Monday, December 28, 2009

Profiles In Usefuleness: Tarps, Tarps And More Tarps

By Flea - Be A Survivor

The wonders of a simple tarp, there are way too many uses for the tarpto cover in one blog post but I shall certainly sing its praises. The tarp is quite simply a piece of think vinyl, canvas, plastic or some other kind of material that is typically used to cover stuff. The better the quality of the tarpthe more useful the item becomes. I like tarpswith pre-installed grommets and reinforced edges myself because they are great for temporary shelters if needed.

Tarps for some reason are typically blue although I have several that are brown and even a few that are camouflaged. I pick up tarps anytime I see them on sale because you can never have enough tarps. Having too many tarps is a problem we should all be burdened with in my humble opinion.

Tarps make great ground covers, shelters, covers, rain catchers, cargo covers, privacy curtains, shade, etc. As I made pretty clear in the beginning of this post there are way too many uses for tarp to be listed in a simple few paragraphs.

The best thing is that tarps are not really expensive so there is no excuse for not having a few lying around the house in case of an emergency. I like to pick them up at Harbor Freight when they go on sale; they are medium quality tarps at a really cheap price. The price will of course vary in direct relation to the size of the tarp. Typically the bigger the tarp the more it costs.

When we go camping in the pop up we specifically use tarps to cover the firewood, act as a table cloth on the picnic table. We usually hang another tarp in an area where we tie up the dogs to give them some shade. Tarps came in handy when my house was hit by lightning; I had one up on the roof keeping the weather out of the damaged areas while repairs were being made.

Go out and get yourself a few tarps and you will be amazed to find out how useful these things can be.

Tarp Resources:
Tarpaflex
Tarps Online
Tarps at Wholesale
Harbor Freight
Tarps at Amazon.com

...that is all.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Survival Search Engine

By Flea - Be A Survivor

I received the following email on an interesting topic...

"Merry Christmas Be a Survivor,

I wanted to let you know about a new project I have started called, The Preparedness Search Engine. I have included your site, free of charge, in the search criteria. The intent is to provide focused searches for people looking for survival/ preparedness information without having to weed through the ton of garbage that is out there. I plan to only allow sites that provide solid information and think of your site as one of those. I was wondering if you would be willing to feature the ad for this effort on your site as a favor for including your site in the search results? If so, the direct link is, http://preparednesssearch.blogspot.com/.
Thanks,

Nomad
Survive the Worst"

I checked it out and it seems to be pretty cool. Head on over and check it out for yourself, may help you find something you need more quickly. - Flea

...that is all.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Survival TV Show On Its Way...

By Flea - Be A Survivor

I recently received an email from Cody Lundin who is the author of 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Aliveand When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikesletting me know about a new project he is working on. Cody sends me periodic email updates since I have expressed my gratitude for writing the aforementioned books (both are excellent), guess I am on his list :)

The email reads:

"Dear People,

A quick email before the holidays…

As of last week, I threw caution to the wind and signed with the Discovery Channel for a new series on survival skills. This drama had been ongoing since June so it was good to get completion. Below, I’ve included a letter I wrote while airborne after a New York City meeting regarding the show for those who care to read it. I’m not able to answer any questions about the show per heinously complicated, page after page, horribly bias legal contract, so please forgive my sealed lips. Everything that I can share will be in future emails.

I’ll have new time commitments with filming around the globe, so please be patient and realize I’ll get back to you as soon as possible when I return from the field.

Remember that January is the last month to receive a 10% early enrollment discount on courses. Full course descriptions are available on our web site, www.codylundin.com. As always, call or email us if you have questions…

I hope you have a great holiday season and New Year!

If you would rather not receive these notifications, simply send an email back and I’ll take you off my list.

Stay safe!

Primitively and Urbanely Yours,

Cody

About my role in the Dual Survivor show:

September 2009.

To Whom It May Concern,

Teaching survival skills has been my passion and my profession for a very long time. I take this lifestyle choice seriously and strive to give the very best training to my students both in and out of the field. I live my profession, and continuously refine my self-reliant homestead to embody the most effective combination of ancient and modern technologies designed to do more with less. I am acutely aware that my training may some day help decide a student’s fate during a real survival scenario. Unfortunately, even many so-called survival instructors are not burdened by this all important responsibility, (let alone television producers) and over the years, I’ve witnessed hundreds of examples of crappy or flat out dangerous instruction.

Please know that I have little if any control over how Dual Survivor is ultimately concepted, produced, and edited. While all production work involves the efforts of many talented individuals, very few if any of the players involved with this show have any experience in outdoor survival skills. So what happens when “city slickers” design an outdoor survival show? Only time will tell.

I have and will try my best to make the show as authentic and professional as possible – while still being fun to watch! I have and will continue to push this agenda personally and professionally, using the talent and clout of an entertainment attorney as well to further these wishes. Regardless of my efforts – as my grandmother used to say – “whatever will be will be.”

It’s in the spirit of educated hope, faith, and trust that I enter this project; knowing full well that compromises will have to be made. To my students, and somewhat to the readers of my books, you know my training far more intimately than any TV show could portray. It’s to my students that I give undying gratitude. These hearty souls have bothered to get off of their butts and follow me into the mountains and deserts over the years, come what may; desiring to know the truth about survival skills. Decades of students have helped me to achieve a level of competency, “dirt time”, and stark honesty that can never be bought or faked. Thank you!

In short, watch the show, laugh, and learn a survival trick or two. But…never, ever base your emergency preparedness plan on a television show.

Sincerely,
Cody"

Good luck with your project Mr. Lundin!!! - Flea

...that is all.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Smoke Detectors And Due Dilligence

By Flea - Be A Survivor

This just goes to show you how important it is that you keep up with your yearly chores. Many of you know a few months ago my house was struck by lightning, I thought everything was back to normal until I went around the house checking the smoke detectors. I change the batteries in my detectors yearly whether they need them or not, they are also hardwired to the electrical system so the battery is essentially a backup.

I was merrily going around swapping out batteries when a came to a detector that would not test properly. In fact, the light which should be green was a very dim red. I went to the next room and the same thing! Out of the seven smoke detectors we have in our house, THREE of them were not functioning properly!!! Luckily for us there was another functioning detector not far from each of the bad ones but still why take a chance. This reminded me how important it is to do just what is printed right on the detector, test them MONTHLY.

Needless to say I made a quick trip to the Lowes near my house and obtained three replacement detectors and installed and tested them. We are now functioning 100% again but you can rest assured I did learn a lesson and will be testing my detectors monthly.

