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If You Were Wondering

I’m not sitting at the computer watching the sled dogs race in the Yukon. I check in throughout the day to see what is going on, but I’m still working on the rehab.

Lately I’ve been cleaning the stove and refrigerator while I’m waiting for people to finish their work. I need to shut off the water for an extended period, and the guys really get upset when I do that. They don’t understand how to use a bucket to flush a toilet, so they don’t think they can use it.

The problem with working with guys who don’t have a lot of experience as bachelors is that they don’t seem to know how to clean anything. Cleaning seriously dirty appliances is not a job for wimps as the chemicals involved are not kind to the human body or clothing. They thought the nitrile gauntlets were overkill until I chased them out of the area with the smell of the stuff I was using to ensure there would be no mold in the refrigerator and no grease on the stove. I think I made believers out of them when I told them what would happen if they mixed the stuff I was using together – there’s something about poison gas that gets attention.

Hopefully today I can finally shut off the water long enough to pull out the stems for the shower and bathtub to take with me to get new ones. Someone did some freestyle plumbing and now it has to be fixed.


1 ellroon { 02.06.13 at 10:43 am }

A local architect took himself out by mixing those chemicals together and gassing himself. (Mustard gas, anyone?) Read the labels, ventilate the area, wear gloves and sometimes glasses.

I’ve found if I’m doing a heavy duty clean I try and not expose myself to too many different cleaners throughout the day. Even using them correctly can take its toll.

But you are using the real heavy duty industrial strength stuff and for that I’d probably buy a haz-mat suit, a diver’s helmet, and oxygen tanks…. not that I’m afraid or anything…

2 Bryan { 02.06.13 at 3:30 pm }

I have to go to different storage sheds to get some of this stuff, because I never store them together in the same area. The stuff that is stored in the cabinet under the sink in most kitchens would take out an apartment house if accidentally mixed together.

I stick to the basics: ammonia, chlorine bleach, baking soda, boric acid, Dawn, and the occasional strong acid for particular problems, like rust stains. You add really hot water and you can clean almost anything. For sticky messes WD-40 and acetone usually work. You have to have doors and windows open and a fan moving the air, and most of the time you apply things and then leave the area to give them time to work.

Architects would use the large blue-line copiers that are used for ‘blue prints’ that for years have involved ammonia. Add a little chlorine bleach and you are ‘pining for the fjords’. Buying a large format plotter and storing your plans on the computer is a safer idea. I had to pull a guy out of a room in which a line on one of those copiers busted, and even wearing a Scott air pack, I could smell the ammonia.

3 JuanitaM { 02.06.13 at 4:26 pm }

I’ve got a seriously ugly oven in a rental home that needs to be cleaned. What do you think works best on one that’s had as much as a couple of years build up? The oven still works great (it was made before planned obsolescence was popular, and it’s a better piece of equipment than anything that can be bought today). An old GE. But it needs WORK.

Not looking forward to tackling that, but it’s got to be done.

I worked for a builder for a few years, and it would make me light headed every time I went into the blueprint room.

4 Bryan { 02.06.13 at 5:38 pm }

You need to schedule the cleaning when you know you won’t be using the oven for at least three days because the stuff that really only requires one application is just too dangerous to be in a house with people or pets.

Bissel or Easy Off will do it as long as you have the patience. I use the cold oven method which involves spraying it down and letting it sit for a day before wiping it out with hot water. Then I spot treat whatever is left and let it go another 24 hours. If you try steel wool, you will damage the enamel and it will rust. The cheap plastic putty knives are useful for scraping up large gobs of stuff.

I use the blue pads for scrubbing, because the green are almost as bad as steel wool for damage to the enamel.

You will spend most of your time letting the chemical [basically lye] work on converting the grease. You should definitely wear gloves because it will not do nice things to your skin.

5 ellroon { 02.06.13 at 9:27 pm }

/taking notes
Thanks Bryan. Extremely helpful info!

