Happy Anniversary, Sammy!!! (#2)

My friend Kenny Lane from “Knuckle Draggin’ My Life Away ” posted a public service announcement for everyone. For more info about the fun times that were had by us with Sammy “Pink Hands” Kerodin (AKA, “III Turd”), look here, and especially read this  Courtland Grojean post.

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Well, it’s been 2 years since the judge issued his decision from when Nervous Holly & Li’l Sammy Kerodin took me to court for a restraining order and a $10,000 lawsuit because me, JC Dodge, WiscoDave, Jim Miller, Angel, and George Patton exposed him as a con man. Well, actually it’s two years tomorrow but seeing as Saturdays are my day off and I’m not one to forget an anniversary (shut up, Lisa) I figured I’d celebrate by rubbing Sammy’s nose in it today.
Yeah, I won both of those court cases – the restraining order because the dumbass didn’t have his shit together and actually had no reason to file and the lawsuit because….. well, they’re losers. Okay, I won the lawsuit because they didn’t show up for court, but still….. LOSERS!!!
What was really unbelievable and showed what a fucking hypocrite Sammy is, he harps about how evil the government is and how much he hates it but he didn’t hesitate to go crawling to it to take care of me instead of coming to me and settling it face to face. Fucking pussy.

Anyways, if you’re new to this site or if you just want to take a trip down Memory Lane, you can find my celebratory post HERE. The judge’s decision is in that post.
If you’re new and want to read what led up to the court cases, go to the top of the site here and click on the “Sam Kerodin’s House of Cards” tab for all the posts. Bring beer, lots of beer, because there’s hours of shit to read.

And where’s Sammy now?
Fuck if I know but I think he’s still stuck in St Maries Idaho running his Daycare Dojo because he’s too fucking broke to move. Heh.

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JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

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Basic Strategies And Gear For Operating In Cold Weather

Old school Mil Issue. Wool watch cap, Field Jacket w/ liner, wool fatigue sweater, D3A leather gloves with wool liners, Field pants w/ liner, Mountain boots.

The recent extreme cold weather has made Survivalists all over the US realize that whether they’re in a “Warm Weather” state or not, having the gear and “know how” to operate in extreme cold weather is a necessary reality. I laughed when I got an alert that Tallahassee FL. had 21 deg. Fahrenheit (all temps listed in this post are Fahrenheit) and snow the other day. Why did I laugh? I laughed because I knew a guy in that area years ago who told me he didn’t have to worry about cold weather gear in the area he lived, as they never got real cold weather.

Cold weather has a number of categories that have to be addressed within their own niche. I usually just go through them as such: “Cold/No Precip”, “Extreme Cold/No Precip”, “Cold/Wet”, “Extreme Cold/Wet”.

“Cold/No Precip” is your normal Fall/Winter weather in the top half of the US. The range starts at the “vulnerable to hypothermia” temp (usually 60 deg.) and goes down to the average low of 20 degrees in most places except maybe the most Northern of States.

“Extreme Cold/No Precip” starts at 19 degrees and goes down as far as it might get in your area.

“Cold/Wet” starts at the same “vulnerable to hypothermia” level and goes down to 20 degrees, but it has the added measure of precipitation involved that is either in the form of rain, ice, or snow, and if it’s snow, it’s usually what we call a “wet” snow.

“Extreme Cold/Wet” starts at the 19 degree mark, and is usually snow. When it is snow in that temp range, it is usually what we call a “Dry” snow. Al that means is that it is fluffy and can be brushed off as opposed to the “Wet” snow wanting to stick and soak into everything.

