6 January 2019

Building a Study Station

Study Space
Welcome to the new year, 2019!! 2018 ended with very few posts on Mountainman's Mantra.  Life happens, and somedays posting on the Blog does not happen. 

Here's to new years and new adventures!! In 2019, I will be starting a new adventure. I am going back to school. Time to upgrade. I need a degree to stay competitive in the labour market. So, it is back to the books for me.

Laptop & Tablet on VIVO Mounts

Laptop & Tablet Ready for Class
I will be getting a Bachelor of Emergency & Security Management Studies degree from the Justice Institute of British Columbia. Thankfully, they have a program that allows for full-time online studies. Thus, I do not have to move and pay for two residences at the same time. Phew!!

So, I have had to do a wee bit of modifying around the place to get ready for the start of classes. 

Custom sewing projects will have to go on hold for a few years, as that space is now my classroom. I purchased a VIVO laptop and monitor stand to make my desk more efficient. Only one issue, my tablet did not want to mount to the monitor mounting plate.
Close-up Of  Modified VIVO Monitor Mounting Plate
That required a little more research and another purchase of a VIVO Wall Mount Bracket. This new bracket was meant for an AppleTV or similar unit. It was also meant to be screwed into the wall NOT to be used with their monitor mounting plate. No matter. I can make a solution happen. Both, the laptop/monitor stand and the wall bracket were made from top quality materials and were very well made. The solution was quite easy, just drill a extra hole in the monitor mounting plate. That was it. I used the same style #8-32 screws and purchased some nyloc nuts to work with the #8-32 screws to attach the wall bracket to the monitor mounting plate. Now my tablet is mounted exactly where I need it.....above my laptop screen. This will allow textbooks to be open on the tablet while I conduct my lessons on my laptop. 

With the technical equipment issues resolved, next project was constructing a portable enclosure around my desk area to limit how much distraction I will cause my family while I am studying.

The local hardware store set me up with 6 lengths of 11/16" x 8' square molding to build a simple frame and 3 hinges to join the frames together. I already had a large piece of grey fabric which I upholstered the frames with. Now, my study area has a nice backdrop in case I need to do any video chats with classmates or instructors. I am pleased with the final product. 

I believe I am ready for school to start. The next four years will be a new adventure but an adventure I am ready to undertake!!
Close-up of Mounted Tablet

Until next time.....if the world tells you, you have too many years of experience and not enough education....GO BACK TO SCHOOL!!

Study Area Room Divider

SATAS Co Website - New Link

Life changes, life stays the same. I have had to change where the SATAS Co website will be. Still on WIX.com, but now it is on the free hosting platform, so, the address has changed. Please, use the following link:

I am heading back to school to get a degree, a Bachelor of Emergency & Security Management Studies. So, the SATAS Co website will be on a free platform until school is done. I will be available to do consulting on a compressed availability for anyone seeking my services. I will consider putting on SATAS Co courses if there is sufficient demand, however, I will try to encourage courses be done during the Summer months when my school course load will be reduced.  

SATAS Co inquiries can be directed to the following email:


I will endeavour to post more on my Blog in the coming days.


16 September 2018

Barbarians Kicking Roman Legion Ass - A Book Review

Cover of Defenders Of Dolpheim by Bruce Nickel
The Defenders of Dolpheim - The Saga of Eagles & Wolves by Bruce Nickel.

Executive Summary: 
Don't waste time reading this review, go buy a copy and invest your time enjoying a great book!!

I really enjoyed Bruce's book. I hope it is the start of many to follow.