6 Bryan { 02.06.13 at 10:12 pm }

People would be astounded at how clean the military wants base housing before you are cleared to leave the base/post to go to your next assignment. My brothers and I were expected to help in the effort. I also went through the same drill leaving my room in the barracks, even though I didn’t actually live there. It had to be inspected before I could leave the base.

Renters are not that nice and cleaning services don’t want to do it because it takes too much time without much return. It amazes me that guys who degrease engines and detail their cars don’t want to clean a refrigerator or stove – it is a lot less work.

7 Kryten42 { 02.07.13 at 8:35 am }

“People would be astounded at how clean the military wants base housing before you are cleared to leave the base/post to go to your next assignment.”

😆 Yeah! Roger that! 😆 Also, anyone who has had a serous stint (usually about 2 weeks) at what you would refer to as ‘KP Duty’ becomes an expert at policing (cleaning) a kitchen so it shines better than new!

Good tip’s Bryan. 😉 My Grandfather lost a lung to mustard gas & a faulty gas mask in WW1. He was very strict about the storing and proper use of chemicals around the farm, so I learned a healthy respect as a kid. When I worked as a security consultant in the Mid-East, I was shown a 1″ diameter titanium bolt that had been half melted by acid and super heated steam one of the oil rigs! I was impressed, to say the least! Never underestimate a chemical’s ability to seriously ruin your day, or your life.

8 JuanitaM { 02.07.13 at 10:07 am }

Thanks, Bryan! Like elroon, I took notes. Apparently there’s more than one ugly oven out there.

9 Bryan { 02.07.13 at 7:35 pm }

The regular clean-up by a unit of the common areas of the barracks is known as a “GI party” and when you clean outside it is ‘weeds and seeds’. There is nothing ‘seen on TV’ when you clean in the military, it is the same stuff your grandparents used and applied with a lot of sweat and muscle.

Oh, yeah, most people just pile it under sink or in a closet without knowing the consequences of some of those things mixing. The stuff they used to power early rockets and missiles would dissolve people. That’s the reason there was always a huge shower arrangement in the fueling area, and everyone wore rubber suits and air packs. You can make the equivalent in the detergent aisle of a supermarket. The warnings are on the labels, but the print is so small, people ignore it.

I’m happy if I helped, Juanita.

10 Kryten42 { 02.07.13 at 11:07 pm }

Anyone who has had advanced SERE (here in Aus, even though we do have a SERE unit, we actually have several courses. Which ones you do, depend on your role & mission profile. Courses are generally of two types commonly referred to as “blue hat” & “red hat”. Blue hat are for normal military personnel, and red hat is for SF personnel. An example is the “Resistance to Interrogation” course. The blue hat version is fairly basic where you get about 24 hr sensory dep, a little rough handling, and some random interrogation. Red hat on the other hand is far worse! goes for at least a week and is seriously full on! And all SF personnel MUST pass it. You never know when it will happen either, so you can’t really *prepare* yourself. They generally wait until you have had a tough and tiring training exercise, then do a snatch and grab just as you are winding down back at base and starting to relax, and the next thing you know, you are in for a week or two of hell!

Anyway, one of the other red hat courses I had to do, was how to make colored smoke bombs or flares (white, green, orange, blue, red), and various explosives from normal household chemicals and items. People would be amazed at how easy it is to do! Potassium chlorate (KClO3) is easy and only needs two common ingredients. Part of our normal kit when on a mission in enemy territory were a few items not easy to find, such as zinc powder and ammonium nitrate crystals. With some common chemicals, it will produce a flame that can melt through steel locks or hinges etc, or as a powerful primer for plastic explosives. Even learned how to make napalm. *shrug*

Kitchens and laundries are really dangerous places! 😉 😀 (Especially for people like me!) 😆

Maybe everyone should do a SERE type course at school Bryan! 😆 They may have a healthier respect for the dangers of a normal household! 😈

(Especially since it seems that *common sense* is becoming more rare every day.) *shrug*

11 Bryan { 02.08.13 at 12:15 am }

Lots of similarity in procedures. You get hauled off to the “POW” camp after a night obstacle course. You crawl out from under the wire and they throw a hood over your head, and a fun time was had by all. The sleep deprivation and increased salt to promote dehydration were the obvious bits before they ramped things up.

