Saturday, January 31, 2009

Security Measures in Ensenada

Given the lack of resources and the recent loss of a police patrol vehicle and personnel, the small rural town of Ensenada came up with a drastic decision: Dig a pit along it’s perimeter, build up barricades and remove any bush that may be used by criminals to hide and ambush people.

It was on the news last night, and though the interviewed neighbor admits it wont stop the crime problem, she said the town’s authorities decided to do so because they consider that at least it’s one more layer of protection, and that it will make patrolling the perimeter easier.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Water...And something I noticed about jobs.

The other day the water filter lady came by to change our water filter.

The problem we have here with water is a perfect example of the survival mentality required for the post economical collpae lifestyle.

Water is life. Anyone knows that. You don’t live long without it and people usually take it for granted, survivalists know that particularly well.
You should beep several galons of water stored at home for emergecy use.
But what happens with our tap water here in Buenos Aires?

We occasionally loose service for a while, specially in summer, and in some places people have been without water for over a week ( yo should try that) but we do have tap water.

Well, at least 65% of the people in the Buenos Aires southern suburbs has.
Of course I pay for my tap water, only difference is that my bill, unlike you lucky guys, has a small warning ( smallest letter size, of couse) at the bottom:
"This water should not be consumed by pregnant women or children under 3 years of age."

That’s nice. Contaminated tap water. How is this possible?
Our government simply approves a terrible standard for our water. So the water company has a right to provide bad tap water, that would be illegal in any serious country.

It’s of course dirty with small particles and full of dead microorganisms. Dead because of the chlorine.

You see, instead of actually going through a real purifying process, they just filter it a bit and dump lots of chlorine so as to make it potable, or at least so that no one dies from ecoli and sews them.

Nice thing about cancer is that unlike polluted water, it’s almost impossible to prove that your cancer was provoked by the excessive chlorine in water, or the heavy metal or arsenic.

So, the filter I have filters everything, but also absorbs the chlorine out of the water, but it requires replacement every 3 years, you can’t just retro-feed it to clean it, because the absorbed chlorine stays in there and eventually it stops absorbing it.

The replacement cups filter the bigger particles and gets replaced every 3 months or so.

The lady came by to replace the filter and also left me a year supply of cups, and a couple other parts like little hoses the filter needs and may brake ( not likely but I keep some spare parts just in case)

The woman that came was actually the daughter of the woman that came last year, and this leads us to the second part of this post.

She’s a radiologist but lack of job made her start working with her mother.

This happens a lot these days. People that had different profesions or trades and went back to work with teh family due to lack of job.

In the old days kids just went their way, but now in many cases young people try to pick up the profession or trade of their parents.

Now, with the unemployment, it looks like an attractive alternative.

You often find father and son/daughter working together that are doctors, lawyers, accountants, or working in the same family business or trade.
The plumber, electrician or painter will usually come with his son that is slowly following dad’s or mom’s steps.

Just take this into consideration when or if you are about to choose a career or occupation.
Knowing that money will be better if the son picks up the family trade or business makes such profession much more attractive.

Just think about it, take it into consideration, and talk about it with your father or suggest it to your children.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Real Estate: Investing and renting after the crisis

Norcal said...
Ferfal, I am wondering if you could comment on real estate prices.

For example, let's say a middle to upper middle class home (not super rich home) was going for say, $400,000 before your crash in 2001.

What would a home in such a neighborhood go for now? Again I'm not talking about the super rich safe suburbs, but a "nice" neighborhood, or at least that was nice before the crash?

You opened the door to a new dimension in real estate.
I know a bit about real estate because I do some operations every now and then.
Remember location, location location?
Well now it’s location, location, location location LOCATION!!!!!! :)

It’s so important to know the place like the palm of your hand, because one block of distance may me may be the difference between a very sweet deal and a rather bad one where you loose money.
"nice" neighborhood, you say?
I ask, HOW nice?

Are the people there new “nice people” or is the place full of well off older guys too, families with their own business going well, the kids of these older guys stay there and carry on the family business, or their profession, the doctor ha his kid that is also a doctor and is taking dad’s place, assured income post SHT?
Because if it’s a year 2000 higher upper class and the guy is an employee that just got fired, he wont be “nice neighborhood” material for too long.
You want people with solid finances, not rich but solid. An older guy that has had a business that survived lots of things for decades.