Basic Strategy

Staying warm starts with understanding what takes the warmth away when you are in any of the above environments. This starts with doing what you can to stay dry. Not sweating or staying out of the precipitation is your best bet to accomplishing that. Barring the ability to stay dry, having an outer layer that is windproof, relatively waterproof and breathable (and with the ability to vent as much heat as possible) is your best bet. This is used in conjunction with under layers of clothing that either wicks away the moisture (like polypro and fleece) or retains its insulative qualities when wet (like wool). When you are wet, wind and cold are what will rob you of the warmth that can kill you. Your ability to dry out quickly, or keep that moisture warm through insulation and body heat (similar to a diver’s wetsuit) is what will save you if you do get wet.

For “Cold/No Precip” I use what the army used to call “summer weight” BDU’s (cotton ripstop) or the more common 65/35 poly cotton BDU’s. Along with them, depending on the temp, I use either the issue lightweight or heavy weight polypro longjohns (over underarmor briefs and t shirt) and these Fox River socks. Over the BDU’s I wear my SAS style smock. In the lower range in this category, I forego the BDU top, and replace it with a wool “Commando” sweater (get a real one not the lightweight cheap knockoff. It’s worth it).

Left to right. LL Bean OD green “Commando” sweater from ’88, Recent version of the same sweater in brown, Military wool fatigue sweater, an LL Bean variant of the “commando” sweater that added the buttons of the fatigue sweater. All are a wool blend, but the issue fatigue sweater is a lot lighter and not as warm.

If it’s in the 35 degree or lower range and I’m sitting sedentary in a tree stand (also good if you are pulling a security shift), I usually wear heavy weight polypro bottoms with the old style issue field pants (no liner), a lightweight polypro top with the commando sweater, and the SAS smock. Along with that I use the Danner “Ft Lewis” boots, or Matterhorn boots (both 200 grain thinsulate) in combination with Ice Breaker “Boot blankets” (I run hot, so my feet stay warm in the 200 gram insulated boots as long as I’m moving. I put the boot blankets on when I stop to keep that warmth in while sitting, and you can walk in them if necessary).

From left to right. Lightweight, uninsulated Danner boots (BQM LAW II’s), 200gr thins. liner Matterhorns, Chippewa S.F. Mountain boots, “Mickey Mouse” boots, N-1B Mukluks, and on the bottom, Ice Breaker “Boot blankets”.

The neck gaiter, wool (or fleece) watch cap, and gloves (light and heavy aviator gloves) shown in the Smock post are also used, depending on the temperature. My basic rule of thumb is to under dress if I’m doing a lot of exercise (ruck  march, heavy work like dragging a deer, etc.), and overdress if I’ll be sitting for a while. If you layer up properly, you can always take a layer or two off if you start to get too warm.

Left to right. Mil issue N-4B mittens with liner and two sets of thin, acrylic liners below. More recent version of the trigger finger mittens (leather trigger finger) and a pair of the older version (cloth trigger finger model that I’ve had since I was 12) with inserts below. D3A black leather gloves with two sets of wool liners below. Heavy aviator gloves above, lightweight version below.

“Extreme Cold/No Precip”. Take what I used in the “Cold/No Precip” category for sedentary activities, and add in the liner for the field pants, a field jacket liner for the smock or for an actual field jacket (slightly heavier/warmer). At the lower temps mittens come into their own. The two types I use are the Mil issue trigger finger mittens (had a pair since I was twelve) with wool liners, or if it’s extremely cold, the N-4B arctic mittens with the liner (same material as a field jacket liner).

Left to right. Field pants w/ liner, Field jacket w/ liner, wool lined, fur trimmed, snorkel hood that buttons on the field jacket.

With those N-4B arctic mittens I wear the thin acrylic glove liners (they are for the leather goretex glove the mil issued back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s). I use these because they breathe better than the thin flight gloves, and you need the hand covered by something. The last thing you want to do at that temperature is pull your hand out of a warm glove and grab something metal with bare skin. Make sure if you have gloves that use liners, you have extra liners to change out when they get wet. Older Mil issue gloves, whether it’s the D3A leather gloves or the trigger finger mittens, use wool liners, so get a few extra.