Yeah, if there’s a garden center attached you can get really creative.

I’m not sure how many people would really understand what they are being told, and there are definitely people around here I wouldn’t tell anything for fear they would do something really stupid with the information.

I guess I have a hard time getting worried about ‘terrorists’ when I live around people who can cause widespread alarm and mayhem with their idea of a ‘harmless prank’. These are people who think that Easter Sunday would benefit from a fireworks display.

12 Kryten42 { 02.08.13 at 9:03 pm }

True Bryan. 🙂 I found there were many similarities between US/UK/AU military training procedures, and many differences also. 🙂 The courses available, and the intensity of those courses depends on what unit you are in (or being tested for). My unit was a special unit that was parallel to the SASR. In the early 90’s there was a major restructuring of SF units and unit’s like mine were absorbed into two Commando Regiments. I am glad to see they kept our insignia and motto in the Vic regiment. 🙂 ‘Foras Admonitio’ (‘Without Warning’) From day one, we were trained to evade detection and capture. And if we were ever captured, to resist and escape. For SF unit’s, SERE training was split into two broad categories S&R and E&E (Survive & Resist, Escape & Evade). When I was *captured* and interrogated, I knew my primary purpose was to resist & escape. Eventually, your *captors* give you a slim opportunity to escape, and you have to be aware of the opportunity and grab it (if you don’t, you fail the course, though you are not told this before hand). During our capture, we are given bright orange overall’s which are designed to be difficult to remove. 🙂 When we join up, we are briefed that sometime during the advanced training we will be captured & interrogated. If we manage to escape, we have 5 days to find our way back to the base guard room and report in to pass. What they don’t tell you is that they have half of 1RAR (1st Aus Regiment or Victorian Regiment) searching for you with choppers, dogs, vehicles etc, and that they warn the public via TV & Radio to be on the lookout and report anyone in orange POW overall’s! Anyway, suffice to say it’s a battle of wit’s and training. My years in the Cub’s & Scouts came in handy, as well as living on a farm! 😆 I made it back in just over 4 days. 🙂 Everyone who undergoes this is forced to take a month medical leave and is taken care of at the base medical facility. And it is needed. It took me about three weeks to really recover to somewhat *normal*. It definitely makes one determined never to be captured! 🙂

Yes, garden centers are a wonderful bonus! 😆

One of the great things about many of the *home made explosives* is that they are usually unstable and volatile. So many wannabe terrorists usually blow themselves up. 🙂 We were trained about how to stabilize the explosives, which is generally more complicated than making the things that go *bang*! 😉

My experience is that you cannot stop stupid people from doing stupid things. If you do, they just find another way to do something stupid. The best we can do is help them minimize the stupidity to themselves. 🙂

13 Bryan { 02.08.13 at 10:48 pm }

I went through it with a phosphorus burn on the top of my left thumb as the result of a defective flare. They did bandage it before sending me to the obstacle course. That burn was not to my advantage in training, but you do what you have to do.

Your course sounds a lot like the Jungle school in the Philippines where they pay an indigenous tribe a bounty for catching ‘escapees’. In the main course they don’t want you to attempt to escape unless you are selected by the official ‘escape committee’, which seems like a pretty stupid way to operate.

The whole, no liquids on the airplanes was totally without merit. If you attempt to make something like TATP anywhere but in a lab, you will almost certainly die in the attempt. The people who make up the rules don’t know what they are doing when they are guarding against someone making it in an airliner lavatory.

It is so much easier to buy C4 on the black market if you really want to blow something up than to make it yourself, that only a candidate for a Darwin would try it.

What a country the US is-

I can buy an AR-15 and a couple of thousand rounds of ammo with almost no formalities;

If I want to buy pseudoephedrine for a bad sinus problem I have to register with the state of Florida;

If I buy large bottles of nail polish remover and hydrogen peroxide at the same time, I can expect to be put on the No Fly list and probably visited by a Federal agent.

