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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