If you have any fire extinguishers in the house be sure to check them when you do your yearly battery changes and I would actually recommend checking them at least twice a year, if not quarterly to be safe.

...that is all.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Guest Post: Crazy Joe - BOV Maintenance & Upgrades

By Crazy Joe - Be A Survivor

Bug Out Vehicle - That which will travel a good long distance, over roads and maybe off road, to carry goods and people, in safety, to a place of safety. Some of you have one already. Some of you, while surfing the net, have seen photos of BOV’ S created by hunters and survival folks and want one. I believe it is the flat green or camouflage paint job and larger off road, big tread tires that grab most people’s attention. Personally, the 12 foot whip CB antenna does it for me. Folks with a Buick Century, Ford Taurus or a little GEO Tracker just feel so left out and embarrassed. STOP!!! Each and every one of you (who currently owns any vehicle - even motorcycles) already owns a BOV. Doesn’t your vehicle take you to work every day? It goes through rain and snow to get you to work or the doctor's appointment? It picks up your children after school - right? The cold mid west plains in winter or the heat of Arizona and Nevada and, you who live there, does your vehicle not survive this? Every vehicle is a BOV. Yes even a BMW or Lexus. The vehicle you own - you rely on. It tackles the Baltimore Beltway, the Atlanta Loop, LA freeway or the worst of the worst in Philly - the Schuylkill Expressway. You should all learn the old saying “It is not the size of the tires but how you drive on them”. Everyday millions of people get up and get in a vehicle, drive, and survive the road. Do not think for one minute this is not survival - it is. Many thousands of Americans die every year in car accidents. Many times the cause of the accident is a poorly maintained, unsafe vehicle. Oh then we have road rage as a reason for accidents. I would say emphatically “Yes my car is already a BOV!”

I have worked part time at a garage/gas station for the past 24 years. I have a fair amount of mechanic knowledge on all the basics and make good use of the perks afforded me by working there. I do all the routine scheduled maintenance ahead of the factory schedule. If you have a great garage and mechanic who maintains your vehicle already then still take note and do the next sentence. I am a firm believer in owning a “Chilton’s Manual” -- -> found online at http://chilton.cengage.com/ for the vehicle I own and so should YOU - regardless if you are NOT mechanically inclined. These manuals come in the professional garage manual and the do it yourselfer manual. The statistics are ridiculous on the number of women who get taken/overcharged/ripped off by garages over the simplest of repairs. Why is it that many survivalist's learn all about food shelf life, weapon calibers, edible weeds but will not tackle the how's and why's of their vehicle? Is getting a genuine BOV, with camo paint, gonna be any different than your current Honda Civic? The Chilton’s Manuals are easy to read and very well diagrammed for EVERY SINGLE PART of the vehicle you own. And yes they pretty much have every vehicle covered made in the last 60 years - domestic and foreign. Trust me. Getting one of these and learning about your vehicle, get someone to explain things along the way if need be, can be a money saver and life saver.

Since age 18 - I have owned 5 cars, 2 station wagons, 4 pickup trucks, 1 Suburban and 1 Jeep - a 1982 CJ 7 with a factory installed V- 8 and yes it had those big tread tires. At present I have a 1998 Ford Ranger, 2 wheel drive, with a 4 cylinder engine. I have owned this for over 9 years. It is now approaching 152,000 miles. It averages 22 to 24 miles to the gallon of gas. It always passes inspection. The tires are the standard 205/75 R 14 - the 14 meaning the rims are 14 inches in width. It will cruise nicely at 70 to 75 MPH on the highways but I keep it at 65 MPH. To lift the hood you see an engine you could almost eat off of - yes I spray/wash it down on occasion. This is my everyday vehicle. Behind and under the seats it holds various things for various situations. This truck is always with me and me with it. I view this truck as a tool just like a hammer or bow saw. It is a survival piece of equipment even though it does not have a brush guard mounted on the front or 4 wheel drive. When it comes to upgrading a vehicle the 1st thing to check out is a “Keystone Catalog “from an auto parts store that carries it - some Pep Boys, Auto Zone's and Car Quests will have it. The local NAPA here does not have it nor does the local Auto Zone. It has over 250,000 upgrade items for on road and off road vehicles - this is the ultimate book to view as it carries all manufacturers’ products. This is something a store will let you look through and they will order the part for you - no direct buying as they are a supplier to retail stores. The 2nd catalog to look into is a “J.C. Whitney Catalog" - they have plenty of on road/off road products and also get Jeep/Wrangler catalog specific - this can be ordered for home delivery or you can view their products online. It never hurts to check out the off road magazines available for ideas.

To help me survive the daily drive, part time landscaping or the hundreds of trips I have made up to the mountains I have relied on the 2 catalogs I just mentioned. ALL vehicles are factory installed with an 8 inch rear view mirror - I found a 12 inch rear view mirror which allows me to see 4 - 5 lanes behind me on any large interstate. In New Jersey snow chains are illegal - I have a pair for each of the front and rear tires. In New Jersey it is now illegal to sell/buy portable air tanks (to non commercial buyers - only garages are allowed now) - I got a 5 gallon air tank which will supply enough air to get 2 tires almost back up to par. On my front and rear bumpers I found and put DOT approved high reflective red/white strips - also put one across the top of the tailgate - so I look like a road construction supervisor, I get seen at night. You may not agree but the deer whistles mounted on the front bumper sure seem to work - their heads go up at about 100 yards distance and I am amazed that the closer I get they usually walk away from the road. ALL vehicles are factory installed with a 5 watt/8 watt back up light - in most states this is now outlawed including NJ of course but I found 55 watt Halogen back up lights ( they have a long use warning - could melt the plastic lens cover) which when I am in the mountains it is a real life saver. The front and rear bumpers have stainless steel eyebolts on each corner - it only took me about 20 mins to drill the holes and mount them - great for tying down stuff. My passenger side air bag is gone and is now lined giving me an extra glove box - if memory serves 11 inches long, 6 inches high and 5 inches deep. An auto parts store provided me with a Velcro kit which I used to attach the air bag cover to the dash board - easy on easy off and not detectable - NOTE this is illegal in NJ if I do not disclose that the air bag is missing if I sell the vehicle. On older style pickup trucks they have a large, threaded J hook and clamp for holding the underneath spare tire - I drilled a hole in the back wall of the bed (driver side) - inserted the J hook - I put my 2nd spare tire on it - screwed the clamp on until it tightened up on the rim - nice and secured. The bottom of the bed has 2 factory pre drilled holes - one in each corner - I left enough space between the side of the bed wall and the 2nd spare tire for 2 clamps top and bottom to be secured which hold one CB radio antennae - the cable runs through the punched out hole into the cab - both antennae and CB get removed at night - again easy in easy out. The factory installed dual cup holder/assorted junk holder gone to make room for the CB radio. Most factory installed horns are in the 123 to 128 decibel range in either a high or low pitch - it’s great to find a 132 high pitch horn and add it with the original - I did not do the wiring - Had someone smart do it. Both High and Low beam headlights are now higher intensity Halogen lights - much better on the mountain roads. Got my light bar (2 - 250 thousand watt off road lights) for the roof from the keystone catalog - did some modifying to the factory clamps to make it more sturdy and it’s easy on easy off. There are 2 or 3 other goodies I have added to the truck inside the cab. It is the little things that can make a difference, with any vehicle, on the daily commute that will give you an edge in heavy traffic. Surviving is not just after some disaster. There is not one super deluxe BOV out there that will get through 1 million cars jammed/stalled/dead on the highways. Remember that. Oh did I mention the factory installed split bench seats gone and replaced with 2005 Ford Ranger bucket seats - comfy!