Tell me we aren’t insane …

14 Kryten42 { 02.09.13 at 4:05 am }

I understand, and yeah, the whole system is insane. Getting that way here also. Oh well. Like the USA, I can’t easily buy codeine here, and Doctors are extremely reluctant to prescribe it except as a very last resort (because the paperwork is a nightmare, and they have to prove they tried everything else). Yet, they will easily proscribe Oxycodone Hydrochloride which is far more addictive than codeine, but is much more difficult to use to make *recreational drugs*! The only really effective pain killers I’ve ever used are morphine & codeine, but I can’t get either! (Morphine is only available in hospitals, or if you are on a certified pain management program, a nurse will visit and give you a shot).

Oh yeah, it is similar to the Philippines. 😆 Don’t worry, 1RAR was given plenty of incentive to capture us! The squad that captured one of us was given a 48hr pass and an ice cold keg of beer!

The first priority for an escapee is to find water. You can survive up to 2-3 weeks without food, only 3 days without water. Luckily, food and water are plentiful in the sub-tropics of far Nth Qld. I’d discovered I was being held captive somewhere near Cairns, and knew that everywhere between me and the base Sth. of me would be crawling with troops etc. I knew there ware farms west of me and plenty food. I needed to find clothes without anyone knowing I’d stolen them. I managed that the first day, and found some supplies (knife, couple bottles for water, and an old backpack and some other useful *bits*). Luckily for me, I’d been taken to Cairns and surrounds on a hunting trip when I was younger, and knew the area reasonably. 🙂 I remembered there was a small town somewhere S/W and figured it would be a good place to get things I needed. In the early 80’s in small town’s, security wasn’t a concern for most people. So it was easy to get into a service stsation at night to get some supplies for eg. Also a small general store. 😀 (they would be compensated by the Army after the exercise, and apparently I was so careful that neither knew anything was missing!) 😆 Which is the way it should be of course. When you are *on the run* it’s pretty stupid to leave an obvious trail of stolen goods, may as well leave a note with an Arrow saying *I’m heading this way!* 😆

As I began vectoring East, I picked up dogs barking and knew it was going to be a race. We had been trained how to avoid and disorientate tracker/attack dogs, so I used those skills. Anyway, A couple weeks after I got back and was recovering, I received my first commendation. That cheered me up somewhat. 😀 Happily, everyone in my unit passed

The peroxide you buy over the counter is too diluted to be any real use, usually to around 3%. You need a maximum of 30% diluted HP to make an explosive, and 60-70% for a really decent *bang*, and you can usually only get that at a chemical supply company who have to track all sales of that type. Acetone is more easily obtainable. Most model/craft shops have it in quantities. 🙂

Heck, you can buy a .50 cal AMR in some US States! And in the hands of a competent shooter, is a far more deadly weapon than a home made IED! WTF any civilian needs an AMR for is beyond me! I had one, and we used them to take out APC’s, light-medium tanks, fuel/ammo depot’s, radar installations, refineries, oil well’s, chopper’s, ships, and so on. They generally have a range of 2km or more. That’s crazy right there! You give me my old AMR and put me in a city, and I’ll show you some serious *Terrorist* activity! Don’t need any unstable IED’s, and they would be far less effective anyway! And I am very good at target selection to cause maximum panic & damage. It’s what my team was trained for. And no offense m8, but typical LEO’s & civilian security forces wouldn’t have a clue what to do about it either! Remember that my weapon had an effective radius of say 2.5 km, which makes for a large area of mayhem! 😉 But, I am too sane and stable. *shrug* Oh well… 😉 😆

You can buy anything on the black market if you have the contacts and money. Even high grade Military C5. Heck, you can even get a baby nuke if you really wanted to, and had some serious money. *shrug*

15 Badtux { 02.09.13 at 10:38 pm }

If you attempt to make something like TATP anywhere but in a lab, you will almost certainly die in the attempt.