Left to right. Lightweight polypro long john top and bottom, with a pair of polypro sock liners, and the Fix River Mil sock below them. Heavy weight polypro long johns.

Along with mittens, I use the combat vehicle crewman’s hood/balaclava. I was actually issued this when I acquired my first cold weather gear of goretex, polypro, and mountain boots. That balaclava is as warm as a balaclava can get. BTW, when we were issued this stuff, we were told to wear the “summer weight” BDU’s because they dried out quicker that the “Heavyweights” did. Other headgear would be the old “Pile” cap (helmet liner). It makes a good cold weather hat, and it will roll down to protect your ears when it get’s really cold, and it’s also more windproof than wool or fleece watch caps. Besides the boots I listed above, the only other cold weather boots I have experience with are the “Mickey Mouse” boots, the Chippewa S.F. Mountain Boots, and the N-1B Mukluks.

Left to right. Mil issue field jacket, Brit issue smock, Begadi Fleece jacket, US issue fleece jacket from ECWCS.

The “Mickey Mouse” boots are better for sedentary tasks than highly active ones, but they will do the job of keeping you feet warm, even if you are filling them with sweat (have lots of socks to change into if you are seriously active in these boots to avoid trenchfoot. The S.F. Mountain boots are the highest quality boots I’ve ever owned. They are made to old school standards, and do the job they were designed to do. Downsides: You need to have more than one wool felt insole, since they need to dry out. They are heavy. They take a while to break in due to the stiffness inherent to a boot designed for skiing and mountain warfare. The Mukluks are great for emergency cold weather boots (keep in your vehicle trunk), and for use around camp.

Left to right. US issue field pants. Field pants liner, US issue fleece bibs for ECWCS.

“Cold/Wet”. Starting in the warmer temps in this range, a good, old fashioned poncho can’t be beat for staying dry, especially if you are ruck marching. The downside to a poncho is that it catches on things and can sometimes get in the way of certain activities, like using your rifle. Goretex is great, but any amount of exertion, and you will start to sweat. Although they say goretex “Breathes”, it is very limited, and most of the time, you will be as soaked under your goretex (while doing strenuous activity), as you would have been without it. The main advantage you have with wearing goretex is it’s ability to block the wind and cold air from stealing the warmth you’ve built up under the goretex, especially if it’s used along with clothing like polypro long johns and fleece mid layers which will eventually dry out when you stop sweating.

Left to right. US issue ECWCS goretex pants, ECWCS goretex coat, goretex reversible desert/woodland rain pants and jacket, Brit issue tall gaiters.

Knowing how to use the ventilation system most mil issue goretex jackets has is very important. Armpit zips used in conjunction with the front zipper can negate some of the heat and moisture you build up inside it while conducting strenuous activities. Although I very rarely ever use goretex pants, they do have their place. They are great if you are sitting sedentary, or if you are doing work around camp that requires a lot of kneeling or sitting on wet ground. Also, a drawback to Mil issue goretex clothing is that it is noisy. I use gaiters more than goretex pants because they protect the lower legs from moisture and don’t cause the heat build up that the pants do.

Top left to right. Helmet liner “Pile” cap, fleece watch cap, wool watch cap. Below left to right. Ear covers, and crewman’s cold weather balaclava.

If you are using a goretex top, my suggestion is to replace the smock mentioned above with it if it’s the heavy duty jacket, or wear it under the smock if you are using a lightweight rain jacket. The primary goal of what you wear in the “Cold/Wet” environment is to keep your core from getting wet to begin with, or if you are gonna get wet from exertion (sweat), keeping the heat from escaping, thus chilling the moisture you’ve already built up and eventually freezing your core. The point of moisture wicking materials like polypro and fleece is they pull (wick) the moisture away from your skin and gradually wick that moisture to the outer layer, and the goretex outerwear let’s you stay warm while the fabric does that.