- Crazy Joe

...that is all.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

All I Want For Christmas...

By Flea - Be A Survivor

It’s funny you would never know there was an economic crisis of any kind if you stood around and watched all the lemmings spending their hard earned money on consumer garbage. People have yet to learn their lessons with credit cards, which is basically legalized loan sharking. I don’t feel sorry for anyone anymore. The consumerist herd made their bed, now sleep in it and stop complaining about your situation.

My family decided long ago to bypass the whole gift giving thing, sure we take care of the little ones but the adults haven’t exchanged gifts in years. None of that I bought you a $100 gift and you turn around and buy me a $100 gift bullshit…we put a stop to it long ago. The war on Christmas (and yes it is a war) and yes I said Christmas not “holiday season” is in full swing and it has been reduced to a consumer orgy of spending and nothing more. Not that this is anything new mind you but I would have figured people to wise up a LONG time ago.

“Black Friday”, more like, “Moron Friday" if you ask me. Companies have deals on limited quantities of merchandise to lure you to the store. The practice should be illegal if you ask me. You are selling a $59 TOM-TOM GPS, then I want a goddamn rain check when you sell the 3 that you had in the state! No rain check? No inventory? Then no advertising that price…period.

Screw that, I have had my TV for 10 years and my $29 DVD player works just fine. I don’t need any HD or Blu-ray bullshit…I will replace my shit when it breaks and not a minute sooner.

What pray tell am I spending my money on then you ask? Getting out of debt! I don’t have much, a truck payment and a mortgage is all but in my opinion that is too much. My wife and I are sending every extra dime we have to pay off my truck which should be paid off in about 6 months (3 years EARLY) and then we are going to blast the mortgage. We already send one extra payment a year (shaves about 7 years of a 30 year mortgage if you do that) but plan on sending the money we are currently using to pay the truck off to that when we are done. My goal is to have my 30 year mortgage paid off in 11 years.

So go ahead keep buying shit by the truckload, me? I am buying my freedom. Debt free sounds good to me.

...that is all.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quote Of The Day

By Flea - Be A Survivor

"But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth."

- Umberto Eco

...that is all.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Guest Post: Crazy Joe - Real Military Surplus

By Crazy Joe - Be A Survivor

I remember those tales back in high school about guys who could get used Army surplus motorcycles for 50 dollars. They were always "in a crate" and ready to go. At age 16 what a dream come true that would have been. Well in this day and age as costs rise along with taxation it is great to know and find out it does exist and can be done.

Over the past 12 years I have several friends who have gotten the 2 1/2 ton army truck "DUECE AND A HALF" in running condition for under 1000 dollars while some had to bid as high as 5,000 dollars. One friend just got one 4 months ago from a guy up the road who purchased it from this site but did not have the time to restore it properly. My friend paid a little over the 4000 dollars the man paid. It is in the process of getting sand blasted now and will get the olive drab paint job when done.

The diesel engine is in great shape and ready for this - it has only 17,000 original miles. I went over the engine top to bottom and was impressed. All the tires are in excellent shape. The worst part about it is the condition of the seat covers. I have another friend who recently bid on 2 "dueces" and lost but he is getting ready to try again. This web site is the official government contracted company in charge of selling all military surplus.

At present there is a not to old Jeep Cherokee Laredo, located at Fort Meade - Maryland, which would be a real steal at 800 dollars. No matter what your interest from welding equipment to cars, trucks, clothing, boots, you know what the military has and they are selling it. I know of no other place where a pallet of woodland camo field jackets can be had for 150 dollars.

I have read all the pages in regards to signing up for the auctions. There is plenty to read and taking your time with the procedures will save you grief. There is a hotline for help. Should you be the winning bidder you must have proper identification to get access to the military posts or national guard/reserve armories to pick up your gear - this can include vehicle insurance card, valid drivers license and the forms from the site regarding your lot number and items being picked up. Being in South Jersey I have been watching Fort Dix and Maguire Air Force Base along with the surplus storage facility up north by Fort Monmouth.

Across the river in Pennsylvania there are a number of national guard armories selling off equipment and vehicles which are not far from me. Here is the link should you be interested in at least surfing through it. If you yourself or you and your friends could use a 1 1/2 ton trailer and a deuce and a half to tow it then this is the place to find them. And when 2 or more "chip in" the cost becomes even less. Networking and sharing hands down benefits all. Just to spend a little time surfing this site, I am sure, will whet anyone's appetite. Good hunting.

Crazy Joe in South Jersey

Here is the link: Government Surplus Auctions at Government Liquidation

...that is all.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Equipment Review: Cuisinart Bread Maker

By Flea - Be A Survivor

The wife and I recently treated ourselves to the Cuisinart CBK-200 2-Pound Convection Automatic Bread Makerso we can stop buying bread from the store. Anyone who has lived up north and moved down south knows the bread situation is dire (except for biscuits of course). I haven't had decent bread since I left NJ.

We purchased the bread maker and set out immediately to put it to use. Below is a picture of the bread maker and the the resulting 1 lb loaf of white bread we made. It was hands down some of the best bread I have had in a long time. My biggest regret is not listening to my wife and getting this thing sooner!





We put all the required ingredients into the mixing bowl placed in in the bread maker. We selected 1 lb loaf, white bread and medium crust and let her rip. I was totally a skeptic as I watched the paddle beat the dough into submission for 30 minutes. The next three cycles were rise with a short knead thrown in. The machine beeped and paused alerting us to remove the paddle before that last rise and bake cycles.

I removed the paddle pressed continue and 1 hour and 40 minutes later there was a beautiful loaf of bread in the machine. The total time elapsed was 3 hours from start to finish with our only interaction being to remove the paddle.