You don’t want a place full of 20 year old internet wizards that are the first one’s to loose their jobs when things look bad.
Brick and mortar good. Digital bad. :)

OK, how can you tell the kind of people, the target of the place? Do your research.
Old nice neighborhoods that have been nice for 100 years and still have business owners, politicians ( like roaches, they never die, even after the nuke), judges, people with certain money still living there, that’s a good place.
A new development, even if nice, that started just 10 years ago and most people don’t even own their houses, not so SHTF proof.

What happened here, exactly what I’m explaining.

The more exclusive “nice place” that has been “nice” for 100 years still stayed ok, even keeping the pre SHTF prices, while just a block away ( I swear, just 1 block away form the nice place) the price drops like a brick. That house is worth maybe 75%, or 50% of what it used to cost.

Wont drop much more than that, 50% is pretty bad I know, but maybe you can hold on until the price goes up, or you can look hard for the proper person to rent to.
So that’s the key point in real estate after the crisis. The place must be consolidated.

Or you might explore the new market. That’s going to be people that can’t afford a “nice place” anymore and move to duplex or apartment right next to their job opportunities down town. So, it’s got to be easy on the pocket, small place but nice, and it should be right IN downtown or just next to it.
Just a small example, little true story.
Yesterday while waiting for my turn under the claws for that demonic sadist otherwise known as dentist ( ;^) )
I overheard the conversation two young women had while the TV was on in the waiting room. Its was news about another home invasion in a homestead in Pilar.
I heard them comment:
“See? We’re going to be just two women living alone, we cant live in a house, we need to move to an apartment. It’s much safer”
The other one shook the head in agreement right next to her with the eyes glued to the TV.

People just don’t die by the millions after an economical crisis like in the survival novels, in the real world they survive. And that makes things much more complicated. Because, where do they go?

The demand for this kind of real estate will create a new kind of “nice place” demand, in or right next to downtown, simply because there’s were more job opportunities showed up. That’s a niche in the market you’ll be able to exploit.
Before , it didn’t matter. A family lived in the suburbs, had a house in some sub with nice trees, lots of vegetation, and drove a large distance to work.
Now he has no work.
Now he cant afford the big house.
Now he cant afford the gas or maybe even the car.
See where I’m going? Don’t start splitting hairs and go for far fetched suppositions. These things, they happened here in my country, and it’s not something new, we’re nothing special, it’s the typical urban dynamic that has been going on forever.
Having said that, be careful of the places down town that are destined to become a rat hole.
Walk around the place a lot, see what kind of people live there, book stores and cafes? Nice .. xxx stores or industries that just went bankrupt? Maybe a larger investor can buy a few blocks and redesign the city, but not you.
So be smart, and do a lot of research until you know the place well, don’t just go along with whatever the RE agent says.

That’s also a nice way of investing.

In other words, what percent have the house prices fallen since 2001?

I'm asking as I read on automaticearth.com that they think our prices will go down 80 to 90%
Wow! What do you think? That is so scary as my husband and I worked so hard to buy and improve this house, then to think it will go down 80 to 90%?

Just to let you know in my area so far in the crash, the houses have gone down probably 20% so far. Many neighborhoods/cities much worse off than ours.

Thanks for your ideas and your blog.

80% and 90% is a bit extreme, unless you paid MUCH more than the already inflated market values dictated.

About 50 % is the norm, 70% for a very crappy deal to begin with prior to the crisis, and after a total market collapse.
Some are closer to going back to their pre-crisis value after a year when talking about a consolidated nice place like I mentioned before, some falling a bit lower than 50% when the buyer already paid too much for it before the crisis and the place was not even nice to begin with.

When property get down to 50%-60% tops, investors (bigger investors than the average folk) start buying because they see the opportunity. That alone prevents prices from going down further.

Old time real estate investors in Argentina estimate that 50% average is about as low as property gets until it reaches it’s floor. I’ve seen exceptions a bit above and below that number, depending on the variables mentioned, but it’s still accurate, as an average.

Perparing for the most likely senario seems like the best way to go and I've done that and more. I started over a year ago and done the best possible for a large family, however there are loose ends. I was unable to sell a multi-family apartment 'complex', referred to as a '4-plex' here. It currently pays for itself and the mortgage. During the initial shock and surge in consumer prices, renters may not be able to pay the rent and I can afford to pay part of the mortgage waiting for wage increases to catch up, or cut rents by up to 50%. The mortgage payment will not increase. If I'm able to hang on and avoid defaulting, is there a chance that wages will increase quickly enough? This assumes of course that there are still jobs in the area.

