10 people? Prepare for 20. People may bring a friend, or at the very least an empty stomach. My mom and dad are notorious for running out of red wine at their house parties and I always get stuck on a liquor run. You’d figure after all these years they’d learn we have a family of alcoholics and simply double down in the wine department.

When you throw a party don’t be conservative. Expect to throw down some mullah and don’t expect to make it back. You wanna be the host with the most? It’ll cost ya.

Costco
When hosting events, Costco is your best friend.

If someone’s friend or significant other decides to tag along, it shouldn’t throw a major wrench into your perfectly planned watermelon-slices-to-people-ratio.

Besides, if you over purchase anything, there’s no reason you can’t eat hotdogs, artichoke dip, and red wine for the next two weeks. The meal of champions!

Attending Simply

Bringing a little something to take the pressure off the host is always appreciated. Of course what you bring depends on the nature of the party, and if you’re sticking around or simply poking your head in for a quick visit to show face.

Attend Simply
Someone invite this guy to the party!

Whatever it is you bring, make sure it fits the party.  Go with the flow and bring something that would please the crowd. If you aren’t sure just call ahead of time and ask what the host is running low on. For summer parties you can never go wrong with beer, ice, and chips.

Don’t be RSVP Hell-bent

This isn’t me saying that people should never expect others to RSVP. Sometimes there is a place for it, sometimes it really doesn’t matter, so pick your battles.

In my humble opinion, people are too RSVP oriented nowadays. This means that with any social gathering, regardless of the cost, scheduling involved, nature, formality, or urgency of the event, they fully expect everyone to affirmatively say “Yes, I am going.” Or “No, I am not going”. The days of “Hey we’re throwing a party, hope you can make it!” seem to be long gone.

It used to be this is what we’re doing, when we’re doing it, and whoever shows up shows up. These days you have some party planner up your ass and around the corner “Are you coming? Well are you?! LMK! Did you RSVP? Did you get my evite?! LMK ASAP!” As if your attendance will make or break the plan.

If someone can’t make it or doesn’t show up, miss them, but don’t harass them. There will always be a next time, and it’s not worth souring friendships over party attendance.

Thank you, Dos Equis man!
Thank you, Dos Equis man!

Fun with Lawnmowers

I’ve been undergoing some major home improvements for the last year and a huge part of that includes yard and lawn work. In that time I have become overly acquainted with my lawnmower. No, I haven’t lost a fight with my lawnmower. At least not in the sense that I’m missing any fingers.

I won’t make this post an essay, but here are a few pointers, things I’ve learned, and pitfalls to avoid if you find yourself taking on homeowner responsibilities.

Don’t Pour Too Much Oil

If you pour too much oil into your car, it’ll simply overflow and leave a nice black puddle on your drive way and you’ll immediately know you messed up. Lawnmowers in all their wisdom were not designed this way. With a 2-stroke lawnmower it is possible to pour in too much oil and not know it.

What will happen is your lawn mower will run just fine, but spit out a huge cloud of black smoke until it burns through all the excess oil. Then my – er, your annoying neighbors will call the fire department.

700-342331

Check your manual for the right amount of oil to use. If your borrowing a friends mower like I was, start with about 6 oz and continue to replace the oil as you use it up.

But if you do over pour…

If you over pour, the obvious solution is to drain out the excess oil. Easier said that done. Most lawnmowers’ oil pans do not have drain plugs on the bottom. do not turn the lawnmower upside down. This will get oil in components of the engine or carburetor and the mower will not run properly if it runs at all.

Instead, siphon the oil out. Elevate the lawnmower. If you don’t have a table or work bench, just use a few paint cans or two tool boxes like I did.

Old gasoline in the tank

If you mow your lawn frequently and cycle through gasoline on a regular basis then you can probably skip this section.

In my case, I ripped out all my old grass, did some home renovation, and about a year later started a new lawn, so I didn’t need to mow for a while. In that time the gasoline leftover in my lawnmower’s tank started to degrade.

When I attempted to mow my lawn the other morning the mower would start up like a champ, run for a few sections, and then die. What the hell, indeed. Carburetor issues aside, your gas is probably old and needs to be replaced.

Luckily draining your gasoline isn’t a pain in the ass. If your mower doesn’t have an actual drain plug, it probably has an exposed gas line. Just unplug one end and drain it in to another container. This old gasoline is bad for your mower, but probably won’t hurt if you pour it into your car’s gas tank, according to Briggs and Stratton.