We let the bread cool and then cut some slices to try with butter, they were outstanding to say the least.

Here are some stats on the machine:

* Programmable bread machine with convection fan adjusts speed and timing for foolproof results
* 16 preset menu options including Low Carb, Gluten-Free, and Artisan Dough settings
* 3 crust colors and 3 loaf sizes; over 100 bread, dough, sweet cake, and jam combinations
* Audible tone indicates when to add mix-ins; 12-hour delay-start timer; power-failure backup
* Measures 18 by 12-1/5 by 14-7/8 inches; 3-year limited warranty

I have to say it was some of the best money I have spent. We tend to stay with Kitchen-Aid and Cuisinart because we have had great success with durability with those brands. I am a firm believer that if I am going to drop money on something buying quality once makes perfect sense even if it costs more.

This thing even makes jam! The wife and I do that the old fashion way but I may just give it a try if the results are half as good as they were with the bread I will be impressed.

To say I recommend this product would be an understatement.

...that is all.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

What Is Your EDC?

By Flea - Be A Survivor

People should put some thought into what their EDC is (Everyday Carry) and I am not talking firearms. If a firearm is a part of your EDC then fine, not everyone has the luxury due to varying laws across the nation.

My everyday carry consists of a knife, micro light, keys, cell phone, wallet and hat. My truck is loaded down with a hell of a lot more than that but that is the subject of another post to come soon.

The knife is a Victorinox Swiss Army Rucksackand I swap that with a Benchmade Griptillianonce in awhile to change things up a bit. The Rucksack is great because of the various tools available in it including the bottle opener, saw and blade (among other things). I did reviews of the Rucksack and Griptillian that you can read if interested. Carrying a knife is just habit for me, I was a boy scout and have always had a pocket knife on me in one form or another since I was a youngster. The uses for the knife are obvious so I won't belabor the usefulness of carrying one with you at all times (where allowed by law).

The Micro-Lightis one of the small ones you squeeze that goes right on your key chain. It is ridiculously bright for it's size and is great anytime some light is needed such as in a parking lot at night or the movie theater. Having a light on you at all times can get unpractical unless you go with something small like a microlight.

The key chain carries all of my keys which I keep to an absolute minimum. I have my car key, my wife's car key and the house key...that is it. Nothing is more annoying or LOUD (sometimes you want stealth!!!) than carrying a HUGE key chain with keys on it that you cannot even remember what they are for. If for no other reason you should have your keys with you at all times as a weapon of last resort. Jamming a key in someone's eye will do in a pinch, especially for the ladies who may have an attacker who is physically stronger than they are.

The cell phone (fully charged - don't leave the house unless it is FULLY charged) is for communication purposes. Ladies, once again I am going to single you out, DO NOT LEAVE your house alone without a cell phone! If you breakdown somewhere you will thank me...

My wallet obviously holds my cash, ID and credit card (I have only 1 and you should too!!!). Men should only carry their wallet in the front pocket unless the back pocket buttons. You are less prone to a pick pocket if he can't see the ridiculous outline of a wallet on your ass (because he won't know where to go for) and secondly because you will most likely feel someone reaching into the front of your pants! Well, let's hope :)

I always bring a hat with me everywhere even if I don't always where it. It is great for helping with sweat, protecting your head from the elements, keeping the sun out of your eyes, etc. The old saying goes if your feet are cold put a hat on and it is 100% true, you lose a tremendous amount of body heat through your head.

...that is all.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Survival Links: Urbanspoon.com

By Flea - Be A Survivor

RangerSquirrel turned me onto this site in one of our many email exchanges. Urbanspoon.com is a great site where you can find the best places to eat in your area complete with user reviews from the average joe (all for free).

I found a place near us that makes the best burgers I have ever had. I am constantly finding new great little local places that have great food to support. I am a big believer in supporting mom and pop operations over the national type chain restaurants.

Check out Urbanspoon.com today!

...that is all.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Quote Of The Day

By Flea - Be A Survivor

"Good distraction frees us from emotional pain. Bad distraction gives you a mouth full of whizz."

- Tugginmypudha, teacher of his holiness the Guru Pitka

...that is all.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Giving to Charity

By Flea - Be A Survivor

One thing I do recommend to folks is to give to charity if you possibly can. I know many folks are strapped but in tough economic times not only do everyday folks suffer but the people who count on help from charities suffer because people stop giving or reduce their giving substantially.

One way my wife and I give to charity and get something back is to do sponsored walks for causes like breast cancer and AIDS. You generally have to pay a registration fee to get into the event and a portion of that fee goes to charity. In return we usually get a tee shirt, some great exercise and snacks.

We give to our church every week which enables the church to do things like provide food and clothing to families in need in our area.

I firmly believe in karma and if you give you will get more in return. It has proven to be true in our case time and time again. We seem to do better, emotionally and financially when we actively give all we can to worthy causes.

I always take clothes and stuff to Goodwill to give the folks who are less fortunate in my community a chance to have them at a reduced cost.

Giving to charity will make you feel better. I can assure you that you will have a renewed sense of peace and goodwill once you make the commitment to donate to a worthy charity.

Now is a time more than ever when charities need your support. It doesn't have to monetary either, there are plenty of charities you can donate your time too and organizations like the Red Cross really need blood. Giving blood is painless, safe and actually proven to be very good for you (especially men).

...that is all.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Learn To Help Yourself

By Flea - Be A Survivor

Being a survivor isn’t about having a ton of money or owning the latest model DPMS AR-15 with Eotech holographic site. It isn't about having a bomb shelter and a massive store of food, although no one would argue that having any of these items would make surviving any more difficult.

Being a survivor is about having a survival state of mind, the survivor mentality as I have referred to it on this blog several dozen times. Why do you ask, do I keep bringing this up? BECAUSE is what allows you to sit at the grown ups table instead of being relegated to sitting with a bunch of snotty nosed screaming kids.

The first thing we have to do is stop whining. This has surpassed baseball as America’s favorite pass time. We whine, we bitch, we complain, we want shit handed to us on a silver platter. Get off your hiney and make it work for you. For cryin out loud your circumstances aren’t going to get better unless you make them better yourself.

Ok so you are one of the hand feed me everything crowd…look at many countries across the pond who receive all their little bones, tossed to them by their respective governments like good little doggies. Do you actually believe their life is better than what you have here? Hey you want to be handed everything that is your business, I personally would like to pass on that if you don’t mind. I can take care of myself. Keep me safe from invaders and leave me to my own devices…thanks and my check is in the mail.

