Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Movie Recommendation: Phase 7


This is an Argentine movie that some of you have been recommending. By pure coincidence I watched it too just a few days ago and while not Oscar material (67% at Rotten Tomatoes), I did enjoy it a good bit.
Its about a couple caught during the spread of a pandemic in downtown Buenos Aires, how they react to it, and such, with a bit of dark humor thrown here and there. I suppose lots of its sarcasm is lost in translation, but for a native Argentine Spanish speaker it does have its moments.
It´s interesting how in the begging of the movie it shows a bit of looting and people running around the supermarket where the main characters are at, yet they don’t seem to care much about it. That’s a clear nod to the sadly often seen scene, showing how you can become indifferent and react with apathy to situations that should otherwise stress you to some degree. The couple though, just goes on as if nothing happens.
See if you can catch it on Netflix. Don’t expect a great movie, but something ok to watch while eating popcorn and watching something different within the survival genre.
If you watched it and want to comment on it or want to recommend something else click on the link below.
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FerFAL

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Preparedness in Apartments



Being well prepared and living in an apartment building. To some the two may seem mutually exclusive. Survival and preparedness is often associated with country living, low population and at least some land to garden. That’s the most common conception of what it means to be self-reliant and well prepared. Yet, is it all bad for people in apartments? Not in my experience. Notice the word experience here, not opinion. What seems to happen is that people mix personal preferences with practical matters.

I, like most people, prefer to live in a nice house with a chunk of land surrounded by nature, and this has more to do with living the way you like rather than a practical strategy. It’s not very often, but sometimes you find people that prefer the practicality of an apartment or flat. Students, older people, or people that travel a lot they find it easier to clean up, less expensive and time consuming. What is important to understand here is that if you find yourself living in a condo or apartment, its not all bad for you.

As much as it has its obvious disadvantages, it has its pros as well.

*An apartment is usually more affordable to either buy or rent. In these times, this may be a crucial factor.
*Apart from being more affordable to take care of, it will require less cleaning and will cost you less in terms of water, electric power and heating.
*In terms of safety, an apartment will often be safer when crime becomes a serious problem. I remember once being at the dentist and overhearing a conversation two young women were having. They were talking about how being just the two of them in a big house away from the city was dangerous, so they were talking about moving to an apartment downtown in a nice part of Buenos Aires.
While an apartment building in a poor part of town can be hell, one in a nicer area will be safer than a home in a similar income level neighborhood. Its just cheaper and more effective to have twenty families all paying so as to afford a security guard keeping an eye on the front door of the building, than ten families paying to have a guard keeping an eye on an entire block.
*Apartments located in downtown areas tend to be closer to work, reducing your commuting expense or eliminating it entirely depending on how close you are. For some people, this is probably the most significant advantage.
*While more people living together means less privacy and more interpersonal problems, if a good community is found it also means more people to help each other in times of need.
As much as I disliked living in a cement box, hearing people walk over my head, under the floor and all around, I must admit that from a practical modern survival perspective the financial benefit as well as the security benefit were significant. I still believe though, that life is just too short to live in a place you dislike.

In terms of disadvantages:
*The lack of space is a mayor one. In spite of that I honestly believe that people not only have too much stuff they don’t even need, which would still be ok, even worse people have stuff they don’t even want, and its just taking away space they could have for either using in other ways or just more freedom of movement.
*The lack of privacy is probably what bothers me the most. I cant stand loud neighbors, let alone weirdo guys just moving in across from you. In terms of security one of the most common security breaches that take place in apartments are because of new neighbors moving, getting to know your schedule and breaking in themselves when you’re gone.
*During mayor disasters you have no space for improvisation. If your building is not suited for living in any more, its not as if you can just sleep in a tent in the yard for some time.
*Vehicle complications. Sometimes parking isn’t exactly close or convenient, and you’ll rarely have a floor plan design in which you would be able to access your vehicle quickly and take off if needed. Parking areas will get crowded fast with everyone trying to leave at the same time.
*Tools and fuel. You wont have much space for those, nor will you be able to operate bigger machinery. For anyone that is a bit of a tinker, not having a workshop or at least a garage with some tools will limit you in terms of the work you can do. Storing fuel is also very difficult if not just impossible.

Advice for people in Apartments

1)Invest in a good security armored door. These don’t come cheap, but its hands down the best money in terms of preparedness and peace of mind.
2)Get to know your neighbors and BE NICE. Again, BE NICE. I had this lady living in my building who was paid a few bucks to clean the building corridors and halls in the morning. She knew I was studying until late at night, sometimes going to bed at four or five AM, and she would make noise on purpose at 6AM, right in front of my door. I talked to her and asked her to stop, it didn’t help at all, she did even more noise. Eventually I just changed my strategy. I tried to understand that upsetting me was this old widow’s idea of fun. I started to be nice to her, asking her how she was doing, helped if I saw her with grocery bags. Not only did she stop making noise in front of my apartment door at 6AM, for years she would keep an eye on my apartment when I left. She would spend her entire day gossiping and eavesdropping in that building, she knew everything that went on and I couldn’t have asked for a better ally.
3)Become creative in terms of space. Under the bed, inside closets. In an apartment you cant think in terms of square feet for storage, you have to think in terms of cubic feet, volume. This may mean adding extra shelves to the top of a closet so as to take advantage of that dead space above, or when buying a coffee table going for an old trunk which you can put to use by filling up with canned food. Even in very small places being creative you will find enough space for most of your essential gear. If you need even more space rely on family members and trusted friends, the closer the better. Remember this when storing fuel. I usually recommend the equivalent of your vehicle’s gas tank, in jerry cans along with fuel stabilizer and rotating once a year. This combined with the habit of refueling when you reach half a gas tank will give you an acceptable range for evacuation if its ever needed.
4)For water storage, I made the most of soda plastic bottles. These would fit under beds, sofas, or in closets and kitchen drawers, any place I could find.
5)For passive home security, a basic home alarm will do fine. Given the proximity, people are much likely to notice and call the police in an apartment building when they hear your alarm. Remember that you still shouldn’t open the door to strangers and check by phone before opening the door if anyone shows up claiming to be from the cable, water, power company, etc. If your home can be viewed from the outside, use your common sense. Use curtains so that people on the outside cant see the nice LED TV you just bought, and a two buck timer that goes on on its own when it gets dark will confuse anyone that saw you leave. Was someone left in the house or do you have a lamp with a timer? Better go for an easier pick just in case.
6)For active home defense, a handgun will do well enough in an apartment. You’ll have to check the type of construction. Most likely it will be hollow walls and you want to get Glaser Safety Slugs or some other low penetrating ammunition.
7)If possible avoid the ground floor but don’t go too high. Its not fun to walk up and down living in the 5th floor when the power goes down. How about dragging water when the service is interrupted for whatever reason and they start distributing water with trucks, or you have to find it on your own and again, use the stairs? No water, no power in an apartment building for days? Been there, done that, and its not fun. In some of the more modern ones, they depend so much on electric power to cool and heat that they become graves if the power goes down for extended periods of time. Know how well (or bad) your apartment will perform if services are disrupted and plan on having a B locating nearby if such an event presents itself.
8)While generators and apartments generally don’t mix well, there are exceptions. Especially in some of the older ones, if you have a balcony you can run a small generator. Keeping a small BBQ grill isn’t that bad an idea either.
9)When looking around for rent or to buy look for places that are located either above or very close to places with permanent security. In the one I used to live we had a bank in the ground floor level, so there was a cop permanently stationed at the door, and we didn’t have to pay anything for it.
10)Another thing to keep in mind. In some older apartment buildings or new high end ones they still have setups for fireplaces or French fitted stoves. These can be life savers during winter time in cold locations if the power goes down. Given the reduced overall volume and how effective some of these wood burning stoves can be, a small supply of wood goes a long way. The stoves themselves aren’t that hard to make or improvise, but the trick is having at least some way of ventilating the fumes. When looking around to rent or buy, consider these an important bonus to be found.
FerFAL

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Relocating: Where to go?



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FerFAL

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Relocating: When Should You Do it?


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FerFAL

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why didnt I move to Estancia Cafayate in the Province of Salta

Fernando,
I want to congratulate again personally you on your move and restate my best wishes for you and your family.
I don’t know if anyone else sent you this but thought you’d find it interesting. I want to tell you that, despite some difference of opinion with some social/religious stuff, I would absolutely rather have you as a neighbor and friend than these guys, who live in another reality. Polo-playing elite. I get their free newsletter to see how they think.
Steve

Hi Steve, I got lots of emails like yours, thanks for letting me know about this.
In case you have no idea of whats going on, these guys are pissed with me:
http://www.caseyresearch.com/cdd/contrarian-view-argentina
Because of these articles I wrote some time ago:
http://ferfal.blogspot.com/2011/08/moving-to-cafayate-salta-in-argentina.html
http://ferfal.blogspot.com/2010/10/real-estate-and-relocating-investing-in.html
http://ferfal.blogspot.com/2010/03/doug-caseys-opinions-of-argentina.html
Basically it comes down to this: These people are selling property in a country club in an Argentine province called Salta, pitching it as a high society, wine sipping, polo playing paradise, and selling houses there for exorbitant prices. I simply answered some questions readers sent me, and very kindly explained why putting that kind of money in such a far away place, in a dirt poor province, within an already unstable third world country with a president similar to Chavez was the most stupid thing I’ve head in the last decade. It seems that some people didn’t like my opinion on the matter, specifically those trying to sell property there.
This may have caused them to lose a couple sales. At least two that I know of because the potential buyers contacted me and I told them they would be idiots if they bought into this BS. Yes, I used those exact same words.
Isnt it wonderful how the “Casey Research Group “concludes that the best thing for you is to buy property from Doug Casey in crappy poor Argentina?. JAJAJAJAA!!!!
You’d think that being rich and loving a wine sipping, golf playing sophisticated lifestyle you’d be better off in Napa Valley or something, but no, the best thing for you is to go to the middle of nowhere Argentina and then go from there to a middle of nowhere province where land used to sell for a dollar a square mile, that is until good ol’ Doug bought it and his research now shows that its in your best interest to pay 300.000 a pop for a place in his Estancia…  in one of the poorest provinces of Argentina… in the middle of the desert, where not a blade of grass would survive without artificial irrigation. JA!! Amazing what you can achieve with research!
Here at the “FerFAL Anti-BS Foundation”, we’ve done some research of our own and came to the following conclusions:

Health and Education
http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/south-america/argentina
http://www.mdtravelhealth.com/destinations/samerica/argentina.php
Wow! So one of the cool things about Salta is that you need to get shots for Dengue, Malaria and Yellow fever. That sounds like fun!  Its of notice that in my +30 years of living in Buenos Aires yellow fever shots where never recommended unless you traveled to these poor, far away provinces. Why would that be? Because Buenos Aires sucks while Salta is the best place in the planet for rich wine drinking golf playing billionaires..hmm… or maybe is its because Salta is a poor province in the middle of nowhere?… mmm.. . And you know whats additional fun factor Dengue, a deadly disease spread by a mosquito. That theres billions of those little rascals flying around the Super Rich guy retreat is just a bonus!! Unlike Buenos Aires where during dengue season you see the trucks driving around fumigating to kill them and stop the disease.
But hey, if you’re an old snobby fart that feels better surrounding yourself by some of the most awful misery in South America while you sip wine, there’s even better news: You’ll die very, very fast!! Who want to retire to Boca or spend your golden years skiing in Beaver Creek like those other unoriginal rich old farts? Go to better life like Indiana Jones would: Die of easily curable diseases in a poor crappy hospital of Salta! You want an even cooler death? Suffer a stroke in Casey’s Estancia Cafayate… and require a 4 hour drive, then a 2 hour plane trip to Buenos Aires to get serious medical attention! Now isn’t that fun? Of course it is!

Who wants to live past their 66 years? No one moving to Salta for sure! Oh, you didn’t know? See, one of the differences between living in Buenos Aires and living in Salta, is that the life expectancy for males in Buenos Aires is 69,17, while in Salta its 66,17!!!! How Cool is that?! You get to kick the bucket while in your prime years, no one wants to be remembered like an old wrinkly man, rich or not. ;-) Why would you want to live in Buenos Aires and live a measly 4 years more of life?
Stupid me, here I am in a place where my life expectancy is +80. Boooorrinnggg.
Source? Here you go! That’s according to the INDEC, the Argentine government itself, who just love admitting how young people die under their regime.
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCcQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.indec.gov.ar%2Fnuevaweb%2Fcuadros%2F2%2Find_demograf_5.xls&ei=fO0bT8mNFNDgtQab37xI&usg=AFQjCNHUFpSlFXwGewV2Cv5xF_JSBCdIxg
But say you aren’t a rich old fart but a young rich snobby prick instead with a trophy wife and a couple spoiled brats. What about schools? Seems that I didn’t research that well enough. Stupid me here I am in Northern Ireland: I should have contacted these people and move to Salta instead. Instead of sending my kids to a free public school that has both top world class education as well as Christian values being taught daily, among the top ten schools that end up sending pupils to Cambridge University, the ¬#1 University in the planet for 2010 and 2011, I should have sent my kids to a public school in Salta, where Kirchner gives kids…. drums please…. A netbook!!!! … In provinces where 83% of homes don’t have internet access!!! JAJAJAJA!!! I could also end up in Salta capital city where after paying 500USD for a private school my kids would at least learn to read and write properly, along with a mediocre general knowledge level compared to most first world nations and a view of the world narrower than a Llama’s but hole, but that’s just too far away from the Super Dooper Rich guy retreat.
But what the heck! Lets cut it out already and take a look at your new neighbors! Outside the walls of the country club walls! (better build those walls high!)

See?! They LOVE living in contact with nature, who needs roofs, water, electricity, toilets.  These are the rich, intellectual people this David Gland mentioned in his newsletter.
Hey, what about Chaco, the province next to Salta? Actually Chaco has a higher life expectancy than Salta so lets take a look there.

Ok… but you know what, you see poor hungry people, I on the other hand see slim intellectuals. How much money does it cost in LA to lose THAT much weight?  All that open space and fresh air, low population, fresh food products. Besides, how can you NOT feel good about yourself, snobby, golf playing rich you, when you’re surrounded by such misery and poverty. See? It all work out great towards achieving the Estancia Cafayate lifestyle.
But FerFAL, quit beating around the bush and tell us what you REALLY think
What I think about all this charade? I don’t have a problem with people making money. I like money a lot myself. I love the capitalist system that allows you to make money.
You know what I DON’T like? People that lie and trick others with BS. That’s why I spent some of my precious time replying to this bunched up panty fit of hysteria the guy that wrote the article bashing me obviously had.
Wrapping it up folks, since I have to go have dinner with my wife and kids. I didn’t mean to harm anyone’s business and I very much doubt I did. These people are smart and could sell ice to Eskimos, or property in Cafayate as a good lifestyle idea. They are just looking for ways of making even more money. Its up to each one to get as much information as possible. Then you have no one to blame but yourself if you fall for it.
Take care!
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Economic Crisis Preparedness: Another Argentine Family Example

Dear Ferfal,
Having read your blog for some time I know your views about isolated
retreats, and I wanted to give you another real life example for
readers of your blog to consider.
I live in the UK but have a large family in Argentina, my uncle and
aunt have been there since the 1950’s. In early 2008 I visited for
about a month, this was the second time I’d visited. Just as some
background, they live in a small town on the outskirts of Buenos
Aires, which is basically an outer suburb of BA.

My cousins run a real estate agency, a large part of their business is
the rental of local properties, a number of which the family actually
own (they didn’t tell me exactly how many properties they own and I
didn’t ask!). They are therefore probably one of the wealthiest
families in a town that felt unsafe, was run-down, with very poor
roads, many of the houses and apartments were in need of a lot of
maintenance and on the few occasions we walked around the area (which
they actively discouraged) we could all feel the tension (I’ve spent
lots of time travelling in places like Africa and Latin America so am
used to dodgy places and I felt the tension).

I therefore had a number of long discussions with various members of
the family (young and old) where I asked them why they were still
living in such a run-down town when they could easily afford to live
in a large country house or a gated community. They all responded
emphatically that the isolation of a country house or a gated
community was the best way of ensuring that you would either fall
victim to a home invasion, kidnapping or just have everything stolen
while you were out. They stated that they had many friends that had
moved out of BA or the suburbs, to the perceived safety of country
houses or gated communities only to then fall victim to brutal home
invasions and/or kidnappings. The isolation had turned out to be a
major disadvantage because of the lack of friends or neighbours that
could come to their aid or raise the alarm. They felt much safer in a
community where they knew their neighbours, where strangers stand out,
where the local trouble makers are well known and where the locals
look out for each other as part of an unofficial neighbourhood watch.

To put things into context just after the 2001 Argentinean financial
collapse when things got very bad, the real estate agency was robbed
at gunpoint 5 times. Although the office had iron bars on all windows
and sturdy doors, they had to install a second set of electronically
operated doors that could only be opened from the inside and only once
the outside doors are shut. They ensured that all cash received from
rentals (Argentina is an almost totally cash based economy) was
removed from the office several times a day. They as a family are an
obvious target because of their relative wealth in a fairly poor town.
Therefore their decision to stay was not based on some illusion that
it was safe, but on the realisation that it was safer than an isolated
location.

What I found particularly interesting were the preparations and the
way of life they have had to adopt because of living in a country with
a long history of currency devaluation and financial collapse. A
country that has been ruled by a succession of dictators and
corrupt/incompetent civilian governments. Where local officials and
police are either corrupt or cannot be trusted.

Houses – none of their homes were overly flashy, they fit in well with
their neighbours’ and are very solidly built, brick and reinforced
concrete. Most of the local houses are built close together
(townhouses) so that they share walls on one or more usually both
sides. They have gardens at the rear of each one with very high walls
around the garden. The front door of each house is only a few meters
from the street. My uncle and aunt’s house actually looked run-down
from the outside, but was very nice inside. All ground floor windows
had iron bars and the front doors were steel, with steel frames. Any
glass in the doors was wire reinforced and backed by steel bars where
glass panels open either to let cool air in or to view visitors. First
and second floor windows had thick wooden shutters and balcony doors
had roll-down shutters. The ground floor of each house comprised of an
internal garage, storeroom and a kitchen/dinning area. The kitchen had
an electric cooker and just outside in a covered part of the garden
they had a propane gas cooker and wood fired barbeque, so if the
electricity went off they had other ways to cook. Each house had two
or three massive freezers stuffed full of home grown produce and they
had small generators to provide some back-up power for the freezers.

They also had large well stock pantries with dry goods, cans and
pickled produce. The local mains water quality cannot be relied upon
so they had a large supply of bottled water, soft drinks, juices, beer
and wine. The living rooms and bedrooms in each house are on the first
and second floors which are accessed via a steep internal walled
staircase. The staircases have doors, top and bottom, the top of the
staircase can be defended very easily by someone with a firearm. The
garden can also be accessed via an external staircase from a rear
first floor balcony. The houses have flat roofs that provide great all
round views and are used to dry produce, collect rainwater or just to
catch cool evening breezes.

Food – being originally from a farming background, the walled gardens
contained a number of fruit and nut trees and many different types of
vegetables are grown. They had concrete rainwater cisterns and
overflow plastic barrels, this water is used only for the garden. This
was not the end of their food independence, my uncle also owns a small
farm, where he has about a dozen cattle, two dozen goats, sheep and
many more rabbits, pigeons and chickens. This ensures that the
numerous freezers the family have are stuffed full with home produced
meat and vegetables. The point to note here is that although they can
afford to buy all their food, they grow much it themselves more to
ensure that the quality is high. They did not start growing their own
meat and vegetables once the more recent financial collapse happened
in 2001, it has been part of their lives for years, and in fact they
have owned the farm for 40 plus years.

Weapons – yes they have a reasonable number of firearms, various
pistols, shotguns and rifles, none of which were particularly large
calibre. The most interesting firearm I was shown was the one my uncle
keeps near the front door of his house, I can best describe it as a 20
gauge shotgun pistol, with the shortest side by side barrels I’ve
ever seen. They keep pistols in the office and in the large 4x4
SUV’s they drive, which are always parked inside the internal
garages at night. Again the SUV’s were neither flashy nor new, but
were all in great mechanical order.

Financial preparations – any Argentinean currency received is fairly
quickly transferred into either hard assets (in my family’s case
local property) or into foreign currency, banked in a nearby secure
banking location (Uruguay). They also keep a fair amount of cash (in
various currencies) on hand at home to pay for normal living expenses,
emergencies and for bribes. It was notable that they had zero trust in
any Argentinean institutions or banks. Most family members have a
second passport and a number were making private pension contributions
outside of the country. They have zero debt and ensure that the
government and banks know as little about them and their businesses as
possible. I also suspect that they own a fair amount of physical gold
and silver, when I raised the subject of owning precious metals as an
added insurance policy they changed the subject very quickly!

Attitude – I was impressed by their togetherness, by their hard work
and by their toughness. It was notable that most of the extended
family are very self reliant and that they work together for the
benefit of the whole family. They mostly own and work in their
businesses and therefore when the Argentinean currency was devalued by
two thirds in 2001, their income also dropped by two thirds for many
years, but the value of their assets, mainly property, did not drop in
value. They were therefore able to avoid the worst of the collapse and
had the funds to invest when the economy started to pick-up again

Security – when we (my wife and my parents) arrived at my uncle’s
house, the first instructions we were given were security
instructions.
- Don’t open the door to anyone but family members.
- Before going outside, check the area immediately outside the front
door via the small window opening in the door.
- Once you have done that and the area is clear, open the door but
only far enough to be able to look in both directions down the short
street the house was located on.
- Only when you have confirmed that the street is clear in both
directions do you actually step outside.
We were shown where the shotgun pistol was kept next to the door. If
somebody knocked at the door while we were on an upstairs floor, the
instructions were to shout down from the balcony to find out who was
there, again we were shown where a .22 rifle was kept near the balcony
door, just in case. We were told not to walk between the three houses
my family lived in, even though they were only a few streets apart,
they would pick us up in a vehicle. They really take security
seriously but if you have been held-up at gun point half a dozen times
and have avoided being robbed many more times (by displaying a
firearm, but not actually firing it), it becomes second nature.
What the experiences of my Argentinean family shows is that with the
proper planning and preparations, staying in a town or suburb you know
well may actually be safer than moving to an isolated location or a
gated community.
Kind Regards
Joe
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Limit on cash transfers in Belgium

Hi,
Saturday morning on the news in Belgium they said there’s soon going
to be a law effective that limits cash payments to 5000 euro max,
and in 2014 this limit would be decreased to only 3000 euro.
Officially it’s to limit ‘black money’.
Haven’t heard much other things about it (no questions, protests, ..)
so it’s interesting to follow up if that’s only our government being
creative
(which I doubt) or that other European countries will also apply a
similar law, maybe as a way to be able to devaluate the euro currency
in a few years..
What’s your opinion and what could one do ? (keep more cash in house
?)
A in B.

Hi!
There’s not much you can do other than contemplate and recognize it for what it is: A way of controlling you, your property and a way of protecting the banks from mass withdraws and bank runs, all wrapped in a nice package with a ribbon on top and a gift car saying its for your own good. It’s funny how that works. With the terrorism and money lawndring excuse they always somehow end up prejudicing and taking away rights from honest people. Pretty ironic since the people behind drugs, terrorism and other illegal activities have no problem moving around and more often than not use the same corporations that actually run countries and place presidents in power.

Having precious metals at hands means that if things really collapse you’ll have value to eventually change for whatever form of currency is being used, may it be Euro2, New Dollar or seashells.
If possible I recommend having a month’s worth of expenses in cash at home in case of emergencies as well. Given the growing limit to withdrawls, this will be an important asset for you in case of a disaster. Ideally I recommend having a month worth of expenses and enough money to buy a plane ticket for each family member. A ticket to where? Hopefully you have a plan for a worst case scenario where you have to leave whatever country you live in. Very unlikely to need this in USA, but maybe in some people’s cases its enough money to get tickets or get a car to move to another State as part of their contingency plan.

Any way you want to put it, having savings is one of your most valuable tools. There’s millions today around the world that wish they had an extra wad of cash and are probably kicking themselves for not saving some during the good times.
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FerFAL

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

EDC Update


Hello Ferfal,
I really appreciate your forum – it’s been a real eye awakener.  Glad I got your bookI’ve read a lot of your posts on “gear” and was noticing some of them were 2-3 years old (I dug through the archives, thanks).  I was curious if you could post an updated review on all your EDC-keychain/knife/gear, what you are carrying TODAY, what you’ve used in the past but didn’t like, and what’s been the ‘best’ EDC items you’ve owned.
Also, I just picked up this Gerber Artifact from Amazon, and was curious your thoughts as well:

Gerber 22-41770 Artifact Pocket Keychain Tool
Hi Lefty,
I spend thousands of dollars a year on gear I don’t like, I just don’t feel its needed to say “this is crap”. Well,  except for Nite Glowrings,  which I can say are 100% crap.
I’ve been pretty much using the same stuff with just smaller variations here and there.
I still work around a system where my keychain has the elemental basics, a knife/tools, a LED light and a lighter, in my case a Swiss Army Knife Midnight Minichamp, a Fenix LDO1, titanium Peanut lighter and a couple mini Prybars.  The idea here is that if I have nothing else except for the keys of my house, at least I have some basics covered.
Then moving towards clothes and pockets yes I have a more powerful LED light, a better knife and multitool as well as a cellphone, wallet and a bit else.
Check the video I just made showing and explaining my EDC update.


The Artifact is pretty interesting. I intend to buy one for reviewing. It seems functional though I already have smaller prybars and don’t believe I’d carry one in my keychain or pocket. It is still an interesting proposition and I see how someone that doesn’t carry a lot of tools would put one to good use frequently when it lives in a persons pocket or keychain.
Take care!
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FerFAL

Monday, January 16, 2012

Swiss Army Knife for Defense?

Hi Ferfal,
Thanks for your great blog! I’ve read it for some months now and find it very useful, also for the circumstances here in Germany.
My concern is: Here in Germany we are having very restrictive weapon laws. Nearly everything is forbidden, except long fingernails
What I am wearing though is pepper spray (allowed only against animals!). But I’d also like a defensive knive.
I think a folder with one-hand opening would be ideal. But again the laws… They only may be worn when intended for a socially accepted purpose. My interpretation: the more similar to a swiss army knive the more likely I don’t get in conflict with the police. I already looked into the Victorinox and Wenger product range but found nothing satisfying
So my question: what would be your edc defensive knive recommendation similar to an SAK and fitting into a pocket?
Thanks and take care.
Michael

Hi Michael!
First of all I want to note the huge different between difficult and impossible. There’s almost no country where you cannot own some kind of firearm. Even if gun laws are getting worse all the time there’s still options. Even if its “just” a double barrel shotgun, its still a firearm (and a pretty effective one, I might add).
If you have to join a club and go duck hunting for a year before you can buy a gun, just do it. Who knows, you might even enjoy it. I’ve done the impossible to get my guns back in Argentina, even when most people believed I was just wasting time and money. You just keep trying until you get there.
Second point before addressing your question. You are the real weapon. The rest are just tools used. For a person that understands this there’s never a moment when you’re truly unarmed if you commit to it. Even on a plane you’re not defenseless if you have the right pen or the right flashlight.

Surefire 6P LED Defender Single Output LED Flashlight

Schrade SCPENBK Tactical, Pen Black
Under the conditions you describe, I’d go for this SAK.  Its not even a knife, it’s a “Rescue Tool”.

Victorinox Swiss Army Rescue Tool
You still have a very practical blade and a few tools that may come in handy. Even the glass breaker could break other things besides glass if your life is at stake.
As a general purpose tool that isn’t military style or tactical looking, I highly recommend this tool.

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FerFAL

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bugging Out or Relocating?

These two concepts are sometimes used as if they were the same thing but there are mayor differences between the two that need to be addressed.
 When bugging out you leave in a hurry, if you had the foresight of preparing a couple bug out bags that’s all you’ll be taking, plus maybe a bit else prepositioned already in your bug out location.
Now that works for certain scenarios and under some circumstances, but there’s a monumental difference between bugging out and relocating entirely, with no intention of coming back.

The scenarios where bugging out is called for are diverse, but they usually involve events or disasters that occur all of a sudden. Loss of electric power during extreme weather condition and no means of staying warm, floods, the loss of your home in structural terms because of natural or man made disasters, think earthquakes, fires or chemical spills. In many of these scenarios you may not even have time to reach for a bug out bag. We actually so this during the tsunami in Japan, where a man just rushed out of his home and in the same footage frame you saw the wave approaching, devouring the structure seconds later. Because of this its not a bad idea to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle as well. Your car being you home away from home in many cases. In my opinion just as important, work on being consistent with your EDC (every day carry ) kit. If you at least have a LED flashlight, a folding knife, a multittol, an some cash along with your credit cards, you’re already better off than not having them. If you add to that a small amount of stuff to whatever bag you tote on daily basis, may it be an office briefcase, laptop or messenger bag or purse, you can add a bottle of life saving water, a small first aid kit and a couple energy bars. Imagine having that instead of only having the clothes on your back.

Bugging out requires a predetermined location to go to. Ideally you’d have one near by in case the incident affects you alone or a smaller area, and another one a bit further away in case the entire region has been compromised. Think relatives or very good friends, people you know would open a door to you in a time of need. Don’t just take it for granted, actually have a conversation about it so as to be sure you can count on them. Leaving some gear and supplies, including a spare set of clothes and shoes for each family member, some cash and food, and weapon if possible would be recommended.

For many years I’ve been trying to get out of Argentina and from time to time when I wrote to relate a particular distressful event that I’ve observed in my country or was involved in, people would comment “bug out NOW!” “Pack your bags and leave!”.  Yes, my dear friend. That’s easy to say sitting from the comfort of your warm cozy home 7.000 miles away, the kids tucked in bed dreaming of the great day they’ll have tomorrow in school with their friends. Bugging out for real is an extremely traumatic experience. I’m not talking of waking up the kids and wife a Sunday morning at 5 AM, rushing into the car with the bug out bags and going camping for the weekend, knowing fully well you’ll be home by Sunday afternoon. I’m talking about all of a sudden leaving everything behind, loosing not only almost all of your earthly possessions but losing your life as you knew it as well. It happens all the time, its called being a refugee, and its not anything like going camping. While bugging out because of a limited term incident may not be as bad, bugging out of a country with no intention of coming back involves mayor emotional trauma for the entire family.

Now relocating, that’s an entirely different creature. Here we’re talking about a more calculated decision, analyzing the pro and cons of the new place being considered and if its worth making the effort both financial and emotional. While relocating for example to another State within the US may leave opportunities of visiting in the future, even collecting some more belongings left behind in the first trip, when you leave with no plans of coming back in the future it’s a different game entirely. Having done just that recently I can relate to it. Where to start? Your loved ones that you leave behind because you cant take with you, in some cases knowing you’re probably staring into their eyes for the last time. Leaving behind your culture, your idiosyncrasy. Chances are I’ll never do an asado or share mate surrounded by friends that understand what that means. Think of it as never again watching a Football game with your buddies or sharing that which you can only share with people of your same cultural background. The jokes, the slang, those things you share just with a look. I’m not particularly sensitive nor am I a person with a million friends, but I understand that’s something we’re losing.
Relocating allows for a better planed move in financial terms as well. If you bug out and it becomes permanent you lose thousands of dollars worth of belongings you could have sold. Poor or no prior planning means more expenses in general.

Unless you have already a place to live in, if you bug out you cant crash in a buddy’s couch on permanent basis. You’ll need to find a place to live.
Maybe the most tricky issue of them all, bugging out means in many cases leaving your current job. Unless you’re extremely lucky, given the current economic scenario, its not going to be easy to find another job any time soon and that means at the very least digging into your savings. That is, if you had any left by the time you’re done moving. On the other hand, relocating is something you don’t do in a hurry, carefully research the location your going to, wait until you actually find a job, school for the kids, and only then leave you life behind. As complicated as it can be its much better than just bugging out in a hurry.

When researching the location you’re considering, I can’t insist enough using Google maps to know the location almost as good, sometimes even better, than actually being there. After zooming in in google maps and looking at the streets and roads, look at the side of the map where you have a yellow human figure, like the one in the W.C., click on it and drag him to the map. Where you drop him, you’ll get a pedestrian street view of the location, and you can actually move around as if you’re there. This is an outstanding resource to gather information, know the neighborhoods and what’s on the other side of the road. A real estate picture may look nice, but you don’t know what’s waiting for you in the next block. You can even tap into live stream cameras in some areas and see live what certain places look like.



When do you relocate?

When the living conditions have become unacceptable for you and they are clearly worse than in other places you have the possibility of moving to.  That would be the dictionary kind of definition. But how do you know you’re not falling for the “grass is greener on the other side of the hill”? You have to try to be as objective as possible, and after that, take a look at what other people are doing as well. Are people leaving too, or is it just me? Finally take a look at how many people are trying to get INTO the country or location you’re planning to leave. Leaving USA entirely for example, that’s something I simply wouldn’t do. I understand moving to some other state but not leaving America, not when in spite of the bad things going on, its still better than anywhere else in my opinion and based on what I want for myself and my family.
Take care folks.
Join the forum discussion on this post!

 FerFAL

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bugging out… for real.

If you’re a frequent reader of the blog you may have noticed that it has slowed down a bit the last couple of months. This isn’t because of lack of interest or topics to discuss about. Its rather quite the contrary. The reason is that I’ve finally made it out of Argentina, and have been living in Northern Ireland for the last month.

Timing was actually pretty good. We have been meaning to leave Argentina for a long time, thinking mostly of USA. Because of troubles getting a visa to reside in USA, we’ve been postponing the move for many years, trying to find a sponsor or finding some way to get to USA. Its ironic how some Americans chose to leave USA while thousands of people go nuts trying to find a way into it. Finally in 2011 we had enough and decided to leave one way or another.
I had my eye on other options besides USA, places like Canada and Australia. I wanted a real country for myself and my family, so all the crappy Latin American places so often described as expat paradises (usually by people that never lived there or have a financial motivations in recommending so)where out of the picture. People looking to make money out of it can lie about how fantastically safe and cheap it is, how you don’t have to worry about a thing other than picking the right wine and senorita to spend the evening with. Born and raised in Argentina and having traveled to most South American countries I just know better than that.
Googling on the best country to raise a family I came across Northern Ireland. While not perfect (like any place on Earth) the more I read about it the more I liked it, so by mid 2011 we were already making up our minds about it.

At first we we’re going to leave in January 2012, but the situation in Buenos Aires getting worse made us jump out a bit sooner than planned. Hernan’s murder was another thing that scared us a lot, especially since we had heard so many stories of people getting robbed or hurt right before they managed to leave the country. I always remember that guy who left Argentina in 2000, came back a decade later to visit his family and got killed the same day he arrived when he went to buy a pack of smokes just a couple blocks away from where he was staying. There was also Cristina’s reelection coming, and we knew things were going to get worse after she got reelected. It was scary to see her take the draconian measures she took not a week after getting reelected. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that our preparedness and survival mindset made all the difference in the world for us during those weeks before leaving.

Remember how I preach non stop about having a supply of money at home in case there’s trouble, even more if possible in case you have to jump into a plane and start all over somewhere else? If I hadn’t followed my own advice I wouldn’t have had the USD to leave at that time, because of the heavy foreign currency restrictions the government of Cristina came up with right after being reelected. Oh yes, preparing does pay off.
So we sold what we could, donated a bunch of stuff to a nearby orphan home, gave away some to friends and family, and with a couple pieces of luggage each we got on board of a plane and left Argentina. Its hard to explain the feeling of having all your earthly possessions in just two suitcases, a backpack and whatever is in your pockets.

I remember the trip to the airport, right after loading up the car that was taking us there. I remember thinking how its just stuff. Even if it got lost or stolen at Ezeiza’s International airport in Buenos Aires, something that happens often, it can be bought again. I remembered the posts I made about minimalist gear, how important it is to have a bare minimum pocket carry set of gear with you at all times. Even that can be replaced. While I always knew that what matters is your loved ones, in my case my wife and kids, this experience was in some way putting my money where my mouth was, so to speak. We really did come down to that, just us and little else. In retrospective all we couldn’t do without was our plane tickets, passports, cash and a few other essential documents. The rest? It’s all expendable.

So many things cross your mind when leaving
your country for good. I remembered what my grandmother had told me about coming to Argentina herself escaping the miseries of the Spanish civil war. “What did you bring with you  grandma?” I asked. “Money, a trunk  with clothes and a hand suitcase. My books (she owned like four) oh, and a good coat”. And there I was myself, also taking a few books, just some, the rest, hundreds of them, had to be left behind in boxes, too heavy to take with us, also our wedding photo album, some other family fotos and just a handful of trinkets that held sentimental value.
We’re still adjusting to our new life in a town close to Belfast. Things are of course different here. Where should I start? The unfamiliar feeling of finally knowing you are safe and you don’t live by the gun anymore? How people actually have manners here, say hi, thanks, and no ones yells or screams? How you can drive without worrying about 90% of the people behind the wheel drive like clinical psychopaths? Schools where kids don’t beat the crap out of each other? Public schools that are actually good and a kid can get an education? People have glass doors here, and locks that I could pick with a paper clip in less than five minutes if I wanted to. Burglar bars on windows? I haven’t seen a single one yet. While homes have alarms, its mostly a matter of safety when traveling and leaving the house empty or even just to knock down a few pounds off the house insurance. Armed home invasions are extremely rare, and even those rare ones are usually because of drugs or some other illegal business.

So that’s us now. I wanted to wait until we were settled, until we finally came to believe this wasn’t a dream but actually our life now. No more being scared, no more worrying about whats going to happen next week , if the entire country is going to fall apart again in a matter of days. While the global crisis is real and affects the entire planet in one way or another, man it’s nice to be in a first world country.
In the following days, I’ll be posting every now and then about what its like to leave everything behind for real, the decisions made, general criteria and suck. I’ll answer questions as best as I can, as time allows.
Its so damn good to finally live life,
As people like saying around here;
Cheers,
Join the forum discussion on this post!

PS-Photo taken by the author a few days ago :)

FerFAL

Monday, January 9, 2012

Squatters in Texas Town Use Arcane Law to Claim Vacant Homes


This sounds just like what you talked about in your book, where squatters move into people’s houses while they’re on vacation.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012…..latestnews
Katy
Hi Katy, that’s exactly the same thing that I’ve talked about here in the blog and my book.
It´s not that surprising though. Not only because of the economic crisis, but because of a factor not many people know. Argentina copied most of the US laws. Including those is one very similar to Adverse Possession. Like in US, if one can prove residence for 10 years, in which you inhabited the territory and cared for it, you can claim a legal right to such property in Argentina.
Of course these squatters are just running their mouth, but notice how it suddenly goes from a home invasion, to you being the one on the other side of your own door and even cops can’t kick them out, it has to go through legal channels. That takes a long time, time they live in your house!
Not only will this be yet another concern for people in the future, it also changes the game in terms of preparedness.

Given that these events will become more common as time goes by. How much sense does it make to have vacant property to use as the famous BOL (bug out location) A fully stocked place, left empty? You might wrap it up in gift paper and put a big red ribbon on top of it.
What about traveling, because of pleasure, work or true need like this person needing health treatment? Your house will be left empty for weeks, maybe months. Can you afford to have an isolated place or is it better to have a neighbor that can keep an eye on it for you? Are you sure someone can move in to your place, maybe leave their own empty, exactly when you need it?
How about “light control”? The ultimate survivalist strategy of pretending to be an empty house so as to not attract attention. How much sense does that make now? These people are specifically looking for empty houses!

Time goes by and things start getting more serious. The make believe and fantasy go their own way and the cold hard truth of what works and what doesn’t become evident.
Concentrate on real world preparedness folks. Its been years now since you could last afford to play fort and wait for the cannibal raiders to come.
FerFAL

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pistol Caliber Carbine/handgun combos for Survival and Preparedness

Hi Fernando. I read your blog weekly, have read probably most of your articles, but I cannot seem to find any blog entry that spoke of cowboy rifles.
There are three fine manufacturers that I know of that make these pistol caliber carbines: Uberti, Henry, and Marlin. They also come in various calibers such as .38 Sp/357 Mag,
45 colt, and 44 magnum. I own this one, the Marlin 1894C chambered in 357 mag but also compatible with 38 special. It It’s also quite lightweight ( 6 lbs, or 2.7 kg) where it’s competitors weigh in at 8 and 8.5 lbs (3.6, 3.9 kg). I paid $554.00 new for one at http://www.budsgunshop.com with free shipping.

For your information, here are the equivalent guns from Uberti and Henry:
The Uberti Model 1873

which, chambered in 38/357 mag holds 10 rounds with a 20′ barrel, but is generally about a 1000 dollars or so. You pay for the fancy cosmetics, that’s for sure.
Then you have the Henry Big Boy, 357 mag holding 10 rounds, 20″ barrel, at about $900.

The Marlin is the cheapest, and lightest of the three, and for those looking for a no-frills, solid shooting piece of hardware, then it’s the one that I’d recommend. But that’s me. The other two rifles are also fine rifles (as I have read – I have no personal experience with them).
These pistol caliber rifles are great guns, particularly the Marlin for both it’s price and weight. But here are the advantages:
Advantages:
– The are carbines, making them smaller and generally easier to transport (carry).
– They are large capacity for rifles.
– With a little practice, these lever actions can be very fast shooters.
– The have very little recoil yet still hit fairly hard.
– They are generally LEGAL in places where tactical (so-called assault rifles) rifles are not.
– The ammo is CHEAP so practice is easier to on the wallet to do.
– They come in common calibers.
– Pistol ammo is small relative to rifle cartridges so you can carry a lot of it.
– Reduced risk of over penetration vs an AR, an FN-FAL, or an AK.
– Can be used on moderately sized, thin skin game up to 100 yards.
Disadvantages:
– They are generally effective inside of 125 yards. (IMO not an issue as most “sniper shots “would not be terribly convincing to a grand jury of evidence of self defense.)
– The are often very difficult to come by due to demand.
– Because of demand the markup on them can be as much as 100-250 dollars above baseline (approx $550, which is the cheapest I have seen).
– Slower to reload than a magazine-based system.
I have a tactical 870 12 Ga, a AR-15, and an AK-47, but I still bought the Marlin 1894C precisely because of the list of advantages that I just mentioned. My wife shoots it in 357 mag with ease and she is extremely recoil averse. Should the authorities ever decide to ban the “mean looking black guns with big magazines” then these may very well make it past the radar of the gun grabbers.
I could not more highly recommend that you blog an article on these after doing a little research yourself. The only downfall to them is that you have to be actively looking for them because they are in extremely high demand and most online gun brokers sell out of them within days (sometimes within hours) of posting an inventory of them.
Anyways, check em out. I just LOVE my little 1894C. It’ll still knock a bad guy on his ass at 150 meters. A 4″ barrel 357 magnum pistol will cough out full load Federal 125 gr JHP with a muzzle velocity of  1467 fps per my chronograph. The Marlin will spit the same round out of the barrel at 2077 fps, more then enough to address any issues of short to intermediate range personal defense.
I think you’ll find these pistol caliber carbines quite interesting once you investigate them.
Take Care,
Pete
South Florida.

Hi Pete! You know I did write about that in page 169 of my book “The Modern Survival Manual”.
I explained the advantage of the carbine/revolver combo, and its modern day equivalent the semi auto pistol caliber carbine or subgun and pistol combination.
If you have a 9mm carbine, in some cases you can get ones that use the same magazines as your sidearm. The use of the same ammo and magazines simplifies things greatly.
A couple points you didn’t mention about the pistol caliber carbine:
1) It has greater accuracy thanks to the greater sight distance.
2)The longer barrel takes advantage of burned powder better because it burns inside rather than out, gaining at least 100 extra feet per second or more.
You’ve mentioned some of the better known ones. There’s also the Rossi carbines which are said to be pretty good.

Keltec /Glock Combo

Storm/Beretta 92 Combo

As of modern day equivalents, look into what options you have in terms of carbines that use the same ammo and mag. You use in your handgun. Keltec does one that accepts Glock magazines, Beretta has an offering that takes Beretta 92 pistol magazines.
Take care!
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FerFAL

Friday, January 6, 2012

Should I Travel to Argentina or not? The new Anti Terrorist Law



Sir: I've been to buenos aires four times, to take dance lessons. My
website is noseintheair.wordpress.com ... some of my later visits are
chronicled there. I've lurked at this blog awhile, and came back to
check it out again, since I may be coming "down there" again. But the
news about restrictions on dollars is unsettling. Thus I approach you
for information, like any preparedness-minded individual would, and
ask you if this good a dollar-bearer, or bad for a dollar - bearer. I
am not looking to profit from misery, or engage in shady dealing. ...
But I would like to avoid entanglements with the authorities on
account of simply being uninformed. If those I interact with
(teachers, hostel operators) will take dollars, what is the risk to
me?
-Carlos
Your question is legitimate and until recently my answer would have been different, and this my regular readers know well.
When someone asks about safety when traveling to Argentina (and most other South American countries for that matter)my advice is usually the same: Have a good time but be more careful than usual. Stay within the areas that you see are clearly intended for tourists, like down town Buenos Aires, mind any bag or purse you may have, know it may be snatched just like with cameras and cell phones, don’t leave values unsecured in the hotel room, use a cab company recommended by the hotel.  Argentina is a country with a serious crime problem but for tourists that didn’t have an Indiana Jones complex it was ok. Good hotels, food and entertainment.
Today things have changed.
Tougher Argentine Terror Laws Concern Opponents

Argentina’s New Anti-Terrorism Law Ignites Terror

Strictly speaking according to the new and much criticized Antiterrorist law you could get in trouble. If you combine this with the recently created “Financial Investigation Division” under the control of AFIP (local version of IRS) they can pretty much throw you in jail for anything, from buying or selling dollars or paying to anyone with them, exchanging them, or for protesting in any way or form. Again if they throw the book at you, the new law recently approved says you can spend 15 years in jail. Even paying in pesos can get you in trouble, because the new law is so broad. Using dollars in any way other than exchanging them for a rip off in official institutions can be considered a form of financial terrorism. Yes, just for having USD dollars.
According to what has been said by the Minister of economy and Secretary of State numerous times on print and media, the idea isn’t to send people to jail for 15 years for touching a dollar, the idea is to simply and I quote “install a sense of fear in the population” of owning foreign currency. They have the right to do it, but they kind of say they wont, they just grant themselves the power to do so if they see fit. See, their heads are so high up their butts that they don’t even see anything wrong with making such claims.

There’s been outrage among the socialists that used to blindly support the current government, understanding that from now on they stand on fragile ground whenever they protest in any way or form. If its not 100% officially consented, you can go to jail for a long time just for protesting in Argentina.
Since you asked me I have to give you an answer. No, don go unless you think its worth the risk. The new law has been approved, the warnings are as clear as they can be, its up to you to decide. I simply think that in this climate its just not worth the risk. I’ve seen people be afraid of doing transactions in dollars, I had a friend of ours try to buy my sons savings (USD) which she desperately needed for a trip. My son is nine.

I just wouldn’t travel to any country where according to a new law they recently passed, they have a right to throw you in jail for almost anything. The law gives a ridiculously broad definition of what they could take as terrorist, from civil disorder to trying to ruin the country’s finance by selling or buying foreign currency, or knowingly or not financing “terrorists”, no minimum amounts mentioned. Its all up to their “good” judgment.
Ridiculously enough, Argentina’s IRS (AFIP) already had their own CIA, called Financial Intelligence Unit. “Unidad de Infomracion Financiera”. According to themselves, IN THEIR OWN WEBSITE, well, what a terrorist or financial terrorist for that matter is isn’t exactly defined! So if you cant tell me what it is, why the hell do you have a law that can put that undefined person in jail for 15 years!!?
http://www.uif.gov.ar/eng/financiamiento.html   (I purposefully don’t hotlink it, its in English but its up to you to visit their website or not)
That’s the situation as of today. You have to decide. As for my advice:  It’s just not worth it.

Join the forum discussion on this post!

FerFAL

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Serrated blades and Saws in Multitools




Ferfal,
I forgot to ask you, what is the purpose of the serrated blade on the Side Kick. The Wingman has scissors instead and I kind of they are more useful to cut a loose thread or tag, etc. However, I can think of a real use for the serrated blade. If I want to cut a small branch an inch or two in diameter, I can simply snap it instead of using the little blade. Other than that, what else is it good for?
Thank you.
Gallo

Serrated edges do have their uses and all other things being equal they do cut for longer time than straight edges. In the Wingman  I suppose its more likely to end up catching and cutting rope and cardboard.
There’s two reasons for this. Frist, most of the edge is within the serrations themselves. That means that only the pointy part of the serration is even in contact with the surface you’re cutting against. Second, when the material gets caught in the serration, the direction of the cutting motion back and forth is better taken advantage of.
While harder to resharpen, for rope and cord, cardboard and other more heavy duty type of material,  a serrated edge will sure last longer before needing resharpening.
For one inch diameter branches you don’t need much, but the saw in the Leatherman  Charge/Wave will cut through much more. Its not as hard as some would think.
With some patience not only do these saws cut branches, they can cut through 2”x2” and “2x4” with a small amount of effort as well.
FerFAL

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012: Thoughts, predictions and other reflections.

So 2012 started and seems that the Mayans weren’t right. Montezuma didn’t fly by throwing fireballs at people, the world didn’t end, yet again. How many years have gone by since the doom and gloomers have predicted crunches, cracks, ends of worlds and end of rule of law? Give me a second folks, nope, amazing but the golden  horde isn’t here yet and the mutant zombie bikers haven’t showed up. As we like saying here the world wont end, it just gets a bit more complicated, a bit more “interesting” if we prefer a bit of tint of pink in our glasses.
While the world wont end yet again and we’re not going to be quitting our jobs to live off the land in Yellowstone national park, 2012 wont be an easy year.

We’ve already seen many changes world wide in 2011. Europe, Spain and Greece mostly but also the rest of the EU are going through some extremely hard times, with a financial crisis that will bring along significant social changes. While the conservative party has won the elections in Spain and the socialist lie is mostly over many years of sacrifice await the Spaniard people.
In USA the crisis is still going strong, the social consequences I’ve mentioned so many times already becoming evident. People occupying the streets and public places across US, even restricting traffic, creating roadblocks like piqueteros do in Argentina, a scene I’ve hoped I’ve never see in USA.
Violent crime keeps getting worse, and many of the predictions made in this blog, which were more of logical deductions rather than guesses are taking place: Crime is getting worse all over US, even in the “nice” parts, even in the country and more rural areas. In the city things aren’t much better either. I received an email  today of a lady telling me that the police have warned neighbors that they wont be answering to home alarms any more: not enough money to do so.
That reminds me of how in Argentina in certain districts of Buenos Aires one day a week patrol vehicles have to stay parked, there’s not enough money for fuel for all seven days of the week.


Bringing out the Crystal Ball  here…

Everything we’ve seen in 2011 will keep  going on and intensifying. 2012 wont be a good year in general terms, nor will it be 2013 for that matter. The damage done by the crisis across the globe will take years to recover, even then things just wont be the same.
We’re looking at more taxes and more inflation. While unemployment has been kept in check the last months of 2011, during 2012 there will be an even more clear loss of standards of living. The jobs artificially created will impact the quality of life, the populations purchasing power decreasing.
Crime will keep getting worse, we’ll hear of more violent robberies, more home invasions. We’ll be hearing of more people being put to the test and seeing if their security preparedness was up to the challenge or not. The business of private security will keep growing and many communities will start to close themselves from the harsher outside world.
At the same time, its not all bad. There will be new economical markets to explore, people will be challenged by necessity and that can be good as well.

In terms of government and freedom, we’re looking at a historic opportunity with Ron Paul as a candidate. If you’re asking yourself what it is you can do to save USA from the grim future its heading to, that’s your answer. Ron Paul with his strong convictions about freedom and sincere belief in the US Constitution can make the hard decisions that are so unpopular among the lobbyists and mega corporations. I was watching yesterday on CNN how this creature that appeared to be a woman in a brown leather jacket but looked more like Jabba the Hutt kept attacking Ron Paul in an interview time and again. Still people, he’s running #2, something that the CNN media group cant stand, with all his proposals of non intervention in foreign countries and budget cuts. Ron Paul actually has a chance this time and that means there’s a chance of a better future for USA and the rest of the world. It doenst even matter if you like Ron Paul or not. He’s the only man that, placed in the oval office, can make the changes needed to eventually solve the problems that have brought so much misery world wide.
As for the blog, we’ll keep growing like we did in 2011. The forum at themodern survivalist.com keeps getting more and more people joining each day. During 2012 I’ll keep writing and posting about what actually can be of help for people in terms of preparedness.
Security,Survival & Preparedness as well as financial preparedness and street smarts for the more challenging world we live in.
Takce care everyone and I hope you all had a Happy New Year!
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FerFAL