Old gasoline in the fuel line

Congratulations, you just drained all the stale gasoline and put in some nice, new good stuff. Pull that cord and …. Same old. Your mower starts up, roars for a second, then dies again. What’s the deal Andrew?

You still have still got stale gas in your fuel lines.

You know that little red button on the bottom of your lawn mower that’s fun to push? That’s called your primer and it manually introduces more fuel into your carburetor. You need to flush that old fuel out of your lines. Only problem is your mower won’t stay on long enough to accomplish this.

priming-button

Here’s what you need to do. As soon as you pull the cord on your mower and it starts roaring, hit the priming button every time your engine starts to sputter. This will keep the engine going. What you’re doing is forcing the gas out of your fuel line and into the engine. LISTEN. Every so often give the primer a rest, and see if the engine is able to run on its own. After 30-60 seconds, you will have burned through all the old gas in your lines, and you should be good to go.

Spark Plugs

Changing spark plugs on your lawnmower is much easier than doing it on your car, and cheaper, as most mowers only have one or two. If your mower is running but doesn’t sound too healthy or the exhaust smells horrible, you probably need to clean, re-gap, or replace your spark plugs.

Sometimes fuel deposits and oil can gunk up your spark plugs and they simply need to be cleaned so they can make a good spark.

If you examine the spark plug and it appears to be clean, make sure it’s actually sparking. Again, refer to Briggs and Stratton.

Lastly, you may simply need to re-gap your spark plugs. This happens on cars too. Check your manual for the proper ‘gappage’ as I call it. You’ll need a gap gauge to properly do this. They cost $5 at the auto shop.

Clear your lawn

Clear your lawn of anything that might get flicked up by the lawnmower, such as rocks, golf balls, Legos, etc. These things can cause some serious damage to people, pets, cars, or windows. In fact, just to be safe, might I recommend parking your car in the garage or a couple doors down for the next hour?

It also wouldn’t be very much fun if your dog got to the lawn before you did. Make sure to scour the lawn with a shovel and bucket, or you’ll find yourself in a shitty situation.

Alright, that’s it for now. Have fun and get mowin’!

Firearms Every Beginning Gun Owner Should Have

In the last couple years, the prepping, doomsday preppers, and bug-out-bags have entered the common American vernacular. Shows like Doomsday Preppers, The Colony, Walking Dead, and Falling Skies have all catapulted the ‘end of the world’ to the forefront of pop culture. Zombies make for great entertainment, and we can’t help but scream at the TV and debate how each of us would be the best survivor in the post-apocalyptic world.

Guns are by no means the solution to end all solutions in an apocalyptic world. But they are a good place to start, and a lot of people have been getting into firearms lately, especially in light of political attempts to ban and restrict them.

Short and Sweet

This list is not super long, and that’s intentional. I can give you a list of 30 guns I think are ‘totally bad ass’ but it wouldn’t help.

  1. Most people can’t afford dozens of firearms
  2. Most people don’t have the space to store dozens of firearms.
  3. Even if you do have the money and space, how many guns can you physically carry with you on foot at one time?
armory
Maybe one day…

If you’re new to firearms, looking to build your arsenal, and you’re in North America, this is a short, sweet, and practical list of firearms to start your collection with.

Criteria

Forget the spinning rims. Here is the criteria I used when deciding what made the cut.

You want a firearm that is going to be:

  1. Reliable
  2. Durable
  3. Useful
  4. Practical
  5. Accurate
  6. Easy to find replacement parts for
  7. Easy to find ammunition and magazines for

Right off the bat, this list eliminates a lot of the firearms and rounds on the market. Sorry, no Uzis, Desert Eagles, flamethrowers, or grenade launchers.

9mm Luger

Firearm Type: Pistol

9mm
I own a Sig 2022. It was around $460.

Also commonly known as 9mm Parabellum, this round is the screwdriver in your tool belt. The 9mm is not the biggest round on the block, but it will tear through most heavy clothing and drop bodies just fine, though it might take a well-aimed follow up shot or two depending on the target and distance. If stopping power has you worried, that’s what God invented hollow points for.

What full metal jacket 9mm’s lack in stopping power, they make up for in carrying capacity. 9mm’s are considerably smaller than their 40, 45, and revolver counterparts, making it easier to carry large quantities of them, whether in your ruck, or in your magazine. California regulations aside, most 9mm handguns hold anywhere from 13-18 rounds with non-extended magazines.