Get off the couch, put down the remote and get a second or third job if you need to…it won’t be forever…and YES I have done this so yes I can speak from experience. I have no problem with some down on their luck folks getting a helping hand, I DO NOT…but we have a large share of folks who are just a bunch of lazy sacks of poop who refuse to do an honest days work in their lives. These people I have no time or sympathy for.

Make a promise to yourself today to work on something that you don’t like about yourself. You don’t have to change it over night but at least pick something and start to make a real effort to improve that one short coming. Don’t tell me you have none, we all do. Start today to make that change and you may just tip the scales in your favor for a change. Despite what many people will tell you, hard work will pay off in the end, it may not seem like it but it will…I promise.

...that is all.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Peer Into My Mind...

By Flea - Be A Survivor

It's funny but anyone who has followed this blog for awhile knows I am a lttle different than a lot of the other preppers/survivalists out there. I share many of the same traits and beliefs (but not all) and as with everyone we all have different life experiences and I am no exception.

Here is what I can definitively say the I AM:

I am a 36 year old white male.

I am a conservative on most issues but not all.

I am more in the Libertarian or even Republican camps than with the Democrats on most issues and that simply stems from my belief that the Federal government will screw most things up if given the opportunity and are therefore better to not be involved in the first place.

I vote in EVERY election whether it is Federal, State or Local in nature (religiously).

I am a Catholic.

I am a business person (IT), I work in the business world for a big corporation, who believe it or not treats me very well. In fact working for them is one of the better things to ever happen to me.

I have a 401k, yes and I even put money in it. There is a phenomenon called dollar cost averaging, I believe in it. Your mileage may vary. I still have faith in Capitalism, call me foolish (and some commenter's will I am sure)...hell it wouldn't be the first time and won't be the last ;)

I am HAM radio operator. No I cannot give you my call sign and HAMS should be able to figure out why based on the fact I write under a pseudonym.

I am a card carrying member of the NRA.

I can finally say I have a college degree. So...yes I am a college graduate.

I can balance my checkbook and enjoy Sudoku, I guess that makes me a genius of sorts :)

I drive a pickup truck but I don't have a rifle rack in the back window. I make up for it with my CB radio.

I drink alcohol on occasion but it has never been an issue for me. My preferred poison is either Captain and Coke or Scotch on the rocks.

I get a flu shot every year and I don't catch the flu (haven't had it in years)...and yes I received ALL of my childhood vaccinations and lived to tell it. I will skip the H1N1 vaccine for none of the reasons you think.

I enjoy long walks on the beach and candle lit dinners (OK I am kidding).

I love to read and watch movies.

My favorite sport is hockey (no I am not a Canadian).

I have always been a bit of a loner and I really like it that way. I don't have a "best friend" other than my wife. To be honest she is the only other person whose company that I TRULY enjoy.

I enjoy reading your emails and comments. I really do so keep them coming!

...that is all.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Guest Post: Crazy Joe - Real Men Love Yardsales

By Crazy Joe - Be A Survivor

It is October and many folks are cleaning out the basement or garage one last time for that nice fall day to have one last yard sale. Ah men scoff - yard sales. The thing our women folk try to drag us to on occasion. Yard sales are a place some of our money goes to and in return the women folk bring home more dumb junk to hang on the front door or store in the garage. If we are lucky it will get sold when she has a yard sale in the spring. That does not guarantee we will get our money back but at least it is out of the basement or closet.

I remember being in my early 20's and my mom tried to get my dad to go with her. He used to say "a bunch of someone elses crap which I don't need and that's why they are selling it - it's crap". Yes I had heard about yard sales and saw them while driving down the road. Lots of women milling about over tables on a front lawn. I knew to stay clear of yard sales until one day a friend of mine needed help. Carl told me his mom's friend had some lawn equipment she was getting rid of. Carl had a lawn business and could use some more tools and a new spreader especially since it was gonna be free. So I went with Carl to this woman's house to help him load up whatever she was giving away.

We got there and she greeted us and explained how her HUSBAND DIED two weeks before. She took us to his domain. Out behind the house was the large garage which housed his life, his tools. This is where this man obviously created, planned, built and repaired things the past 40 years. Not as fancy as "Norm's This Old House Workshop" but BOY!!! this guy had some stuff. Table saw, wood and metal lathe, drill press and enough hand tools and hand power tools to stock a hardware store. She told us how she was having a yard sale next Saturday and was getting rid of everything he owned. This also included all his hunting gear in the house. I had an awakening, a realization in those first 10 minutes at this woman's house. She was going to sell a lifetime of stuff and here we were being offered dibs and for free anything we wanted. To bad I am a medium to large and this guy was an extra large. I was a newly wed and took 10 pfaltzgraff dinner plates and matching sandwich plates - the original brown and cobalt blue "folk pattern" which I still have to this day some 30 years later. I also grabbed a small tool box and a few hand tools. After helping Carl load up all the yard equipment we thanked the widow and headed out.

I started checking out this yard sale thing and learned many of them were being held for the same reason. I then started stopping, while by myself of course, at them. I started seeing things that were barely going for pennies on the dollar. Also good manners and nice conversation could get me "oh go ahead and take that one too no charge - what's a quarter to me". It did not feel odd being a 20 something surrounded by 40 to 70 year old women. I was on a mission. I discovered I loved yard sales because the huge savings it could bring me. I was finding stuff hardly ever used and brand name stuff too. In secret I started telling my friends about what I was finding and buying. It blew their minds especially when I had the Stanley Skill Saw with me that I only paid 4 bucks for. The guy died. His wife wanted it out of the house. This scenario was commonplace.

So men I strongly suggest the next time YOU ARE ALONE and you see a yard sale - STOP. Sure there are lots of baby toys and clothes, house wares and Christmas decorations BUT!!!! you may see the pot of tools at the end of the rainbow. A friend of mine recently got the one piece overall thermal lined Carhart brand jumpsuit...how can you say no to this for 10 bucks. Sure it was a bit worn but no holes and no rips or tears. My last find was a three foot bow saw with a nearly new blade - mine for 3 bucks. The real "find" in this is that it is made of real thicker steel and was made in America maybe 40 years ago. This is the last point if not the more important one. So much of this stuff is 30, 40 or even 50 years old. Built to last and made in America.

Why wait for the real recession/depression to go out and save some money. If you are in need of some car jack stands or a huge table top vise weighing 50 pounds - price it out new so when you see it for sale for 10 bucks let me know how much you saved. And remember men - real men love yard sales but never tell or let the women folk find out. That could be the end of us.

