Friday, November 9, 2012

Situational Awareness

By Flea - Be A Survivor

One thing that I believe is an oft overlooked part of a survival strategy is situational awareness. Becoming attuned to your surroundings and being able to notice the little details of what is going on around you can ultimately make or break you should the situation become perilous. In many cases there are small clues that seem obvious after the fact, but during a stress situation are often overlooked. These clues can tip a person off to what is about to happen and possibly even help them avoid it altogether.

One important aspect of situational awareness is the “gut feeling”, we all have it, sometimes we listen to it and sometime we shrug it off as paranoia. I bet all of you can think of situations that have occurred in your lives where you had a gut feeling and it turned out to be right. That is a natural part of our survival instinct endowed to us by our creator. Do not ignore it. Listen to your gut and if you feel uncomfortable or uneasy about a person, place or thing. At the very least you will have mentally prepared should you have to react quickly.

Always be on the lookout for potential hazards, understand the situation around you, take in all the information you can about your surroundings, and thoroughly understand the situation you are in. Make predictions about what is going to happen next and go through scenarios in your head on how you should react. This is difficult, no doubt, but the only way to get better at situational awareness is to continually practice it so that ultimately it becomes second nature to you. We are bombarded with stimuli that can overwhelm our senses if not we are not careful, the key is to focus on the things that matter most.

No one is saying you should be on high alert every moment of the day that would certainly be stressful. You should establish your own situational awareness threat levels and adjust your level according to how you perceive the current threats in your environment. Obviously, the more unfamiliar a situation or environment is the higher your situational awareness level should be. The more comfortable with the environment or situation you are the lower it will be. The key here is there always needs to be some level of situational awareness, even in your comfort zone so you don’t take things for granted and pay for it is some negative way later. Lastly, always listen to your gut, it is speaking to you as part of a complex system that was designed to protect your body from harm or even worse death.

...That is all

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's Alive...Alive!

By Flea - Be A Survivor


I have been through a bunch the last several months and that is most of the reason for my silence.  My company relocated me from South Carolina to Ohio.  I know I must be crazy or something moving back up north but Ohio is OK in my book.  They have very similar guns laws as South Carolina so I wasn't adverse to coming up here.

I am living in a suburb between Cleveland and Akron and so far I like it.  The weather sucks but hey you can't have everything.

In some other news, I finally obtained an "evil black rifle", a Colt Defense M4 Carbine "Talo Edition".  Pretty sweet.  I will be posting more on that in the future.  I have sold a few guns, namely my AK-47 and my SKS.  I am settling on three calibers moving forward: 22LR, 9mm, and 5.56/.223.  The Colt I purchased is chambered for 5.56 so I can use either that or .223 but I have been trying to stick with buying 5.56.

Now that I am settled in Ohio and my studies for my masters degree are underway, I am very hopeful that I can get back into the swing of things with the blog.  I have been a bad boy for not posting and for that I am sorry.

I want to start squaring away some preps because that took a serious back seat for about 6 months or so while I took my new position and was selling one house and buying another.  Look for an upcoming post on my new Colt, as well as a Crimson Trace Laser Grip I got for my S&W M&P 9c.