Like all books that have characters, you - the reader, need to be properly introduced to the characters. This takes some pages to do. Also, you need to understand how a village operates day-to-day life in the time period being used in this story, this also takes pages. And, you need to know the enemy/foe. This builds context and proper back story. Without this foundation you would not truly enjoy this Saga. Once, the author has completed the task of educating you on the characters, daily life, the threats and builds up the suspense of first contact, then....then, this story accelerates into a page turner that is hard to put down. Bruce's love of his ancestors and former military service aids greatly in turning words into painted images of battles on foreign fields in ancient times. The details needed to wage war in the old days are not lost on Bruce. His narratives keep the imagery flowing as fast as the building tensions for battle. There is no shortage of grizzly, bloody details on combat in Roman times in this book. For those with a more academic approach, this book is a good study of asymmetrical warfare and the evolution of battlefield tactics to survive when outnumbered by a superior force. Superior in numbers. Superior in weapons technology. Superior in daily training. Superior in hierarchy and logistics. Superior in attitude/arrogance. In the end, like most asymmetrical situations, the invader is the invader - no matter how many; and the defender is the defender - no matter how few. Home turf advantage, plays a roll here. Speed, violence & aggression on the field of battle play a larger roll.

My ancestors were not Germanic, but my ancestors did have to deal with Roman invaders, too. So, I like this book on many levels. One level being, the Roman Legions getting their asses kicked. I did a little jig on Hadrian's Wall awhile back, while thinking about Roman Legion invaders to Caledonian (Scotland). How my ancestors would have done much more to that wall if they ever visited. But, I digress......

I had the pleasure & honour of serving with Bruce in the Balkans back in the mid-90's. He is a good person, who has written an excellent book. Get out there and buy a copy for yourself!

[I am still confused why in literature/marketing it is so important to hallmark the author. If the book is an excellent book, why doesn't the book standout on its own?? As a fellow author (The G.O.O.D. Plan - Get Out Of Dodge) and I believe the book is more important to market than the author. The book will survive long after the author is gone.] 

Bruce has done a great job and written an excellent book. It was a page turner right to the last page. My only comment now is: When does the next chapter of the Saga get released????

Until next time......read a good book!!


Open House Success for The GOOD Plan

The GOOD Plan Display at Briden Solutions Open House
It was a cool, damp Autumn morning when we arrived at Briden Solutions, West of Calgary for their open house on the 15th of September 2018. I was given a choice setup location between Mobile Escape - escape rooms trailer and the food truck. I was in the right spot to grab the attention of everyone coming outside for their free lunch.

I setup a basic BOV (bugout vehicle) display, incorporating my tarp awning, collapsible table, camp stove and pot set. I had my hobo bed setup inside the BOV and I had the dash covered in copies of The G.O.O.D. Plan - Get Out Of Dodge. I also unfurled my new banners for the first time. (I think they look good.)

 Needing to leave the path clear to the food truck I used the second set of grommets on the tarp to shorten it and also provide a bit more side cover to stove setup under the tarp. The tarp awning is very versatile. I also improvised with the pallets, thus not damaging the tarmac will large spikes. Emergency preparedness is all about assessing the situation & improvising a solution. 
While inside for a few minutes I picked up a few items for my pantry. Mountain House Chicken & Rice (a family favourite), Teriyaki Chicken  & Rice (new flavour for us) and Peak Refuel Chicken Alfredo. The new Peak Refuel line of food products were the star of Briden Solutions Open House. They has rep onsite and were preparing and sampling all their products. I sampled the Chicken Alfredo and was very impressed. There was no lack of flavour nor a lack of meat. Many companies would go heavy on the noodles and have a few bits of chicken or chicken flavoured TVP(textured vegetable protein). Peak Refuel prides themselves on only using real meat. The meals cost more, however, you are getting more. So if you want to be surviving with meals close to home cookin', add a few #10 cans of Peak Refuel to augment your emergency ration pantry. Store what you eat, eat what you store. For a price comparison the #10 can of Mountain House Teriyaki Chicken & Rice is about $38 a can, while Peak Refuel Chicken Alfredo is about $74 a can. Both of these are good to eat, even when it is not an emergency. They both store for up to 25 years and come with plastic lids to seal the can once opened. Even if you have rice & beans as your family main stay, every once in a while you will want to reward good behaviour with a change of meals. Peak Refuel will fill this properly.