But if you blow up an airliner bathroom — and yourself with it — it’ll still scare the **** out of a buncha people. Remember, terrorism isn’t necessarily about body count. The shoe bomber managed to make every every flyer in America spend minutes removing and replacing their shoes without killing a single person.

I call shenanigans on the baby nuke thing, btw. It may be easy enough to buy one, but transporting it is a different story. Everything with an atomic number high enough to work as a fission device is friggin’ heavy, especially if you’re trying to transport it without leavin’ a trail of folks who, like, glow in the dark. Which sorta would get some MiB types interested. Just sayin’ ;).

16 Bryan { 02.09.13 at 11:40 pm }

Hell, if you want to deliver a bomb to the US, you put it in a shipping container and send it by freight. You list it as one of the several legitimate materials that set off the nuke detectors at ports, and put it in the center surrounded by said materials. Our port security sucks. We make people take off their shoes because of one failed attempt, but there is no real inspection of shipping containers because that would affect ‘business’, rather than annoying the hell out of people.

LEOs ?! Hell, the LAPD would be gunning down Kalahari bushmen based on an accurate description of you. The people who could find you would want to call in an airstrike, rather than assaulting your position. The US law enforcement and military personnel are really messed up.

Personally I would vote for sending in Wayne LaPierre and the House Republican caucus to do the job. They are the people who believe in the magic of guns.

I assume that the guy in LA had another vehicle waiting for him when he torched his truck in the woods. He could be anywhere now, but he will be back.

Kryten, I play down the details of things that go bang, so I don’t give people any ideas. You can get military grade plastique easily in Florida, but if you don’t know what you are buying it will turn out to be modeling clay. If you filed a consumer complaint about the substitution, I wouldn’t guess what would happen as messed up as Florida is.

17 Kryten42 { 02.10.13 at 10:33 am }

Sorry Badtux. 🙂 But small and relatively lightweight tactical nuclear weapons have been available since the 60’s. 🙂 This image show’s US soldiers loading a warhead for a test.

Little Feller I, a Nevada test on 17 July 1962 of the W54 Davy Crockett warhead (reportedly a scaled down version of the two-point implosion Swan fission device successfully tested as Redwing-Inca), this entire weapon casing was just 30 inches long and 11 inches in diameter at the widest point, and weighing just 51 pounds it was the smallest and lightest fission bomb ever deployed by the United States. In Little Feller I a live Davy Crockett warhead was fired from a 155 millimeter launcher Operation Ivy Flats and detonated at a height of burst of 20 feet some 9,357 feet (1.7 miles) from the launch point with a 0.018 kt yield yield. The test was the last atmospheric detonation at the Nevada test site, and was observed by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and presidential adviser General Maxwell D. Taylor (seen above in stills from the film of Operation Ivy Flats, which was finally declassified on 22 December 1997).

This quoted from the two-part edition of the U.S. Department of Defense’s ‘Secret – Restricted Data’ 1,651 p-p manual: Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons (DNA-EM-1, 1 July 1972). The image below is from that manual (which has since been declassified):

The USA since then have created small tactical nukes including nuclear land mines and weapons called SADM, excerpt from the above manual:

The 58.6 pound B54 was another application of the same device called the Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM), a nuclear land mine deployed in Europe, South Korea, Guam, and the United States from 1964-1989.

According to IISS, FAS and other sources, several of these munitions are *unaccounted for* and some have been known to appear on the black (or ‘grey’) markets. The biggest problem, however, is the old Soviet Union. When it was dismantles, it held a massive stockpile of many forms of tactical nuclear weapons, including an estimated 4,300 nucleat tactical missiles, 2,000 artillery rounds, 2,000 mortar rounds, 1,500 nuclear torpedo’s, 2,000 naval ordinance (including mines), 14,000 nuclear landmines, and several hundred man portable nuclear munitions designed for their special forces (Spetznaz) units. Many of the tactical weapons were dispersed in Soviet republics which underwent revolutions when the Soviet Union broke up. It should be noted that in January 2006, the US Council on Foreign Relations, in a background paper entitled: “Loose Nukes,” rejected the above estimates and stated that the Soviet Union had even more nuclear warheads. Its estimate was 27,000. Russia has admitted that many of these are *unaccounted for* since the Revolution.

