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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:56 pm 
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So I am sure everyone has gotten home by now and pulled all your newly found ticks out. How about we post up the AAR's?

I didn't take that many pix this year, but I did get one Hell of a video of the Man-Bath Flood.

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Last edited by jnathan on Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
WE need a debrief


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:05 pm 
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I had a great time at Zcon this year, it was quite an entertaining year. Somewhere there's a little guy regretting punching a much bigger guy in a mankini on the beach of a river.

I should have known better than to have pondered, "you know, it's never rained when I've been at Zcon"... famous last words.

Alright, as for a debrief, I managed to make it home without any ticks this year and I'm very happy about that. I enjoyed the new people I met and seeing friends I see far too infrequently. Seeing Saturn through a telescope was a thrilling experience, but getting to know some of my fellow ZS members is really what makes Zcon awesome.

Let's see your pics and read your debriefs, folks. C'mon!

-Jeff

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:20 pm 
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It's going to take me some time go process my pics from the trip (which sadly were taken on my crappy cell phone since we forgot to pack the camera) but here's a little teaser to get things started:

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:34 pm 
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mystic_1 wrote:
It's going to take me some time go process my pics from the trip (which sadly were taken on my crappy cell phone since we forgot to pack the camera) but here's a little teaser to get things started:

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Oh, sweet, one of those paranormal photographs. (Anyone who went on the Hughes Mt. hike should remember that's what Adnan kept calling panoramas.)

I guess I should actually add an AAR instead of just padding my post count with dumb jokes.

Stephanie put it pretty well when she said, "Every year ZCON keeps getting better and better," and I think she's right. I don't know if the event itself is improving or if we're getting better to it, or acclimated to death-heat and transdermal tickrape, but this year was my favorite so far, and last year was better than 2009 or 2010, in terms of our experience. (We missed 2011.) For one thing, 09 and 10 were really hot, or else we weren't ready for it; 2012 and 2013 were much milder (or seemed that way).

We arrived Wednesday afternoon, humped our gear across the river, and set up camp. We've settled on our preferred location, on the vertical trail over near the latrines. It's far enough from base camp we can sleep through the movies if we want to, and far enough from the latrines that we don't get any smell off 'em (also, they seemed cleaner and better maintained than last year, possibly due to lower head count?). We're low enough on the hill we don't have to do a Bataan Death March to get to our site. All told, a nice location for us.

New gear for this year, I packed a Hennessy Hammock. I went for the Explorer Deluxe Asym Zip, because it was a.) rated for 300lbs and 7' tall, b.) in stock at the time I ordered, and c.) in a color I could live with (OD). If the Survivor had been available (in stock) I might have gone that route just because I like Woodland Camo, but not a dealbreaker; I considered the Safari which is rated for 350lbs and could have been even more comfortable, but I didn't like the bright green color and slightly heavier pack weight. (Note on weight, although the hammock itself is quite light, the extra large tree straps add a LOT of weight. It's probably comparable to my solo tent.) I can't honestly say why I opted for the zipper over the velcro "whale vagina" bottom entrance. Probably because a.) I have had bad experiences with velcro wearing out due to lint etc., b.) I didn't trust the velcro etc. to keep ticks out, and c.) probably a mental coin toss.

The Explorer Deluxe Asym Zip performed admirably. The method of attaching to the tree has a slight learning curve but not too bad; basically you wrap the strap around the tree a bunch of times, then pass the rope through the strap loop ends and tie it with a series of half hitches, then add the fly. I learned from experience: PICK TREES FARTHER APART THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED. Then, PICK SOME THAT ARE EVEN FARTHER APART THAN THAT. Close-spaced trees result in sag; far-apart trees = comfort. Also, HANG YOUR HAMMOCK HIGHER THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED, or your ass will drag on the ground.

I was advised to get an extra large fly (canopy) and did so; I really liked this as it felt like it kept bugs, sun, and windblown rain off better than a just-barely-big-enough canopy would have. No problems with the zipper this trip; here's hoping it lasts. Bottom of hammock doesn't insulate at all so even when it's warm out, put something under you at night; at ZCON, I put a wool blanket on the bottom and then slept in my sleeping bag on top of that and was fine. In colder weather I'd look at HH's insulation kits. All told, the hammock was FAR, FAR MORE COMFORTABLE than sleeping in a tent on that rocky-ass hillside, and finding a pair of trees was far easier than finding a pseudo-flat spot. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Food, we went to REI for Mary Jane's Farm Organic backpacking meals; our favorites were Curry In A Hurry and Indian Spice Lentils and Rice. Plus a 2-person Mt. House we had left over, don't remember what flavor. These were old favorites that we go back to every trip. For breakfast we went to Quaker oatmeal-in-a-cup, rather than the old packets. The boil-in-cup was more convenient than using a bowl, they tasted better (I swear, after cooking, the dried cherries tasted like fresh ones!), and the ingredient list didn't have anything on it that didn't look like food. Cooking via MSR Pocket Rocket and Titan Kettle, perfect for the job. Also, beef jerky, Cliff bars, cans of Bush's Vegetarian Baked Beans, and some awesome stuff other people made and shared. I didn't get the names of the awesome couple who shared their Dirty Rice with me, but it was excellent, and I think Dr. Jest shared his salmon w/ Steph again. I tried to pay it forward by passing some jerky around Manbath.