What do you believe was the experience of rental property owners. I'm counting on wages to increase and the possibility of actually being able to raise rents to offset other expenses expected to rise. Somewhere in your blog I remember reading that rents increase 60%. Is this correct?

If I can hang on to this property there might be a chance that it could be a way to help keep up with some of the price increases and possibly pay off the mortgage with inflated dollars. This sounds good, but the reality of the stituatation might be different.

Thank you,

That’s very smart of you Sticks. And a pretty accurate estimation.

Not quickly, but yes wages will increase. Here they don’t increase as much as inflation. That’s why things are slowly getting a bit worse and middle class is slowly turning into poor.
Again, I have experience renting and I could give you a couple pointers.

1) It’s business, ok?

If you let them cry you a river, you wont even have to water the lawn anymore.
At first I went a bit soft on a guy, until one they he let it slip that he was glad because that way he could pay for all other things that didn’t cut him any slack.
“Dude, I’m getting screwed just so you can keep paying for your credit card buying God knows what else”
I told him that I was sorry, he had a month to get updated with his rent or he could start looking for something within his means .
Those are the words you must use:
“ I’m sorry Mr/Ms xxxx, you’ll have to find something you can actually pay for, something more within your means. I can’t rent this to you for 10 bucks when I have people readily to pay the real market value, which is 12.”
That is it. Don’t be best buds, it’s business.

2) Careful what you sign.

Get a lawyer to read every thing you intent to sing.
I was looking for someone for an office down town. The real estate company wanted me to sign something before they started looking for a tenant.
They had like 6 months exclusivity, I had to pay them like 5000 USD if I found a person to rent to on my own, etc, etc.
Man, that was great. I started laughing at the guy in his face. I called my wife that is a lawyer so we could both laugh at the same time.
I’m not kidding or exaggerating, I laughed at the guy in his face and after wiping away a couple small tears I handed him back the paper and told him of course, I wouldn’t sing that.

He looked at me with a face made of stone “Sir, everyone we work with signs this. The owner of the real estate agency requires it to begin working and finding a tenant for you”

I told him “ That’s fine, I’m glad you find idiots to sign that for you. Only proves how much stupid people there’s around.
Tell you what. I’m not singing you that piece of paper, its ridiculous, but I offer you this:
I’ll give you half the commission you are asking for, I don’t pay anyone more than that. I’ll give you, say, 2 months. This is down town capital district and you should find someone fast enough, I’m not asking for more than the market value.
You have no exclusivity over anything. I’m going to contact at least a couple other brokers. If you find a tenant, they you get the commission, if not then that’s too bad.
If you’re not interested lets just stop wasting each other’s time.”

His jaw hung pretty low, I don’t know if he was pretending to be shocked or really was, I don’t think everyone fall for what he wanted me to sign, but many sure did.
HE asked me to hold on a second, talked to some guy on the cell, offered me 75% commission of what they asked before. I told him I was willing to round it up to about 60% of the commission he asked, he talked on the phone again and said ok.
Know the market, don’t let anyone push you around into paying more than you should. And just don’t sign anything until you are sure.
Important: Whatever contract you sign, make sure it includes some kind of protection against any jump of inflation and the market in general.
My contracts have the possibility of braking up the deal after 6 months if inflation increased and the parts don’t reach an agreement on rent.
Other’s also include how much rent will approximately go up, again, with the possibility of braking the agreement after 6-12 months.

3)Find the right tenant.
The guy ended up finding a tenant, a gay psychiatrist.
The place had two offices and he’d use one, a woman ( also a psychologist) would work in the other office.
That’s the perfect. Not only one, but two professionals. The guy will never have a divorce of childcare to worry.
That guy will be paying rent for the rest of his life, and one things people need during a crisis, that’s therapy. He’s going to have lots of work for sure.
Don’t rent to any chunk of meat that walks and breathes.

Kids are a reality, but take a good look. A shabby looking guy with 5 brats running around, with an equally shabby looking wife is not someone you want.
Clean looking, verifiable job, preferably not 12 kids and someone that sounds reasonable when you talk to him. Check his background as well as you can. Lots of scams going on and once inside, it’s harder to get rid of them.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reply: Open carry of a bladed weapon

Anonymous said...
After further research I've found that my state allows open carry of just about any bladed weapon, but no firearms.