My question is more along the lines of “Why hasn’t one been used yet?” Answering that was one of my jobs at DIO. But not one I will answer until my 30 gag is over in a few years, or so. So you’ll all have to wait for the book! 😉 😆

IISS Link and info here (including PDF’s):

Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the rise of proliferation networks

I understand Bryan. But sadly, many people already have stupid ideas, especially in the USA, about things that go *bang*. There are an estimated 300 million firearms sold legally, and nobody knows how many illegal arm’s there are! All information about making things that go *bang* is so easily available from several sources on the ‘net, it’s pathetic. And almost all have one thing in common, they are more likely to ruin the day of some idiot who tries to make them than anyone else. *shrug* Geez, are people so stupid that they think that any soldier would happily carry around explosives if they were going to go *bang* when they get bumped, or shot at etc? No! We had a demo of a block of plastic C4 (and it does look like modeling clay, or can be made to look like anything actually. Even a button.) 😉 We were taken out to the grenade practice range, the instructor placed a block of C4 on the ground about 20m from the *wall* (where the trainees would hide behind), and we were told to watch (we all had helmets and goggles on), and he fired a round into the C4. Several trainees ducked, but I knew about it from research & my Grandfather, and several others also apparently also knew. It didn’t go *bang*, it did nothing. There were grumbles for some of the trainees about *stupid pranks and the like*, so the instructor singles out one of the loudest complainers, gave him a remote detonator, and told him to go insert it into the C4 whilst the instructor took out his remote trigger and glared evilly at the trainee! 😈 (Instructors are such bastards!) 😆 😉

When the trainee got back, the instructor said “OK. Now you can all get down!” and we all did, then he flipped the safety and pressed the trigger, and there was an almighty *BOOM*. When the dust and dirt had settled, we looked up over the wall and saw a large crater! The instructor told us that so long as the special detonator wasn’t in the C4, we were safe, once inserted… not so much! Umm… yeah! Roger that! 😉

Ahh! Speaking of Monsieur LaPierre… I did a piece @ LM on 2002 that featured him on C-SPAN at a Judiciary hearing giving sworn testimony. 😉 It’s available on YouTube (what isn’t?) 😆 For those who don’t want to watch, here’s the important text:

In sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee on May 28, 1999, in the wake of the Columbine shootings, NRA Vice-President Wayne LaPierre speaks forcefully in favor of universal background checks.

“Let’s talk about what’s reasonable, and what’s not. We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory, instant, criminal background checks for every sale, at every gun show. No loopholes, anywhere, for anyone.”

Wayne LaPierre Speaks in Favor of Universal Background Checks.

Ahhh, well… *shrug* Bed time. 😉

18 Bryan { 02.10.13 at 11:47 pm }

Well, thanks to the ‘Net I can talk about a lot things I have never talked about before, because now there are open sources I can point to, rather than listening to some moron complain about revealing classified information. I just don’t want to deal with the professional paranoids any more. It is so nice to just be able to send them links when they get annoying these days.

On the nukes, people used to wonder why my Dad always seemed to have a roll of lead tape in his tool box. Quality control wasn’t always the best, and they had local solutions for problems that cropped up.

There is no way of knowing what the Soviets had, except that any CIA estimates were highly inflated to protect their budget. Soviet manufacturing was not in the same universe as efficient, although their version of the military-industrial complex was more efficient and better funded that anything designed for civilians. KGB numbers are not much better, because the military didn’t get along with them. There were three power centers: the Party, the military, and the KGB. and their relations were not cordial after the death of Stalin. Essentially everyone lied a lot.

I don’t know why anyone would bother, as it would be a lot easier to tell the right people that you had a nuke and were going to use it without bothering to get one. The resultant panic would serve the same purpose. The Shrubbery got to have a war based in part by a non-existent Iraqi nuke.