...That is all

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

WSJ - For a Nation of Whiners, Therapists Try Tough Love

Sharon Rosenblatt was talking to her therapist fast and furiously about her dating life, when the woman suddenly interrupted her. "Haven't we heard this before?" the therapist asked.
Was Ms. Rosenblatt offended? Not at all. The 23-year-old, who works in business development for an information technology company, says she specifically sought out a tough-love therapist after graduating from college and moving to Silver Spring, Md., two years ago.
'No more complaints. I don't want to hear about this one more day.' —DOUGLAS MAXWELL, New York
"When there's unconditional love from my therapist, I'm not inclined to change," Ms. Rosenblatt says. Previous therapists, she says, would listen passively while she complained unchallenged.
Whining, as defined by experts—the therapists, spouses, co-workers and others who have to listen to it—is chronic complaining, a pattern of negative communication. It brings down the mood of everyone within earshot. It can hold whiners back at work and keep them stuck in a problem, rather than working to identify a solution. It can be toxic to relationships.
How do you get someone to stop the constant griping? The answer is simple, but not always easy: Don't listen to it.
Moms, and bosses, are good at this. Some therapists are refusing to let clients complain endlessly, as well—offering up Tough Love in place of the nurturing gaze and the question "How does that make you feel?"
They're setting time limits on how long a client can stay on certain topics and declaring some topics off-limits altogether. Some are even taping clients so they can hear how they sound and firing clients who can't stop complaining.
"Talking endlessly about your problems isn't going to help," says Christina Steinorth, a marriage and family therapist in Santa Barbara, Calif. She tells her patients in the first session: "If you are looking for the type of therapy where I am going to nod my head and affirm what you are feeling, this isn't the place to come."
When clients whine, Ms. Steinorth has them make a list of how their life could improve if they stopped complaining and started working to solve their problems. She suggests they set aside a 10-minute window every day and do all their whining then. For clients who still won't stop, she suggests they consider discontinuing therapy until they are ready to move forward.
'I want whiners to ask themselves: "Would I hang out with this person?" ' —JULIE HANKS, Salt Lake City
Sometimes it feels like we're a nation of whiners. Many of us learned this behavior as children, when we got what we wanted by wearing our parents down. In adulthood, whining—or venting, as I like to call it when I'm doing it—can be a coping mechanism, allowing us to let off steam.
"A lot of whiners don't know they whine," says Julie Hanks, a licensed clinical social worker who has a therapy clinic in Salt Lake City. "I want them to ask themselves, 'Would I want to hang out with this person?' "
Television encourages us to whine, thanks to shows like WE tv's "Bridezillas" or A&E's "Monster In-Laws," about people who do almost nothing else. Technology, meanwhile, has trained us to expect instant gratification and become frustrated when we have to be patient. Facebook can make us feel that everyone else has it easier.
According to the Seattle-based Gottman Institute, married couples who flourish have a 5-to-1 ratio of positive-to-negative interactions within "conflict conversations." In couples who divorce, the ratio is less than 5 to 1.
The good news is that it is possible to get whiners to stop. Ms. Hanks, who takes a tough stance on whining, says it is critical to build a rapport with a client. She often challenges patients to go an entire session without talking about pet topics, such as their mother or their ex. You can ban overvisited topics at home, too, she says, as long as you pay attention to real problems. She sometimes audiotapes sessions, so clients can hear themselves whine. She has even taped herself at home, to learn how she relates to family members.
'Sooner or later, the listener tunes out your whining.' —FRAN WALFISH, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Ms. Hanks says it is important for the listener to understand that whining masks a deeper, more vulnerable emotion. For example, a person might complain about a boss, but what he is really feeling is fear that his career is stalled. "Whining is just a powerless complaint," she says. Understand this and you can get to the root of what is wrong.
Fran Walfish, a Beverly Hills, Calif., licensed psychotherapist, has a three-step stop-whining program. First, she points out the behavior, sometimes mirroring it back to a client, using both the same words and tone.
"The goal is to create self-awareness," Dr. Walfish says, and in a neutral way.
Next, she points out that there's a pattern to the complaining. Finally, she asks the whiner what he or she plans to do about it.
"When someone whines to you, it is an indirect way of saying, 'You fix it,' " Dr. Walfish says. "You want to put the responsibility back where it belongs, in the whiner's lap."
Some people create a no-whining zone.
Douglas Maxwell, a licensed psychoanalyst in Manhattan and president of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, says constant complaining is often a "resistance," and the person whining is often unaware of it.
With a client who gripes incessantly about a problem without making progress, he will say: "Stop. No more complaints. I don't want to hear about this one more day. You must talk about something else."
Often, clients don't take this so well, Mr. Maxwell says. They resist his attempt to break through their barriers and even transfer their anger onto him. But he holds his ground—and says he is prepared to repeat his ban as often as he has to.
Sometimes, Mr. Maxwell will use humor. "Here we go again," he might tease a patient.
"Once you draw the line in the sand, you have to hold that line," he says. "Otherwise, anything you say as a therapist loses its effect."
Crybabies, Be Gone!
Often, people don't realize they are whining. The trick: Raise their self-awareness without using accusatory or sarcastic language.
Go gently: Even therapists say this conversation sometimes ends with the client walking out. Start by telling the person who is whining how much you appreciate him or her.
Use a tone of genuine curiosity. You want to get to the bottom of the problem together. You may want to mirror the negative communication. 'I don't know if you hear yourself, but listen to what you just said.'
Point out there's a pattern. Say, 'Do you realize it's the fifth night in a row you've talked about this?' Offer to tape future conversations so the person can hear for him or herself.
Open up the conversation. A person whining about work may be feeling unwell, or stuck in his career. Ask, 'Is there something else that's wrong?' Explain that it is hard for you to hear the real issue because the person's tone and attitude are getting in the way.
Ask the person what he or she plans to do about the problem. Hold them accountable.
Suggest alternatives. The person might want to write down a list of complaints and leave it in a drawer. Or keep a journal and circle repeated complaints in red pen. Or spend an hour at the gym, or do something outdoors with you.
Set a time limit. For 10 minutes a day, the person can whine unfettered—and you will listen. Then time is up. Do this once a day, once a week—or challenge the person to a 'whine-free day.'
Give positive reinforcement. Say, 'I love to hear good things about your job.' Praise each increment toward healthy communication.
Write to Elizabeth Bernstein at or follow her column at
***This article is reprinted from the Wall Street Journal and is their property***