What is your experience with this, Ferfal? Are you more likely to be left alone if someone sees you are carrying one of the machetes you mentioned or one of these?


Can be had for approx. $110 on ebay and obviously would need practice to use. Seems like a very large and very effective version of your El Hombre.

Open carry a machete? Unless you are in Camerun, or live in the Amazon I don’t think you could to that without attracting a lot of attention, mostly cops.
Of course I dont want to mess around with someone that carries a large blade, who would? But again, you’re stick out like a sore thumb and if there’s any cops around and you carry that thing all day you’ll eventually have trouble, sooner than later.
Having said that, did go backpacking with a very large machete strapped to the side of my backpack, but I was in the middle of Patagonia, a gaucho ( local version of cowboy) with a facon ( big knife, bayonet size) strapped to the back is a common sight, so a backpacker with a machete was something no one cared to look twice.
I also kept it well strapped and had a black holster so it didn’t catch that much attention, only the handle protruded from above ( ready access).
It’s all about understanding your surroundings.
If I did than in NY city or Buenos Aires, people would stare at me and someone probably call the cops.

Regarding the kuki.
You’re talking about serious chopping power.
By all mean, a kukri is a formidable weapon, no doubt there.
Big blade similar to the short machetes we talked about before, and has a recurved blade to boost. You sacrifice a bit of stabbing and thrusting since it gets harder with the kukri.

Keep in mind that it’s very hard to stab with the original kukri ( gurkas went for chopping, which they found very effective given the size, weight and shape of the blade)

The kopis sword seems to be the best of both worlds. I’m sure many recently saw it in the movie “300”. In spite of the comic movie, the weapons and armor are historically accurate.

The kopis is no doubt a wonderful weapon.
Cold steel used to make a nice Kopis machete, but it’s now discontinued.
Personally, and specialy in a large blade, I want to be able to trust and stab with it if used in a fight.
This is something the Romans took into consideration with their Gladius.

It’s a nice short sword, heavy enough to chop nicely but it has a strong narrow tip for stabing, which was the most common attack move when combined with the shield.

That machetes I mentioned and purposely attacked the links to Amazon, they are all good for stabbing and thrusting attacks.
Cold Steel took this into account with their kukris and straightened them out a bit more for better stabbing potential, though I’d still go for a bowie 12”, a spear point, or kopis instead.

Look at this Youtube review on the bowie machete.

As a concelaed carry fixed blade, take a lot at Cold Steel's reocn tanto with kydex holster.
I CCed a cold steel Kobun, stainless, serrated, adn with kydex holster, but it's not available any more.
No I dont work for Cold Steel but I have many of their products and they are very well made, reasonably priced ( machetes are downright cheap! but check the video above) and the steel is good quality , sharpens well.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Reply: Gun at home and other weapons

Anonymous said...
Living in the USA but am not going to be able to go the gun route for self defense. My wife has a huge problem with them after having watched as her grandfather put one in his mouth and pulled the trigger when she was eight years of age. What other means of self defense would you go with? We have some OC spray. Knives? Intense martial arts?
January 26, 2009 7:02 PM

It’s hard to beat a gun, specially since you live in USA where you could get one without much problem if you want.

Guns were called “Equalizers” in the old West for a reason. A scared person can point the gun in the general direction and with a bit of luck hit the aggressor and equal things, in spite of the difference of size and strength.
Any weapon is better than no weapon. Blunt weapons like batons or even commonly available baseball bats can do a lot of damage.

Know a case where a father killed a rapist bashing him over the head with a steel pole with a garbage basket on top.
But with blunt weapons, it only takes a determined person to close in and if stronger, faster and more aggressive than you.. well… your in trouble.

A knife has the advantage of wounding just by contact if sharp enough.
An attacker trying to take away a large sharp blade from you will only loose some fingers.
Of course if your attacker has a gun, you might be able to kill him with a knife, but you’ll get shot for sure.

I could tell you to get a short machete made by cold Steel.

Spear point machetes by Cold Steel

That’s what I’d have in my house for defense is a gun wasn’t an option.
These aren’t works of art, but they are big sharp blades made of good steel.
There’s knives out there that are all very tactical, but the machete is the one that kills and mutilates people around the world on daily basis. Both a formidable weapon and a tool.