Happy tool, gear or equipment hunting...Crazy Joe in South Jersey

...that is all.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Guest Post: Ranger Squirrel - Swine Flu (H1N1), Mandatory Vaccines, & Abortion?!

By Ranger Squirrel - Ranger Squirrel's Ramblings

I was listening to The Survival Podcast (I think it was episode 288) on my way home from work the other day and the host was talking about the things that could lead to civil unrest in this country.

As he was rattling off different things, there was one big issue I didn't hear him mention: Abortion. Now I could have missed it (I was simultaneously driving, texting, eating, listening, and trying to pick up a quarter I found on the floorboards), but I'm guessing he didn't even bother to say it because it's too obvious.

Before I get started here, let me remind everyone that while I do have a law degree, I am not a practicing attorney and this area of law was never my specialty. This is all just speculation based on my legal training and experience. In other words, I freely admit that my legal analysis may be flawed and I encourage you to correct me via comments on this blog or emails to rangersquirrel@gmail.com if you know the law.

Also - this post is not about abortion and whether it is right or wrong. It's about the potential of a newer hot-button issue (mandatory vaccines) to cause the abortion argument to flare up again and possibly lead to civil unrest.

There has been been a lot of discussion about the swine flu vaccine and whether the government is going to make it mandatory. Generally, there are three "groups" of people who are objecting to the idea: 1) people with religious objections to vaccines in general; 2) concerned citizens who don't want the government forcing them to do anything; and 3) members of the tinfoil hat brigade who are convinced that the vaccines are a way of delivering mind-control chips, command activated poisons, or GPS tracking devices - or maybe all three.

Group #2 is by far the largest. Group #1 has the best legal protection. Group #3...well...what can we really say about group #3...especially since we all know we already got all three of those things via the flouride in our water anyway?

The folks in Group #1 really don't have much to worry about - theirs is a long standing protection, upheld time and time again in courts, and firmly grounded in fundamental constitutional rights. Unless something changes radically in terms of the way this vaccine is administered, the people who fit into group #1 will just need to fill out a form and go on about their business.

I'm not touching Group #3 except to say that receiving this vaccine may someday be incidental to their visit to a quiet and restful place with lots of people in white uniforms and plush, padded walls.

It's group #2 that I find interesting from a legal standpoint (and, for the record, I fall somewhere in this category). Many, if not most, of the people in this group would define themselves as either Libertarian or Conservative. Many, if not most of those, would also define themselves as pro-life...and THAT is where things get really interesting.

Unless the people in group #2 can make a valid claim that taking this vaccine would be a violation of the laws of their religion, they'll need to base their objection on some other constitutional right. Most of them, however, have taken vaccines in the past and allowed their children to be vaccinated as well, so a religious claim doesn't seem likely. They could claim it's an inconvenience but they'll lose in court. They could claim that it's stupid, but they'll lose in court. They can even claim that they double-dog object, but they'll lose in court. To have a shot at winning, they'll need to base their claim on a constitutional right. We know religion works, but failing that, what's another option? What fundamental constitutional right can they claim if not religion?

Unless I'm mistaken (quite possible), the only possible answer here is privacy. "Where is that in the constitution?" some will surely ask. I'm serious, look here and do a CTRL-F "find" for the word privacy. You won't find it in the text of the Constitution. That's because it's an implied right, "found" by the courts based on other things that are in the constitution. In fact, it just so happens that there is even a well defined and highly litigated body of case law dealing specifically with privacy as it relates to medical procedures. Moreover, those cases weigh the government's interest to protect a citizen or citizens against the individual's right to privacy. In essence, those cases say that there is a personal right to privacy that protects you from government interference in your medical care up until the point that the government's interest outweighs your own. The case in this category that is most well known is Roe v. Wade.

It seems to me that in order to avoid a mandatory H1N1 vaccine, one of the arguments you would need to make is that you have that right to privacy and that it outweighs the government's interest in protecting the populace from H1N1.

But if you're pro-life and you feel strongly about it, I think you're in a bit of a pickle. You'll need to argue that Roe v. Wade is good law inasmuch as it protects the personal right to privacy with regard to medical procedures. So pro-life people will need to argue in favor of at least some aspects of Roe v. Wade - the single most hated pro-choice case in history.

Now those with a legal education may argue that you don't need to cite to Roe at all and that there are other ways to make similar arguments (there is a line of cases dealing with involuntary sterilization for example), but I have to suggest two things: 1) if the attorney is really doing her job and representing her client well, she'll need to at least explore this option unless the client specifically says otherwise; and 2) even if you, as the person making this argument, don't touch the issue of abortion at all, you can bet the pro-choice folks will latch onto whatever argument you do end up making and use it for their own fight...the analogy is just too easy to pass up.

Now - is this issue going to be a rebirth for the abortion debate and lead to riots and general unrest? Who knows. The bottom line to me is that there are a bunch of people in Group #2 who will 1) already be pissed off by the idea of a mandatory vaccine; 2) will find themselves even more pissed off when they realize what they have to argue to win; and 3) are already pissed off about a bunch of other stuff the government is doing...eventually, it seems like something's gotta give.

Just sayin...

Ranger Squirrel

Flea - This one should get some debate going...Thanks RS!

...that is all.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quote Of The Day

By Flea - Be A Survivor

"Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, is much safer to be feared than loved."

- Macchiavelli

Macchiavelli was speaking about Leaders...I thought this was quite fitting for our times.

...that is all.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Survival 101 Links: The Consumerist

By Flea - Be A Survivor

I wanted to share a website with you that I read religiously, it is a consumer advocate website called The Consumerist.

Their parent company is Consumer Reports and they are an outlet for consumers to complain and get advice on dealing with companies you feel have done you wrong.

I followed a lot of their advice when I was dealing with my home owner's insurance company recently and it helped IMMENSELY.

Here is a tidbit from their "About Us" Page:

"The Consumerist empowers consumers by informing and entertaining them about the top consumer issues of the day. We are a leading online resource for consumer-driven advice about dealing with everything from non-existent customer service to onerous cell-phone contracts to ever-shrinking (and ever-more-expensive) grocery products. The Consumerist is published by Consumer Media LLC, a not-for-profit subsidiary of Consumers Union, and takes no outside advertising.

The Consumerist highlights the persistent, shameless gaffes of modern consumerism - and the latest scams, rip-offs, hot deals and freebies. We also encourage our readers to tell us about their everyday experiences with absurdities of consumer culture - and suggest ways for them to fight back. Time magazine described us as "…The blog where shoppers can bite back and sometimes even leave deep teeth marks … there's lot of stupid capitalism on display: the man who spent what seemed like a century on the phone trying to cancel an AOL account … warranty repairs that never seem to be covered by the warranty … health insurance coverage denied on a whim. The Consumerist is a place to bite back, or at least cheer the underdog baring his teeth."