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Measure My Weight Loss

By Flea - Be A Survivor

As many of you know I made several new years's resolutions this year and I am doing quite well I must say. I am still smoke free, the nail biting has completely stopped, I am exercising regularly (60 mins a day/6 days a week in fact), and I am down 20 lbs. When I started I was 240 lbs., I am now 220.4 lbs as of yesterday morning.

We had a really crappy old scale that had the old dial mechanism that was basically just giving us a rough estimate because it was hard to read and we had to mess with it to get it to zero out. I wanted a new scale and I wanted it to be digital. Unfortunately EVERY digital scale I have ever owned has sucked beyond belief. I would get on, weigh myself, get off, get back on and be a different weight...almost every time.

I was doing some research and came across a scale that the reviewers were singing the praises of and in all the reviews there was a consistent theme...CONSISTENCY. You would weigh yourself 20 times and be the same weight 20 times!

The scale is the:

EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale w/ Extra Large Backlit 3.5" Display and "Step-On" Technology

...and let me tell you I am very, very , VERY impressed thus far. No need to tap the thing or to do anything else. Get on the scale and it weighs you, get back on and it weighs you and the weight is the SAME. Drink a glass of water and the weight will be higher. The scale is VERY sensative and very easy to read and is accurate to .2 lbs which I find pretty amazing.

The main thing you want in a scale when you are trying to lose weight is consistency. Is the scale 100% accurate? It appears to be close, but more importantly it is consistent. I highly recommend this scale and it has made my weigh-ins much more enjoyable and less frustrating.

That is all...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Criminal Profile: Time Warner Cable

By Flea - Be A Survivor

Well I did it. I told the crooks at Time Warner Cable to stick their service where the sun don't shine. My cable bill was ridiculous as it was: I had Internet, digital TV, and digital phone for about $138. Every year they would raise it and I would call speak to the rententions department, threaten to leave, and they would reduce it back to $138.

I got back from a business trip and opened my cable bill to see $185 dues. One HUNDRED and EIGHTY-FIVE dollars. I was livid. I called rententions again and said I am not paying you almost $50 more a month for NOTHING additional. They told me they could give me a $7 dollar discount and asked me if I was interested in paying $199 a month for signature service. They were adamant about not lowering the price back to what it was.

After I was done laughing and telling them to go fuck themselves I cancelled the phone and TV service.

Those stupid bastards now get $42 a month from me for Internet and if I can find another provider I will tell them to stick that as well. So because they are greedy criminals they have now lost $100 a month in revenue on me, let's face it...the bandwidth is what it is it doesn't cost them shit to pipe it to another house and they overcharge for everything anyway. I have been paying 7 dollars a month to rent their shitty DVR and remote and could have paid for the thing 20 times over by now. Great business model there...