But can you shove that into another person? Can you let go of a very instinctive and brutal side of you, bringing yourself to that? Is it even in you?
A handgun is a much more “civilized” defensive tool.

I’ve seen some gruesome knife fight results. In one occasion, I couldn’t believe all that blood actually fitted inside the person that laid in the pool of blood.
So if you chop or stab with a thick blade, expect a lot of screaming, a lot of warm blood spraying all over you, and expect to keep slashing and stabbing with it when you are soaking wet with someone else’s blood.

Don’t expect him to go down right away. Unless you crash his skill with it, or shove it up his ribcage or through the neck into the skull, blood loss will be the reason why he goes down.

I’ll do it, heck as I’ve said before I’ll kill someone with my bare hands if I have to because the results of not doing so and being at the mercy of these bastards is too fresh around here.
Today they released a man that was held kidnapped for 32 days. Kidnapped by cops.
Hell no. I’m not putting my family or myself through that, or worse.

OC spray works. But it wont do much against armed criminals that only have to point and shoot, and even a single person can keep fighting after being sprayed if he’s determined enough. If he’s high on drugs it might not affect him at all.
I carry OC spray in my bag, so does my wife, but it’s a less than lethal tool, and sometimes it’s not enough.

And of course, learning hand to hand combat should be a priority.
I’d advice you to take several classes of tai boxing and brazilian JJ, find if you have a mix martial art club near by where you can put it to use, and if you’ve never trained in fighting sports before, train for at least a year until you develop good fighting instincts and reflexes.

Knife fighting classes are also good. Don’t get involved much into artistic styles, you can spend your entire life with Filipino styles, just learn the basic and practice them frequently against a board or pole.

But even if you do this, do yourself a favor and get a gun. Get a combination lock safe and leave it there if it makes your wife feel safer but do get a handgun.

I understand what it’s like to have a wife that is scared of guns.
Unfortunately the only experience my wife had with guns until she met me was being on the business side of a gun barrel. Just too many times.
She didn’t like guns at all but understood that being armed was just part of who I was and she didn’t even try to negotiate going through life unarmed.
I suppose that since we married right after the 2001 lootings showed in the clips below made such an idea even more ridiculous.
No, we needed a gun, like it or not.

I told her where I left my Glock when I went to work each day , even though she said she was scared of it and would never touch it.

One day I came back home and found the Glock on the table…

Apparently someone tried to brake in. Made a lot of noise in the grating gate ( didn’t get through) and my wife did the most logical thing: Fearing for her life she grabbed the weapon she feared so much.

I left the Glock loaded with a round on the chamber. (I don’t believe in empty chamber guns any more than I believe in ghosts or the Tooth Fairy :^) )
Had the intruder broken in, more than likely my wife would have shot him instinctively point aiming, center of mass. The 357 SIG hollow point round would have delivered a lot of damage.

Have a talk with her.
Don’t expect her to go shooting with you, just ask here to understand that you consider this extremely important.
Negotiate a bit, show her a couple of safes where you’d keep it.
Accidents occur when someone is negligent. If you keep the gun secured, specially if you keep it in a safe at all times, there’s no margin for accidents.

Take care and good luck.

Edited to add:
That was a pretty sinister and bloody post, to compensate I leave you this.
Have a great day! "D'acord?!" :^)

Too much candy from Capucha on Vimeo.


Iceland and Argentina

Guys, this is to show the similar behavior when SHTF, between countries that are at the other end of the globe from one another, totally different cultures.
But when SHTF…

Looting in Argentina 2001

(the Chinese guy is the owner of the shop being looted)

Argentina March 2008 Farmers crisis

Pots sound the same to me.


Iceland 2009 Argentina 2001

That's the title on a TV report right now.
Any guys from Iceland, please read my blog. Do yourself a favor and prevent a lot of problems.
We went through the exact same thing.
Economy goes down.
Then goes the gov.
Man, I'm watching it now, exact same images, pots banged against banks.

Here's an article. By the way, "Que se vaya todos" was our motto in 2001.. means "kick them all out!" .. talking about our politicians...

Iceland 2009: "que se vayan todos"?
by Manuel Alvarez-Rivera, Puerto Rico


Just two years after holding a parliamentary election, voters in Iceland are likely to return to the polls next May 9 for an early general election. Normally, the poll would not need to be held until 2011, but these are anything but normal times in the Nordic island nation, whose economy has been devastated by the ongoing global financial crisis.