“Extreme Cold/Wet”. Even though this is listed as “Wet”, generally, this is considered a “Dry cold” type of “wet”. The consistency of the snow in this environment is usually of a powdery consistency, and the need for waterproof clothing in this environment is not as necessary as that of the “Cold/Wet” environment talked about above. Generally, snow that collects on you and your gear can be brushed off without leaving the item wet.

From the left, snow camo pack cover, to the right of that at top down, balaclava, neck gaiter, and overwhites for the trigger finger mittens, right of that, German snow camo overwhite smock and pants. above them an overwhite helmet cover.

One of the best uniform items the military ever issued and used in this environment was the 1951 wool shirt (very hard to find now unless you wear a small size). Barring that and the system that was used with it, the mil uses the ECWC System ( I used the GenII system in the mil, and that’s what I own) which combines lightweight or heavy weight polypro longjohns (first layer) with a fleece jacket and bibs (2nd layer), the field pants discussed earlier with their liner, the earlier discussed field jacket liner (pants and jacket liner are the third layer), and the goretex top and bottom (fourth layer).

Typically, you can use the ECWCS system without the goretex top and bottom, and you can substitute the goretex top with the SAS style smock. Your outer garments would then be the smock and the field pants. Obviously, you will probably need to get the field pants in a size bigger than you normally would if you’re gonna wear the complete ECWC System under them. Your smock should already be big enough to go over the ECWCS garments on the upper body.

This category is generally the coldest of all the categories. Extreme low temps are usually in an area that has snow cover so the overwhites (no insulation, just camo) go over the whole set up. Hopefully, you are never in an environment that is so cold that you need to wear the whole ECWC System, but better to have and not need…..right?

Sleeping Gear

Although I own and have used the mil issue Intermediate and Mountain bags, The way to go these days is the US Issue Modular Sleep System. You ask any vet that has used both types, and they will tell you the MSS is the best thing going for sleeping gear, and it’s relatively cheap. Considering that I bought a Wiggy’s Ultralight with the goretex bivvy cover (about $350) back in the early 90’s, and I bought (or have been issued) a few of those MSS’s in the last 15 years for between $75 and $125 a piece. It’s a “no brainer” which one is the better deal. I like the Wiggy’s bag, but the MSS is the way to go and along with a good sleep pad (whether foam or Themarest). They will keep you warm down to the extremes you might have to sleep in. Use a balaclava in the lower temp extremes, and you can use your field jacket liner as a pillow. Whatever you do, don’t stick your head in the bag and let your breath condense and build up on the inside surface.

These are just some suggestions concerning cold weather gear THAT I HAVE USED. If you mileage was different great, I’m happy for you. I have used both wool and synthetics and have determined that there is a place for both in combination. In a number of areas, I’m not spending the money on most wool products because it’s outrageously overpriced, but synthetics have a flammability issue (newer mil issue ones are flame retardant). Figure out what works for you.

With all that being said here’s something to keep in mind. I use mil surplus not only because it is usually cheaper than a civilian equivalent, but it is generally a lot more durable and available in colors that help me blend in in the woods, not stand out. I’ll take the extra weight every time if it means it’s more durable.

People that haven’t done it think I’m joking when I tell them what I wear (or don’t wear) in extreme cold while rucking. In the pick below from yesterday (01/06/18) I have on a fleece watch cap, polypro T-shirt, lightweight polypro longjohn top, lightweight fleece TruSpec jacket, lightweight aviator gloves, Underarmor shorts, 65/35 poly cotton BDU pants, and uninsulated goretex Danner boots. 15 min miles with the 85lbs. I’m carrying warms me up real fast, but my camelbak tube froze solid.

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

 

Revisiting The Smock, And Stocking It For Survival, A Part 1 And 2 Compilation

As many who know me can tell you, I think the SAS style combat smock is one of the most utilitarian pieces of kit a Survivalist can have when it comes to clothing selection. In the following post, you will see why.
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Revisiting The Smock, And Stocking It For Survival PT. 1

 

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I have been using the SAS type smock for a couple decades, and although I haven’t changed much in the way it is stocked, there have been changes over the years. What is in the smock changes, but what that gear is supposed to do has not. A piece of clothing such as a smock will carry A LOT of gear, and the key is to have enough to survive, but don’t load it down.