So a hearty FUCK YOU to Time Warner Cable...I hope you and you criminal cohorts go out of business.

Meanwhile I have setup an antenna so I get the over the air stations and resubscribed to those other morons Netflix (against my better judgment). I figure I will pay $10 a month to stream stuff now that I am paying $100 less to TWC.

There was nothing ever on any of the 200 channels that TWC offered and the only people calling me on the house phone were my mother-in-law and canceling that was pure WIN.

Anyhow anyone have any other cheaper suggestions for entertainment? Post the in the comments.

That is all...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Equipment Review: Eton FR160B

By Flea - Be A Survivor

Well, Christmas came and went and I got a few goodies that I will cover with you. The first is an emergency radio. I received an:

Etón FR160B Microlink Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger (Black)
In fact, I got two of them. One for the car and one for the house. I have had many cheapo radios in the past that were crank and solar powered. They never worked right, especially the weather portion and cell phone charging ability. This one actually doesn't suck. To my surprise it worked quite well and seemed to be pretty high quality.

Reception with the antenna up is great, the weather band works great once the right channel is selected (my area is channel 7). The solar charging capability worked great as did the hand crank charging. From my experience a few cranks will give you about 10 minutes of radio...the longer you crank the longer it will last.

It also includes a built in LED flashlight and cell phone charging capability (using crank). When charging a phone please read the instructions because if you do it wrong you could theoretically damage your cell phone battery. The flashlight is acceptable in a pinch and is quite bright.

The controls are straightforward: volume, tune, and band selector. There is a button at the top to toggle the flashlight on and off near the solar panel. The crank is on the opposite side of the radio and controls. Lastly, there are inputs for an ear piece and cell phone on the back of the device.

All in all, the Etón FR160Bis a great little radio for emergency situations, in the house and car, and would be a great addition to a bug out bag.

That is all...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Years Resolutions

By Flea - Be A Survivor

It is the time of the year when everyone says they will do “X”, turn over a new leaf, or make a change in their lives. I have no idea when this tradition started or why it caught on; one thing I can say is that a majority of people fails miserably when it comes to sticking to these “resolutions”.

In keeping with this tradition I have committed to myself to make some serious changes in my life. I am going to work hard and do the very best I can to make sure these are not empty promises. I am going to share some of these resolutions I have made with you, please don’t laugh because some of them may seem a bit odd to some of you.

1.) Quit Smoking – I actually got a head start on this one as I actually stopped cold turkey in October in anticipation of falling off the wagon a few times. I have cheated exactly three times since then, each time smoking one cigarette. That is pretty good I think and I am super committed this time so I anticipate complete success with this one.

2.) Stop biting nails – this one some people will find disgusting but when I am stressed I sometimes take it out on my fingers. Since January 1st I have taken nary a nibble, so far, so good.

3.) Teeth – I have always been anal with my teeth. I go to the dentist twice a year like I should and brush and use an antiseptic mouthwash at least twice a day. I have always struggled with flossing. My resolution this year is to brush and use the mouthwash at least three times daily and floss at least once a day (at night). I also plan to finally get the three wisdom teeth I have taken out (I have been avoiding this for a few years, they don’t hurt but they are superupting).

4.) Lose weight and exercise – HA, you had to know this one was going to be on the list. I plan to cut down on the calories and actually USE the gym membership I have been paying for religiously. I plan to take the slow approach, no fad diets, just cut down and make some healthy changes like more veggies and water and less carbs and sugar. My goal is to lose 5-7 pounds a month, which seems like a small amount but adds up over the course of a year. For the record I could stand to lose about 40 lbs.

5.) Take a chill pill – I have been told I can be quite intense. My goal this year is to better let things roll off my back. I am not going to let work, school (Masters degree), or family get me agitated. It is just not worth the stress and health problems it causes. Work will still be there…school will work out…and the problems of every member of my family aren’t always mine to give a shit about or get involved with.

That is all...