The Consumerist is the 38th most popular blog in the world, as measured by Technorati, a site that tracks blogs and other social media."


I read The Consumerist everyday and you should too.

...that is all.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

How To Survive Business Travel

By Flea - Be A Survivor

In my everyday life I am an “Information Technology Professional”…which is code for I know a bit more about computers than a box of rocks. In my profession I have had to do a fair amount of traveling which has actually been nice. It isn’t so much travel that I get burnt out but just enough to keep things interesting.

I have been across the border to Montreal Canada and even across the sea to Bonn Germany (great food there by the way). I have been to a couple of dozen airports and cities across this great nation. Some of my favorite US cities are Dallas, Memphis and Philly (would not want to live there but a cool place to visit).

For those of you who travel for business I have some survival tips to make your experiences much more pleasant and efficient. Some of these are common sense and some I have learned through the school of hard knocks but hopefully you will find them all useful.

The first thing you need to do especially if you travel a lot is sign up with all the reward programs that airlines, hotels and car rental agencies offer. If you can, pick a few favorites and always try to stay at those places and use those carriers. My company lets up keep frequent flier miles and I have gotten SEVERAL free round trip tickets just from flying with a particular airline more than another.

The carriers I have had the most luck with have been Northwest and Continental (Yeah who’d a thunk it!). I usually try and stay at Marriott brand hotels and I usually stick with National Car Rental. When I rent a car I NEVER go to the counter, I go right to the Emerald club aisle, throw my crap in a car and drive to the booth (benefit of being a member). I get a lot of free perks from Marriott like free rooms and meals and from Continental I have gotten round trip tickets and first class upgrades. If you don’t sign up for these programs and you travel frequently, you are CRAZY!

My second piece of advice is NEVER check bags with an airline, especially in Philly the black hole of baggage. I take my laptop backpack and a roller carry-on, to say I am a master packer would be an understatement. My wife is amazed when I travel for two weeks out of those bags; all it takes is planning. The benefit of not checking a bag should be obvious but I can tell you first hand I have been in meetings with business people wearing sneakers and sweats because the airline lost their bag. It’s also great to get off the plane and head right to where you need to go without having to wait for the bags to be unloaded.

Make sure you have directions printed ahead of time for all the destinations you need to get to. Don’t rely on the rental car to have GPS, If you have a GPS you can bring with you, great, otherwise make sure you HAVE directions.

Some quick tips would be:
- Make sure you have some cash on you.
- Make sure to get plenty of sleep before, during, and after your trip.
- Try to eat reasonably; nothing is worse than upset stomach or diarrhea when you are stuck on a plane.
- If you need to use your personal credit or debit card, call your bank and let them know you are traveling (this will help prevent the Fraud Prevention Unit from freezing access because of charges in strange cities).
- Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water.
- Even if it is a business trip try and see some sights if you can.
- Bring reading material like books or magazines to read in the hotel and on the plane.
- Dress comfortably when you are going to airports because security can be a nightmare, slip on shoes (sneakers) and sweats are what I usually wear. I will change to business attire when I get to my destination.
- Be patient, delays in travel are inevitable…screaming at the airline employees won’t get you anywhere. In fact I have gotten fast tracked and bumped up by being SUPER NICE to them.
- Most importantly try to have some fun!

...that is all.

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Start Saving Today For Future Financial Security

By Flea - Be A Survivor

People have lost their way when it comes to money. Many people have no concept of living other than paycheck to paycheck which is quite the precarious position to be in. Saving some money for a rainy day is probably one of those most important things you can do for yourself and your family.

“But Flea I am broke!”
“But Flea I don’t make that much!”
“But Flea there ain’t anything left after I pay my bills!”

These are the excuses I can already hear in my head as I write this post. My response to them is, that is the weakest BS I have ever heard in my life. There is always something that can be put away and if there isn’t maybe you should adjust your position by getting a side job or finding a way to make some extra money (legally of course).

My wife and I started very small when we started our first savings account. We both work and we elected to put back $100 a pay period. We get paid every two weeks so that worked out to $200 a month. That account now has several thousand dollars in it DESPITE the fact we had to tap it for a few thousand a couple of years back.

The key to success is to pretend that money DOES NOT EXIST! Make it difficult to get to and adjust your spending so that the money that goes into the account is never considered in your spending. We soon learned to live without the extra $200 a month. We also used a passbook savings account so that it was more difficult to get to than using a few clicks of a mouse button.

The best thing to do is to have the money directly deposited into your savings account. This will ensure you never see the cash, make regular deposits and above all avoid the temptation to spend it rather than save it.

We consider this account money of last resort which means we really need to be in a pickle to have to tap into it. The power of interest has helped as well, although a money market savings account or CD might be a better choice if you want to maximize interest.

There is no excuse for not having some savings put back. You are placing yourself and your family in danger if you do not. Start with whatever you can afford, even $20 a month will get you headed in the right direction. The key here is to start, lack of action in this area is setting yourself up for a real disaster in the future when you will be forced to incur debt or do something crazy to make up for a financial shortfall.

Get started with a savings program today to give financial security and peace of mind to yourself and those you love.

...that is all.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

On The Prepper Podcast

By Flea - Be A Survivor

I was a guest on the Prepper Podcast, so if you want to hear me rambling, check it out.

Thanks to Matt from the KPN for allowing me to be on!

...that is all.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Flu-View

By Flea - Be A Survivor

While I still stay this whole H1N1 thing is a crock of shit, I did find a pretty neat website that shows the "hotspots" in the country. It is updated on a weekly basis...

The media would love for you to panic but like I have said before the regular flu kills 250,000 people in the world every year...so wake me up when there is a real emergency.

Flu-View Website

...that is all.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Quote Of The Day

By Flea - Be A Survivor

"A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties."

- Harry S. Truman

...that is all.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Some More Link Love

By Flea - Be A Survivor

Received the following:

"Hello,

Just wanted to let you know that I added your website to our list of survival blogs and websites. It’s listed at http://offgridsurvival.com/survivalwebsites/

If you would like to link back to me my site is at http://offgridsurvival.com

If not don’t worry love the site and was glad to add it to the list. Hope the link helps you get some more readers!

Robert Richardson
Off Grid Survival"

Seems like a good list of links he has there so check them out!

...that is all.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

By Flea - Be A Survivor

This post doesn’t have a hell of a lot to do with survival but I feel it is important nonetheless. Personal pride in your hygiene and your surroundings should be high on your list of priorities. In my previous life I worked in an occupation that took me to people’s homes and I was dumbfounded to say the least at some of the conditions people CHOOSE to live in.