With all of Iceland's three major banks under receivership since October; the national currency (the krona) having lost over half its value and the stock market over 90 percent of its value; inflation and unemployment on the rise; and the GDP expected to contract by ten percent this year, public discontent over the perceived mismanagement of the economy by the coalition government of Iceland's two major parties - the conservative Independence Party and the left-of-center Social Democratic Alliance - has fueled mounting protests, first on a weekly basis and more recently on a daily basis.

The protests, which have drawn crowds of up to six thousand - a respectable figure for a country with a population of just over 300,000 - had been peaceful until last week, when they suddenly turned violent. In response, Prime Minister Geir Haarde announced he would call an early election for May 9; he also indicated that he would step down due to health reasons, having been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Prime Minister Haarde initially let it know he intended to stay in office until the early election was held, but protests continued to take place, demanding the government's immediate resignation. Minister of Business Affairs Björgvin G. Sigurðsson subsequently announced he would resign from office immediately, and Haarde's grand coalition government came apart shortly thereafter.

In many ways, the events currently taking place in Iceland are reminiscent of developments in Argentina during that country's economic meltdown in late 2001, in which increasingly intense, violent protests forced the ouster of then-president Fernando de la Rúa under the rallying cry of "¡Que se vayan todos!," or "Away with them all!" - "them" being the politicians. To be certain, voters in Argentina didn't get rid of all the incumbent elected officials, but the financial crisis of 2001-02 crushed de la Rúa's Radical Civic Union (UCR), which until then had been one of the country's major political parties, and obliterated the Radicals' allies as well. Likewise, Iceland's ruling parties may be in for a major setback in the upcoming election: opinion polls indicate that the Independence Party - which has dominated Icelandic party politics since the country severed its union with Denmark in 1944 - may lose its pre-eminent status, while support for the Alliance has fluctuated wildly, with more recent polls suggesting the party is likely to lose considerable ground as well.

The two parties that currently stand out to gain the most are the opposition Left-Green Movement - which stands to the left of the Alliance and appears set to become the largest party in the upcoming election - and the agrarian, middle-of-the road Progressive Party. The Left-Green Movement has never been in power, while the Progressives has held office frequently, most recently from 1995 to 2007 as the Independence Party's coalition partner. Meanwhile, Iceland's grass-root movements may also take part in the upcoming election, and they could find fertile ground for their agenda: according to one opinion poll, eight percent of voters would support parties other than the ones that ran in the preceding election.

At any rate, no single party is likely to gain an overall parliamentary majority under Iceland's proportional representation system (reviewed in Elections to the Icelandic Althing), and the election winner will have to find coalition partners in order to form a government. That said, it remains too early to tell what kind of government may emerge from the election, all the more so because unlike in most of the other Nordic countries, right-left coalitions such as the outgoing Independence Party-Alliance administration are a fairly common occurrence in Iceland.
Posted by Manuel Alvarez-Rivera at 10:34 AM


Iceland's government topples amid financial mess

REYKJAVIK, Iceland – Iceland's coalition government collapsed on Monday after an unprecedented wave of public dissent, plunging the island nation into political turmoil as it seeks to rebuild an economy shattered by the global financial crisis.

Prime Minister Geir Haarde resigned and disbanded the government he's led since 2006. Haarde was unwilling to meet the demands of his coalition partner, the Social Democratic Alliance Party, which insisted on choosing a new prime minister in exchange for keeping the coalition intact.

"I really regret that we could not continue with this coalition, I believe that that would have been the best result," Haarde told reporters.

Iceland has been mired in crisis since October, when the country's banks collapsed under the weight of debts amassed during years of rapid expansion.

Thousands of angry citizens have joined noisy weekly protests against the government's handling of the economy, clattering pots and kitchen utensils in what some commentators called the "Saucepan Revolution."

The value of the country's krona currency has plummeted, hitting many Icelanders who took out special loans denoted in foreign currencies for new homes and cars during the boom years. In addition, Iceland must repay billions of dollars to Europeans who held accounts with subsidiaries of collapsed Icelandic banks.

Haarde's government has nationalized banks and negotiated about $10 billion in bailout loans from the International Monetary Fund and individual countries.