If you know a gun owner, you know gun owner who owns a 9mm. Yes, in public, the 9mm is the butt of all jokes, but in all seriousness it’s a must have. It’s readily available, easy for women and children to handle, accurate, easily reloadable, and lethal.

Notable 9mm Luger Firearms:
  • Sig Sauer P-Series (P226, P2022)
  • Glock 19, Glock 17
  • Springfield Hi-Power
  • Beretta 92FS / Military Beretta M9
  • Springfield XD-9

.45 ACP

Firearm Type: Pistol

45
Considered the king of pistols many. At the very least, the 1911 is the grandfather of the modern pistol.

Quit your belly aching already. All the .45 loons reading this probably had a coronary that 9mm was listed first. The .45 hasn’t been around for over a hundred years for nothing. It’s a tried and tested round that has seen combat on several continents. It is the measuring tape of your tool belt, and for many 1911 enthusiasts, the round by which all other rounds are measured.

The 9mm’s older and much bigger brother, the .45, will ruin anyone’s day. Layers of clothing won’t deter this determined round, and it’ll even fight through plywood, 2x4s, and small appliances to reach its intended target.

Not quite as common as the 9mm, the .45 is still commonplace in American households and never in short supply at the local gun store. In hollow point form one shot is all you need to make your point.

But be warned. Most .45 handguns have a naturally limited magazine capacity of 7-8 rounds, making them not much better than a revolver. You have half the lead, so make every shot count, and don’t bet on suppressive fire.

Notable .45 ACP Firearms
  • 1911 .45 ACP
  • HK45
  • Glock 21
  • Springfield XD-45
By The Way

You’ll notice I did not mention .40 SW, and numerous other rounds, like .357 Sig. .40 caliber is an in between round that brides the gap between 9mm and .45 ACP. Smaller than a .45 letting you carry more rounds, but packing more punch than a 9mm, the .40 has a cult following. The problem is that outside of law enforcement, .40 SW is not very common. Of the 50 or so gun owners I know, just two own a .40 SW, and lo and behold, they both work for the Border Patrol. In my experience, its on-shelf availability is unpredictable, it costs as much as .45, and hardly anyone owns one making magazine changeability impossible. They might be great during times of peace, but in times of OH S**T, you’re better off with a 9mm or .45 ACP.

12 Gauge

Firearm Type: Shotgun

shotgun
“Just get a shotgun!”

I don’t quote Joe Biden often (or ever), but he had a point. Just get a shotgun. I don’t mean to be sexist here, but women and kids probably shouldn’t be firing a 12 gauge without many hours of instruction. To the uninitiated, shotguns, and 12 gauges especially, have a lot of kick.

The shotgun is the electric drill of your firearms tool belt. Shotguns are very multifaceted and come in handy in a wide range of situations.

Shotguns have 3 main types of ammunition: bird shot, buck shot, and slugs. Bird shot is great for hunting, you guessed it, birds. Buck shot is great for hunting bucks. Are you catching on yet? And slugs are great for killing anything, including Orcas. Shot guns are great for hunting, close quarter combat, and shooting through walls, locks and hinges.

12 gauge is EVERYWHERE, it’s always in stock, it’s always dirt cheap, and everyone has one. If the crap hits the fan and you can’t find any at the gun store, you’ll be able to find it on the street very easily. Not to mention, shotguns themselves are incredibly inexpensive. A very good shotgun can be bought, new, for $350-$500 at Big 5, when not on sale.

Notable 12 Gauge Firearms:
  • Mossberg 500, 930 and 935
  • Benelli, various
  • Remington 1100, 11-87
  • Remington 870
  • Winchester Super X Pump
By The Way

Again, you may have noticed I did not mention 20 gauge, and other shotgun varieties. 20 gauges area hoot and half to go trap shooting with. But availability is also the Achilles heel of the non-12 gauge varieties.

 .223 / 5.56

Firearm Type: Rifle, and occasionally pistol

ar15
A must have for any everyone firearm owner.

15 years ago, owning an AR15 made you something of a celebrity amongst your gun owning friends. These days, everyone has one, or ever three, and for good reason: they work.

True, a good AR15 might run you $800 – $1,500, but their essence is in their modularity. No two AR15’s are the same, and you can customize them to fit your specific needs. The backbone of the AR15 is the ammunition it uses.

.223 Remington, also known as the 5.56 NATO, is a great round. It’s been used by the US military since the 1960’s in every military campaign we’ve been in since. It’s accurate, long range, has adequate stopping power, is astonishingly inexpensive, and it quite possibly grows on trees.