New Banner
As I spend most of my time out near my BOV display I did not get to see everybody who arrived, however, the lineup for lunch was steady and well populated. I did manage to sell a copy of The GOOD Plan and one was earned as a prize. Would have sold two if the prize winner hadn't just purchased a copy. 

Thanks again, Dwight, it was great coming out to your shop and helping you, helping others to be more prepared.

Until next time......stay connected with your supplier!!


PS - Yes, I copied from The GOOD Plan Blog.....with permission :-)

8 September 2018

Attention Emergency Preparedness Community- Meet Up at Briden Solutions 15 Sep 2018

Poster for Open House at Briden Solutions
Folks, sorry for the short notice. I have had some technical issues here, which will hopefully be corrected today.

More importantly, we need you to RSVP to Briden Solutions to let them know you will be attending their open house on the 15th of September, 2018 from 1000 - 1400. (See poster to the left for more details.)

Dwight Briden and his company has been supporting the emergency preparedness community for many years, as both a business and as a place to gather more knowledge. If you need a local source for long term storage food items that have up to a 25 year shelf life, Briden Solutions is the place for you. If you need water storage solutions or filtration options, they have those as well. Visit their website (https://www.bridensolutions.ca/ ) to learn more about what you can get locally. 

An open house event like this is also a great place to meet other like-minded persons who share an understanding about the need for being prepared. When the emergency preparedness community gets together a lot can be achieved - from learning new skills to meeting new friends.

So, I hope to see you there!

Until next time.....support local business
& your emergency preparedness community!!


PS - Copies of my book, The G.O.O.D. Plan - Get Out Of Dodge, will be available at this event. Autographs, too. Limited number of copies will be on hand.

10 August 2018

Cast Iron Deal Right Now at Superstore - Calgary

Mini Cast Iron Skillet - $3.94
I hope everyone is enjoying a good Summer. I am afraid I have not been a good blogger of late, hopefully, I will get a few more articles posted before this month comes to an end.

Cast Irons, everyone loves cooking on cast iron, right?!? I know I do. You can cook with cast irons on an electric stove or a gas stove or a camping stove or a wood stove or even on a campfire! Yes, I believe cast iron is a very versatile cookware - good-times or bad.

Right now, 10 August 2018, if you are in Calgary and want to start or increase your cast iron collection of useful cookware....visit the Superstore just off MacLeod Trail South (#100, 15915 MacLeod Trail SE). This morning I added this mini cast iron skillet for $3.94!! That's right, for less than 5 bucks you can purchase a cast iron that is perfectly sized to grill one grilled cheese sandwich!! With proper care this cast iron skillet will last at least one lifetime, but likely many lifetimes!! (I am beginning to sounds like I should do infomercials)

They had two styles, the one pictured above and a small frying pan style. I believe they were both for the same price - $3.94. If you want one, better get one quick. Deals like this don't last long.

Until next time....be on the lookout for good deals!


29 May 2018

3 Shot Shell Improved Belt Pouch - Designed by SATAS Co.

Improved 3 Shot Shell Belt Pouch - Designed by SATAS Co.

3 Shot Shell Belt Pouch (Velcro Belt Loop Open)
Sometimes a good design just has to get better. Although, the original 3 Shot Shell Belt Pouch  (Link: Original Post ) worked very well at holding the shot shells, it did not fit over two layers of my 5.11 Double Duty belt. So, time to make the belt pouch adjustable.

The materials changed very little. 3" webbing needs to be 7" long and you will need hook & loop tape 3"x2" (3"x2.25"). Like other projects I make with Velcro type adjustable belt loops, the loop goes on the bottom flap and the hook tape goes on the upper flap.

The advantages & versatility of an adjustable belt loop outshine any increase in material costs or added construction time. This new design even fits over a 2" duty belt. I hope these photos show enough detail.

Until next time.....if the design needs improving, 
Get to it and make it better!!!


Original on the left, Improved on the right

More Adaptable Improved Design