Seminars: attendance at all seminars was very low; I went to all of them (except the chapter meeting thing, which was all stuff I'd seen before). Knife Sharpening audience had mostly seen last years so it became an extended, special-topics Q&A about odd shit like convex grinds and serrations and such. It was good. PVC bowmaking was inspiring. Camo got moved to Manbath which was a baller move (protip, don't pack the weight of a ghille suit in your BOB, just bring a lightweight net and use local vegetation). Jeff Nathan showed us how to elbow people in the face. I canned/pickled some green beans. All good stuff. Oh, and the Hughes Mt. hike! Always fun, although that is always where I pick up ticks. Every time I stepped off the road to let a car go by my ankles came out with little legwarmers that looked like the pictures you get if you Google "dog's ear with ticks." (They're so horrible I can't bring myself to embed the image.) Fortunately not of 'em got their hooks in me.

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Oh, and I made a bow! Cut a willow sapling downstream of Manbath and made a Digueno-style selfbow. Paracord makes a shit bowstrong through so I need to buy some Dacron and make one.

Range day, I had a little malfunction with the GPS (General Purpose Spouse) I was using to navigate and got there about an hour late. Still got to shoot for an hour, put a mag through my AR, busted some clays, and then took first place in the slow-fire rifle contest on a borrowed rifle that I had never fired before. (Didn't even shoot any practice shots, my first shot out of that weapon was on the contest target.) FN Bolt-Action Patrol Rifle + big scope at 100 yards = easy shooting. Sandbag under the butt + bipod means the shooter doesn't have much to do but focus on breathing and trigger manipulation. So, protip, you want to shoot well, borrow a nice rifle. (Thanks, Raptor6!)

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Float trip was great although I need to remember that, even though I don't NORMALLY get sunburned on my legs when I wear shorts, the float trip means I'm sitting so they ride up and the tops of my knees are facing up so I should wear sunblock or throw a shemagh over my knees. (Oh, and drunk locals who asked a shemagh-wearer "Are you Muslim?" and used the word "gay" in a pejorative context got polite, friendly lessons on what it means to be a civilized grown-up in the 21st Century.)

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We headed to the float trip early which meant a couple of things. Firstly, we rescued THREE turtles on the way there and out, two box turtles and what we think was an Ornate Box Turtle (because they don't have Spotted Turtles in the area). Also saw lots of dead ones which always makes us sad, but the rescues were heartwarming.

Steph had to teach first thing Monday morning, so we broke camp on the way to the float trip and left straight from there...avoiding the massive thunderstorm that flooded the rest of y'all out. Glad everybody made it out safely, but I'm also glad that I ate a steak dinner and watched World War Z instead.

Question for next year: Would there be any interest in my doing a seminar on making projectile weapons in a survival context? I could show examples of primitive wooden bow, atlatl, sling, and staff slings, and then everybody could make a leather-and-paracord sling, and I could show y'all how to use one if you've never done it before? If there's some interest I'll put together a proposal for the HQ; if not, no worries.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:26 pm 
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Man Bath after the rains:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEDMqxyf3ww&feature=share&list=UUqHyS-2p-0ULKUzNTmT6pzQ

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:33 am 
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The traditional ZombieCon annual "vehicle sunk up to its floorboards in mud"

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Heading for home

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:17 am 
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Flint (glass) Knapping seminar


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Making a PVC Bow seminar


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Canning Seminar

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:38 am 
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Range Day


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ZSC020

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85 years of differences


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Wait, what?

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Heh

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Homemade bolt handle on Mosin Nagant


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jnathan

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:01 am 
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And finally, a few videos from Range Day and Beer Spear:














cheers!
mystic_1

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:09 pm 
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Lost and Found items:
A pair of Fila Skele-toes size 10.
A lid to a Coleman Pot
Spork
Spoon
Towel

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Barely survived ZombieCon 2011

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:34 pm 
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Awesome pictures, mystic_1. Thanks for taking these. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:32 pm 
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Great pictures!! Thanks.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:33 pm 
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I really wanted to go this year but couldn't make it. I went down there the weekend after you guys left with the kids.(You probably don't remember me. I was there for 2010 and 2012 by myself and I'm a cousin of the property owner). It's the first time I've had my 3 and 5 year old kids there. Anyway, my point is that it looks like you guys were never there. I was going to mention that we found a piece of glass that looked like somebody might have forgot a car window or something, but it looks like you were using it in a seminar. :lol: - How many people go to the Wintergheddon thing? That's more my style and temperature range. It's almost literally in my back yard if you still go to QR State Park. I don't know any of you outside the internet and a couple of conversations at ZCON so I wouldn't want to crash your event, but it sounds like a great time.

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