First let’s talk about the smock I now use and recommend. I used to recommend the smock made by Begadi, but unfortunately it is no longer made, and was extremely expensive (about $150). The smock I’ve been using is not only cheaper (about $80 and that includes shipping from Germany), I like some of the features better. It is sold by ASMC, and the smock link is here.

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The smock is made out of 65/35 Poly/cotton ripstop, which means it dries pretty fast, but does not have some of the drawbacks of all nylon clothing (human torch anyone). The shoulders and elbows have a heavier, cordura like, water repellent fabric covering them, and the elbows come with removable elbow pads.

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The hood has a few feature which I really like. One id the adjustment in the back which will keep the front of the hood from obstructing your peripheral vision. The second is the wire that can be shaped to keep the sides back, also helping with your peripheral vision, and the hood doesn’t hanging down in your face.

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If you buy one of these smocks, be careful how what size you get. If you are getting it as an everyday coat, do as the company suggests, and get a size smaller than you normally do. If you are getting it as a field smock, with the possibility of wearing insulating layers under it, get the size you normally would. A friend recently found that out, as he ordered one size smaller, and found out wearing a field jacket liner of heavy fleece significantly inhibited his freedom of movement.

 

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The liner in the smock (where there is one), is not the heavy liner you would expect and nothing like a US Army field jacket has. The smock is lightweight enough to be worn in warmer weather, and has large “Pit zips” to help vent, as well as only buttoning the front (instead of zipping it up) of the smock helps with the airflow issues you might have. The “Canadian style” buttons are great when you are trying to button or unbutton with gloves on.

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One of the only things I do not like on this smock is the right sleeve pocket. I believe it is designed for some type of first aid dressing, but is ridiculously large, and I’ve dealt with it in two ways. On my OD smock, I removed it and covered the area with a velcro panel. On my flectarn smock (it is my regular hunting jacket), I sewed the sides of the pocket down. This allows me to still used the pocket, but it has less volume, and sticks out a lot less.

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Cuff adjustments are velcro, waist adjustments are of the string type (ala army field jacket), and it also has a skirt tie for when the wind is really bad. You’ll notice in some of the pics that their are fabric tabs all over the smock. This is a way to secure camouflage (natural or man made) to the smock for obvious reasons.

Overall, it is a great lightweight, multi purpose jacket, and except for the things mentioned, I have nothing but good to say about this as all around field apparel.In part two, we’ll talk about the survival kit I carry in it.

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Revisiting The Smock, And Stocking It For Survival PT. 2

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In Part 1 we discussed the smock that I recommend, and why I recommend it. In this post we’ll cover what survival items I carry in it, the “why” and the “how” of it. My smock carries items that are geared towards survival if I have lost all my gear. They cover these basic categories: Shelter, Water procurement and purification, food in a basic short term sustainment pack, tools for shelter building and food procurement, and fire making.

In the “Shelter” section I have one main item, which is supported by the length of 550 cord which will be shown in an inner pocket. I use a military “casualty” blanket. This is another way of saying heavy duty space blanket. This is a heavy duty tart that is 5’x7′, with grommet holes on the sides and corners. One side is OD green, and one side is silver. These make excellent lean to shelters, and can also be rolled up inside to keep ones body heat in as much as possible. I carry the Space blanket in the back pocket on the smock.

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This looks like it would be bulky, but it is far from it. It lies flat and if any gear sits on top of the pocket, it does not dig into your back or your ass. Next, since we already started with the back pocket, we will just go through the pockets and see what they hold.