People, no one is saying that if you can only afford a 1 bedroom apartment on the wrong side of the tracks there is something wrong with that…but for the love of God can you keep the place clean? This whole conversation came about because of my little experience “riding the lightning”. The contractor who came to do the work said several times to me, “It is obvious you take care of your property.”

I finally asked him what made it so obvious. He said my lawn and landscaping were neatly manicured, my house was clean and well maintained, and the fact that I took an obvious interest in what they were doing and how they were repairing things gave it away. He told me that as a contractor he has seen some houses that you would be amazed people live in.

You can still take pride in your appearance and surroundings even if you don’t have a lot of money. In fact money has nothing to do with it, laziness and indifference do.

People who take time to clean and groom themselves, wear clean clothes, and keep their living space clean and organized are far more likely to get respect from people than the richest slob. There is no excuse to walk around stinking and wearing dirty clothes. Looking neat and clean will get you further with people every time.

I used to work as a security guard in my younger days and there was a gentleman who was an absolute pig; his teeth were yellow and rotted, his clothes were stained, his hair was greasy, and he was a slob when it came to the desk we shared. When he would leave I actually went around disinfecting things like the phone and the desk to get his stink off of it. I actually had to wipe flakes of his skin off the desk because he was so dirty his skin would slough off.

People need to take pride in their appearance and respect others when it comes to shared work areas. Keeping a neat and tidy residence will give you a feeling of peace and well being. Keeping a neat and tidy appearance will cause people to “want” to be around you instead of avoiding you like the plague.

This should be obvious but here we go:
Take a shower or bath at least every other day (and USE SOAP).
Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
Trim your fingernails.
Shave regularly (guys with beards - trim and neaten any growth)
Comb your hair.
Wear clean clothes every day.
Keep your house neat and organized.
If you have animals clean MORE often.
Vacuum or mop floors at least once a week.
Dust at least once every week or two.
Paint every 5 years. You can extend this if you don’t smoke inside and you occasionally wipe the walls down with a damp rag.
Clean the bathrooms in your house at least every few days.
Clean your windows thoroughly at least twice a year.
Check the refrigerator every two weeks for forgotten science experiments.
If you have a dog give them a bath at least once every two months (I have seen folks with dogs who stink so bad I wanted to puke after I pet it).
Don’t leave mounds of dishes in the sink.
Mow your lawn/weed whack/and EDGE if you have a yard
And for the love of Pete, use a deodorant!

...that is all.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Rest In Peace

I just heard the horrible news that JWR's (Survivalblog) wife Linda passed away after a long struggle with illness.

JWR has been a giant in the survival world, keep him and his family in your prayers during this difficult time.

God bless you in your time of mourning JWR!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Flying Solo And Yearly Chores

By Flea - Be A Survivor

Yes I have been busy and I apologize for not posting as frequently as I used to. I am flying solo this week as the wife is away visiting family so like a typically guy I have been eating badly, bathing infrequently and staying up late watching "Lockup: Raw". There is something strangely fascinating about watching the intricacies of prison life...I am addicted to that show and it drives the wife crazy.

But "HA!" she isn't here so Lockup and frozen pizza it is!

I have been doing some of my yearly chores around the house such as power washing the house, re-mulching the flower beds, cleaning the garage out and clearing out my now defunct vegetable garden.

The yearly chores are all important and sometimes forgotten. If you have a wood fence you should clean and seal it. If you have thatch in your grass, de-thatch. If items outside need a coat of paint get out there an get to work.

You will probably laugh at this but nothing makes a house look like shit more than a leaning rusted out mailbox. I live in a recently built development and I see this all the time. Once a year I take the mailbox off the post and give the post a good coat of spray paint to keep it looking fresh. I use a flat black spray paint made for all surfaces.

I then clean the mailbox (which is glossy black) with some soapy water, dry it off and give it a coat of wax with a regular old car wax (paste). When the wax has set I buff the mailbox with a clean rag and then reinstall the mailbox on the post. The mailbox looks as good as the day they installed it, people actually notice and ask why mine looks new and theirs looks like shit. It is called maintenance my friend!

Soon I will be mowing my grass for the last time this season and I will prepare the mower for winter by draining the fluids. When next season starts I will put a new spark plug in, new air filter, fresh gas and oil and SHARPEN the blade. This is something you should do on a regular basis. The filter and plug may not need to be changed but at least check them. This is how you keep things running smoothly and make them last.

Almost all the stuff I have is several years old and stills works just fine because I keep the stuff clean and well maintained. If you do the same your stuff will last.

...that is all.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Guest Post: KPN - Breakfast

matthiasj - Kentucky Preppers Network

Keep in mind when planning your food storage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. To ensure you are awake, alert, and have plenty of energy it is important to eat a good breakfast every day. There are plenty of options of what to store in your food storage for breakfast. The problem with some options is a lot of them take a lot of time/energy to prepare; not to mention the cost. Here is a idea as an alternative to your regular breakfast and something you can rotate with your storage.

Quick Oats. Quick oats possess all the qualities of a great survival food. They're quick, easy, nutritious, filling, and cheap. Quick oats are purchasable at any major supermarket or grocery store and have a shelf life of at least 1 year. One can purchase a 2+ pound container of oats for around $3. The 2lb. container of oats has 30, 1/2 cup servings per container. 1 container is enough for 1 person for a whole month! 1/2 cup of oats is enough to fill up nearly anyone for hours. They are cholesterol free, sodium free, and have a good amount of protein, fiber, and potassium.

Now trust me, eating plain oats everyday for a month would be torture. But the good part is you can add nearly any combination of additives to the oats to increase taste, flavor and variety. Honey is the first additive, and something that should be added to each serving. Honey is a natural sweetener and is jam packed with nutrients that your body needs. A 6 pound bottle of natural honey at your local warehouse retail chain will run you around $10 and has 108 servings in 1 bottle. Honey will make the oats sweet and a lot more tastey and edible.

There are endless combination's of things you can add to your oats. Honey should be added to all servings of oats. I also add 1 tbsp of cinnamon powder for additional flavor. Breakfast is also a great time to get in some fruits and adding your dehydrated fruits to the oats will give you the variety you need to eat it nearly every morning. I've eaten oats with dried blueberries, dried apples, raisins, and dried banana chips. Quick oats and the for-mentioned dried fruits are all included in my 3 month supply and the money that you save on breakfast frees up funds to contribute to the other meals or other preparedness supplies.

Flea- Thanks Matt for filling my posting gap!