AR15s are everywhere too, meaning there are tons of replacement parts available. The AR15/.223 is a very low recoil firearm and very light weight, making it an ideal choice for women and children.

Good enough to hunt with, and cheap enough to train with, AR15’s are great for just about everything. .223 is great for hunting anything from rabbits to medium sized deer, and people. Tougher targets can be taken down by steel core armor piercing rounds, for about the same cost. For their cost, availability, accuracy, and modularity, there is no gun/caliber combination on the market that will give you a better bang for your buck than an AR15.

Notable .223 Firearms
  • AR15 based platform
  • Ruger Mini-14
  • Remington 700
By The Way

AR type rifles come in many calibers, including 9mm, .40SW,.45ACP, .22LR, .308, and dozens of specialty rounds, making it the single most modular weapons platform ever designed.

.22 LR

Firearm Type: Pistol, Revolver, Rifle

22
A .22LR is the perfect gun for introducing children to firearms.

Last, not least, but definitely the smallest, is the ever popular .22 LR (Long rifle).

Not only should every gun owner have a .22, this should probably be the first firearm you own. .22 rifles and ammunition are very inexpensive. Ammo can easily be bought in bulk. As of January 2015, a ‘brick’ of 550 rounds is about $20 at Big 5, and it’s called a brick because it can fit in your hand.

.22’s are great for firearm introduction, training, recreational shooting, and hunting small game such as rabbits, squirrels, foxes, and birds. They are very light weight, have virtually no recoil, and therefore make great firearms for women and children. The first firearm I ever shot was my dad’s Ruger 10-22, around the age of 5.

The .22 has so many strong points it’s probably easier and shorter to name its drawbacks. In fact, there are really only three drawbacks to the .22LR; lack of stopping power for large targets, jamming, and not reloadable. If you don’t reload, and if you are smart enough to not take on a gang of marauders with nothing but a .22, that really only leaves jamming.

So, to summarize, .22LRs are inexpensive, great for training, can be used for hunting varmints, incredibly accurate out to 100 yards, quiet, low recoil, easy to shoot, incredibly fun, very readily available, and can be used for many rifles, pistols, and revolvers making it very versatile, and so small that you can carry hundreds of them without much effort or fatigue. Just make sure to clean them often, and have a side arm handy should they jam on you.

Notable .22LR Firearms
  • Ruger 10-22 (Rifle)
  • Marlin Model 60 (Rifle)
  • Ruger Single Six (Revolver)
  • Ruger Mark Series (Pistol)
  • “AR-22”, an AR-15 based rifle that shoots .22LR, or an actual AR-15 with a .22 conversion kit. This allows you to have 2-in-1.

Conclusion

Note, this is not a list of “best guns ever”. This was a list of practical firearms that people in North America should start their collections with, which is very different. In the event society collapses and Americans are left to fend for themselves, 9mm, .45ACP, 12 gauge, .223 and .22LR are going to be the most readily available forms of ammunition out there. If you have a firearm chambered in one of these that you have trained with, these are your best bets. Yes, there are other guns and other rounds, but in an emergency you want a gun you are familiar with, and know how to operate, so being trained in something that is universal is key.

Afterthoughts and Honorable Mentions

7.62×39

Firearm Type: Rifle

ak47
The AK47 is a never-fail, robust tool of awesome.

If there is ever a war fought on American soil, 5.56 is the round you’ll find the most of on the American battlefield, because of it’s widespread use by the U.S. military. And in the event such a war happens, our enemies will likely be using 7.62×39, as this is the ammo of choice for Russia, China, North Korea, and most of the United States geo-political foes. The 7.62 is not the best round. It’s as likely to key holes it is to spiral, and it isn’t the most accurate round out there, but it packs a punch and tears through wood, concrete, and flesh.

Notable 7.62×39 Firearms
  • AK-47
  • SKS
  • Saiga AKS
  • Ruger Mini-30

 

.308 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield (tie)

Firearm Type: Rifle

When you graduate from shooting .223s, you can upgrade to a 30 caliber variety. While the .308 and .30-06 (pronounced thirty-ought-six) are very different rounds, they share a lot of overlap in terms of their usefulness. Both are large rounds, have been battle tested, incredibly accurate well past 500 yards, and will take down any game on the North American continent. Some of the best rifles ever designed are chambered in .308 and .30-06, such as the Springfield M1A/M14 and the M1 Garand, respectively.

m1a

Notable .308 Firearms
  • Springfield M1A and M14
  • AR10 Variants
  • FN-FAL
  • Savage Axis 308

m1garand

Notable .30-06 Firearms
  • M1 Garand
  • Remington 700, 760, 7000
  • Savage Axis 30-06

 

In With the New?