Up front you have six pockets, two bottom cargo pockets, two top cargo pockets, and two zip up napoleon pockets behind the top cargo pockets. On the side you have two lower cargo pockets, and one sleeve pocket on the left sleeve. As I said in part 1, I removed the right sleeve pocket that this smock comes with.

First we’ll start with the left sleeve pocket. Three items are in this pocket. First is a small fixed blade knife. I use the CRKT Ritter RSK MK5 because it is small, sturdy, and can be used for a spear point if needed. Next is a military type magnesium fire starter block, as a last ditch fire starting implement. Third is a old style military field dressing for serious bleeder/wound issues.

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Next up we’ll go to the top left side pocket. I carry a Minimag LED with lithium batteries. Why a minimag? Because they’ve been around a long time, and they work. Why LED? Because it doesn’t have the bulb breakage problems that the standard does, it’s brighter, and lasts longer. Why lithium batteries. They last longer in storage and don’t leak. There is plenty of room in that pocket for other things that might need carried (you can’t fill up every space, first it would be too bulky, second it’s a back up, not your primary gear conveyance, right?).

Napoleon pocket, top left. I carry a neck gaiter for cold, and a pair of aviator flight gloves. The gloves are good for cold down to about 20 degrees if you’re moving around, about 30 degrees if you’re sedentary. The neck gaiter is one of the best cold weather items you can have, and makes a huge difference in your heat retention. ‘Nough said.

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Top right cargo pocket. This is the LandNav pocket. Their is a good baseplate compass, with a magnifying lens on it (back up fire starter also). There is also a small button compass inside the top flap of the pocket as a back up. Once again, extra room is there for other items later.

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Top right napoleon pocket. The only thing in this pocket is a stormsafe notebook, a pen and a mechanical pencil. They are stored in a heavy duty waterproof bag that can be used to carry other items of water if needed.

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The bottom left cargo pocket contains three items. First is a pair of cold weather aviator gloves (both types of aviator gloves are fire resistant). These are for cold down to about 5 degrees (what I’ve used them too, but I run “Hot” so YMMV). The other items are a roll over black electrical tape and a bic lighter that is in a metal case with scissors and a small blade (never have enough blades, right?).

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Bottom right cargo pocket contains three items. An old German army pocket knife which has a knife blade, saw, screwdriver, corkscrew and awl. There is two types of headwear in this pocket. One is the old standby OD green wool watchcap, the other is a coyote brown goretex boonie hat. This covers shelter building, and repair, keeping the head and shoulders dry, and along with the cold weather gloves, and neck gaiter, staying somewhat warm.

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The left side cargo pocket contains a a collapsible water bottle, and that is it. The left side is where I wear a holster, so this side needs to remain relatively flat. It can be used with the water purification tablets I will mention later.

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Right side cargo pocket. In this pocket is a Spec ops Cargo pocket organizer that holds a number of survival items. The items are as follows: Bic Lighter, Bottle of ibuprofen and antacids, bottle of water purification tablets, a piece of contractor grad aluminum foil 3’x12″ (used for heating up the water for the ramen seasoning packets), MRE Chocolate milkshake packet, ziplock bag of ramen flavor packets (like boullion cubes but flat), three Datrex bars (600 calories), and one small sealable waterproof bag.IMG_20160321_153528-1

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Note: All six cargo pockets have D-rings inside the pocket, and all items  are “Dummy corded” when possible to reduce loss. Also, everything is “Jump” tested to make sure  they make no noise when moving.

IMG_20160321_155014  Inside right pocket contains a map in a ziplock gallon size freezer bag with a protractor.

 

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Inside left contains 50 feet of 550 cord for shelter building and other tasks, and another bic lighter wrapped with 2 feet of 100mph tape (repairs and fire tinder). Below is a Buddy of mine, Bergmann in Alaska, with his idea of some additions to a survival smock. We have talked about this a good bit, and as you can see, some of the ideas we both had, and some I poached.

Well, that’s about it, any questions or ideas, pleas let me know.

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE