Tuesday, December 30, 2008

FREE prepping

Reading about cutting expenses and preparing for as little money as possible, I started to think about all the preparedness that can actually be done for FREE, and how this FREE prepping actually covers many of the most important key points.

FREE Water:
Filling up empty jugs or soda plastic bottles. It’s pretty much free except for the tap water you use, and if kept in a dark place it will last for a couple years, before it starts tasting too much like plastic. (better to rotate each year)

FREE first aid:
It’s probably one of the easiest things to do.
Check with the Red Cross http://www.redcrossofsantamonica.org/article.aspx?a=6220
Ask in your local hospital or community center.

FREE craftsmanship classes:
Sometimes you find terrific classes and you don’t have to spend a penny, the district or government pays for it. Carpentry, plumbing, electricity or welding would be my top priorities so as to learn to fix things around the house.
My grandparents were carpenters and I learned a lot from them, but that may not be your case.
It’s important to have a basic handyman set of skills, and if you didn’t already learn it from your parent like I did, if you look around you may learn most of it for FREE. :)

FREE hand to hand training: I practice vale todo and ground fighting for FREE.
My son’s TKD instructor is a vale todo fighter and was looking for a partner to train with. We spar and in exchange I get some free lessons. I already knew boxing and that seemed to work well for him.
All I have to pay for is the gym fee, and some tai boxing lessons with a different instructor.
If you look around and contact guys in your area, you’ll soon find people that are also looking for a sparring buddy, and maybe you can exchange knowledge, say a few shooting lessons for some knife fighting and H2H.
Just try it! If you have some skill to teach in exchange or even just offer to spar in exchange for a few lessons, you can practice a lot for FREE.

FREE defensive shooting training: OK, here you need a few lessons and the basic gear and trigger time, but once you have that, you can do a lot for FREE.
Setting up various “targets” either paper targets, some you make up with cardboard or even some big silly teddy bears.
Setting these make-believe “bad guys” around the house and going through the place dry firing ( Caution!) can be some of the best as close as it gets training, practicing in the actual area where you may one day defend your life and the life of your loved ones.
Even better, get someone else to arrange the “bad guys” so you don’t know the location as you move around.
You need the weapon and previous training, and be careful about the dry firing, but again, dry firing is FREE, and it’s one of the best kept secrets of competition shooters.

Even if you have no firearms training, shooting schools sometimes offer FREE classes, look around and do some research to find if there’s any coming up soon.

Shooters in general are passionate about their addiction and many will willingly take you shooting, and give you a few FREE lessons. Just be kind enough and pay for the ammo. I took more than a few newbies to their first shooting session, and by the time we were ready to leave they had no problem keeping their shots center of mass at a respectable distance with a big bore handgun.

FREE information: You already have access to a computer and internet. Use it! The amount of information is endless, and most of it is FREE.

Try to make the most of your internet time, reducing the amount of time you fool around, and spend more time looking for useful information.

There’s lots of field manuals in PDF ( don just download them, READ them!) , as well as some excellent essays.
Where there’s no doctor, and where there’s no dentist are just a small example of what you can find.
I download and print the most important pieces.
If you are up to it, you could even bind it yourself… for FREE. :p


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas everyone!

Anonymous said...

Totally off topic, but Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family from a loyal reader.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

Merry Christmas to you too! :)

This is a great time of the year to remember what’s really important.

Every second with my family is precious, every giggle my baby does is golden.

If you think about it, all you have in life is here and now and our loved ones. I at least cherish every minute with them.

Merry Christmas people.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Weirdest thing that happened to me yet on the road…

The “EDC” and “10 things you would have done differently” posts are taking a bit longer than expected, but something happened the other day and wanted to tell you guys and girls about it.

The day before yesterday I was driving through General Paz highway.
About 4 PM, not a lot of traffic but still several cars around.

Minding my own business as usual when suddenly the car in front of mine starts slowing down (little red flag in the brain went up), and from the front passenger’s window a guy pulls most of his torso out of the window and points towards me with something in his hand, at first I thought it was a weapon, but instantly recognized the deodorant kind of bottle shape that protruded from below.
He started spraying my windshield with foam!
The instinctive thing to do would be to hit the brakes, but given the speed and cars near by, it would have been a big mistake.

I already had my gun out, so I went right and got close to the AH, pointed the gun to his face. (AC doesn’t work so the window was down)
He made the usual “entire life flashes before your eyes” face people put when you do that, eyes opened wide, combination of stupidity and surprise look.
He started shouting something to the driver.
They immediately slowed down and disappeared, didn’t see them again.
I don’t know if they wanted to carjack me, or just cause an accident, but being cautious always worked out for me.

Just wanted to share that because I thought it was pretty weird.
People here sometimes get robbed after they throw stones into the windshield, but this is the first time I saw this foam thing being used in such a way.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Counterfeit Money

I have a couple of other longer posts going on but I wanted to share this little tip with you because it’s one that can save you a lot of money, for real.

I’m not so sure how used you are to detecting counterfeit money.
In Spain, I’ve been handed funny money IN A BANK, without the employee realizing it unitl I told her, so I suppose that at least there, people aren’t used to it.

Point is -> economical crisis -> people need money-> some genius realize they can “make” money.

So sooner or later you start seeing a lot of counterfeited money. Some is better made than other, but this will probably become a problem in due time.

After our 2001 crisis, it happen after a few months, about a year.
It already happened before teh crisis, always had some funny money around, but after the crisis you noticed an increased number of it. There was a lot of fake money around, even fake coins. (someone made a killer there, since it was very hard to tell the fake coins from the cheapo post crisis coinage)

Inexpensive gadget that can save thousands ( literally!)


I started carry one of these ultraviolet LED lights. Not this particular brand, but one similar in terms of function.

Just lighting it over the bill would quickly tell you if the money was either fake, real, or maybe a good copy. I’m saying this because other things must be checked to before you can tell it’s not fake, but the light helps a lot.

I must say, I don’t carry one of these any more, and use the space for a real LED flashlight.
Why? Because after years of this, I humbly must admit that I got good at telling funny money form the real one. But don’t get too cocky, don’t think you can tell the difference too just because you think you be able to. Wait until you’ve detected about 50 counterfeit bills give or take( in actual exchanges and in payments at the cash register) before you can claim that.:) Better to be humble than loosing 100 bucks.
Now, things to look for, besides the light:

What to Look For:

1) Overall feel, the paper, the graphic quality. I’ve found fake money that had ugly quality paper. Not quality fake money, but in a rush you might not notice. Even with a home printer they can do this low quality counterfeit, so take a breath when you have money in your hand, and look at it well. Do not rush.
I remember once, I found a bill that was wrong since I first had it in my hand? Low quality and obviously fake but something else, What was it?.. After comparing it with a real one it was clear that it was 1/10 smaller. :)

2) The ink used. A real USD bill will leave a mark when rubbed against white paper ( the darker numbers)

3) The water mark. Don’t just make sure it’s there, make sure it has all the detail. I once found a fake dollar that had the watermark portrait, but with much less detail. It was hand make. Good detail, but not enough. Fake. Some look like drawn by a 5 years old, others a real work of art, making the bill probably more valuable than the real deal. :)

4) The vertical strip. Only noticeable when looking through the bill with a light in the back.
This should not only be there, but have numbers in it. I once found one that was a simple black strip inside the paper. Fake.

5) Look at the shiny ink marks, the one that sparkles a bit, it should be clearly defined, and not messed up a bit.

6) The numbers, the ones that change color when you look at it at a different angle, it should clearly change color.

7) Last the paper. Touch it, look at a lot of real paper bills trough light. The paper money is printed on is special, has a number of marks, a texture, that is different from ordinary paper.

These are basically the things I look for in money. I’m sure I’m forgetting some and there are others too, but check these, with the light to help, and you’ll avoid most counterfeit money out there.

Seems like a long list now that I look at it, but once you get used to it you check all these things in seconds.