I swear, I’m not against change. You might think I am, but I’m not. Change can be good, change can be bad. I don’t think it’s quite accurate to make the blanketed statement “change is good”. I think change is just change, and good or bad depends on the situation.

Some people can be way too anti-change when it comes to certain things, for example changing their underwear, or apartheid. But nowadays I feel like the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction, and now people are aching for change simply for the sake of change. They want new for the sake of new.

The new norm
The new norm

I don’t know if it’s a generational thing, or simply a contemporary societal thing, but whatever it is, I’ve noticed that more and more people are adhering to the out with the old, in with the new mentality. They’ve fallen for the whole ‘new and improved’ bit. But truth be told, new isn’t always improved and sometimes changing things too often or too hastily can be detrimental.

Technology

People are constantly burning through technology and replacing it with something newer. People say “OMG! I can’t wait to get the new iPhone 6!” but in other words they are saying “I can’t wait to get rid of my iPhone 5”.

There’s nothing wrong with upgrading from time to time, but if you have owned every. single. iPhone. that’s been released you might have a problem.

Losers.
Losers.

Imagine that at one point you were excited enough to camp out front of the apple store for three days in a fucking tent in 40 degree weather to get your new phone, and then imagine that in 9 months you’d be just as anxious to get rid of that very same phone. Does anyone else find this ridiculous besides me?

And let’s not forget the ever rotating roster of iPods, televisions, goPros, tablets, and laptops.

Cars

You’ve met the car whore, right? These people, usually men, change cars more often than they change their car’s oil. It’s too big or too small. Too slow, or not fuel efficient enough. Not enough storage, or a pain in the ass to parallel park. Whatever the reason, these people’s cars have a life cycle of 18-36 months. The second that lease expires, boom, new car.

Romantic Partners

I suppose this is worse than the car whore. You may notice I refer to a lot of things as whores in my various posts. Selfie whore, car whore, attention whore. But what about real whores? I get that in some areas like LA and NY being an actual whore is a rite of passage. Not knocking on casual dating. Or even casual sex. The people playing that game have a clear directive: DTF. They know they aren’t in it for the long haul, or even the short haul. The game is get laid and bounce, fair enough.

HPV waiting to happen.
HPV waiting to happen.

But what is up with serial daters? These people are incapable of not being in a relationship. There is no such thing as being single for them. They are eternally on the rebound. As soon as they are done with one relationship, they are immediately on the prowl for their next failed relationship. It doesn’t affect me at all. But I worry for these people, because they are constantly setting themselves up for emotional disaster. I wonder if they give actual relationships a fair shake, or if they duck and run the second things get a little shaky.

Fads

Another thing people are constantly cycling through is fads. More so now at an alarming rate than ever before. Forget tangible things like say consumer goods and ya know, human beings. People can’t even commit to a damn idea these days.

Gluten free, paleo diet, the green movement, the occupy movement, juicing, kale, acai, hands up don’t shoot, the ice bucket challenge, exercise, twerking, planking, Harlem shaking. These things are short lived fire crackers that ignited with a bang and disappeared just as quickly as they arrived.

fads

Think about something like Snapchat, which literally is a photo or video taken and shared with the intent of being discarded in a matter of seconds.

In With the Old

Again, I’m not anti-change. But there’s something to be said when people are constantly getting new cars, clothes, boyfriends and girlfriends, gizmos and gadgets. They are so fidgety and anxious they are always bouncing from one thing to the next, never sticking with something long enough to really enjoy it.

People can’t listen to the radio without constantly changing the station. They can’t even listen to their own playlist without changing songs every two minutes before the current track is done.

I’ve been told my blog posts are too long, even though they would only make up 5-6 pages in a paperback novel.

When I found out about Robin Williams passing away two hours after it was announced, my friend informed me “that’s old news”. Old news? Really?

People are hanging out with one friend but ignoring them, because they’re too busy nose deep in their cell phone texting someone else.

Yeah, new can be cool. But what about things that are so good they are worth keeping around for a long time? Isn’t that worth even more? What about not moving so fast that everything worthwhile is instantaneously converted into yesterday’s garbage?

In with the new, out with the old?

Forget that. In with the old.

Friends hugging
Friends hugging