Haarde — a fiscal conservative with degrees from the University of Minnesota, Brandeis and Johns Hopkins — is suffering from cancer and has announced he would not seek another term. He called early elections last week, following the mass protests by Icelanders upset at soaring unemployment and rising prices.

Though largely peaceful, the protests have seen Reykjavik's tiny parliament building doused in paint and eggs hurled at Haarde's limousine. Last Thursday, police used tear gas to quell a protest for the first time since 1949.

Haarde said last week that he wouldn't lead his Independence Party into the new elections because he plans to seek treatment in the Netherlands for his cancer.

Following discussions with Haarde, Iceland's figurehead President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said he would hold talks with Iceland's four main political parties late Monday before asking one of the organizations to form an interim government.

He's likely to ask Foreign Minister Ingibjorg Gisladottir, head of Social Democratic Alliance, to govern alongside smaller opposition parties until new elections are held.

But Gisladottir said Monday she won't seek to personally replace Haarde as Iceland's leader. She instead proposed her party's popular Social Affairs Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir.

The restoration of trust in the government is critical, said Iceland's Environment Minister Thorunn Sveinbjarnardottir, an alliance member.

"What is needed straight away is to try to restore trust between the political establishment and the general public," Sveinbjarnardottir told The Associated Press. "What we need is for the general public to believe that the politicians are working in their interests."

Both the demonstrators and the alliance seek the ouster of Central Bank Gov. David Oddsson, who has served for 13 years.

Sveinbjarnardottir said Oddsson's ouster should be accompanied by the tightening of regulations in the country's financial industry. "We need a certain amount of cleansing to be the first steps," she said.

At a rally Monday outside Parliament, protester Svginn Rumar Hauksson said demonstrations won't end yet.

"The protests will continue until it becomes clear that things are really changing," he said.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Reply about Bersa handguns.

Someone asked about Bersa pistols, but I can’t seem to find the comment.
Since I answered a PM recently on glocktalk about Bersas as well, thought I’d post the reply about it here too.

Anyway, I really like Bersas and they have worked very well for me so far.

I have a Thunder 22, a model 23 ( also 22LR, older all steel version of the Thunder 22) a 380 Super Thunder (oh man, this gun is sweet and slick :) ) .
They’ve all worked well and are accurate and reliable.

I also own a Bersa Thunder 9mm.

Good gun.
I hated the way it looked and only bought it because it has a lifetime warranty and I wanted a 9mm to beat up and not worry about it.
The Bersa did all that and more. I learned to like the thing.

Its fired thousands of rounds and never had a single problem, even using cheap lead reloads.

Took a class and fired 800 rounds in one day, few weeks later took another and again, no problem.

A guy with a Glock broke a part, another one with a Beretta had issues… the Bersa went along just fine, and so did the other two Bersa 9mm.

Very tough gun, accurate too. The finish is surprisingly good for such a gun. It rained a bit during the class but the gun had no problems, and it’s not as if I cleaned it much after the class. Just cleaned the barrel a bit ( only got the thick gunk out) and rubbed it a bit with an oiled rag.

Get the Bersa 9mm. If you have any sort of problem, know that it is not typical, they are good guns. Send it back and have it replaced or fixed.
Shoot a few hundred rounds and you’ll know you have a gun you can trust.

Take care and good luck with your Bersa.:)


Post SHTF shopping guide

Thought I’d put together a couple pointers.

1) Become a discriminating buyer
This is pretty much the core to your new mentality.
Regarding everything.

Do I NEED another box of 50% saturated fat donuts?
K, it tastes good. But how much do I need it really? Compared to some beans/rice/lentils/meat that could go into the freezer that would provide real nutritious value.
Donuts, cookies, chocolates and junk food in general. Not only are you wasting money but you are not doing your body any favors.

Sounding a bit like a flavorless terminator here. :)
Man, we like brownies as much as the next family, cookies and ice cream too and a nice glass of cold coke.
Just learn to rationalize it to a) save money b) not eat junk that slowly ruins your arteries and ads more fat to your body.
Try your best to find alternatives that don’t have saturated fat. That stuff is the worst thing you could eat.

So for example, when I’m buying food, I estimate we’ll be having 2 or 3 junk food meals. Say, brownies one day, ice cream for desert a couple days more. Otherwise its fruit for desert.
Yes, that’s 3 junk meals per week.
Sounds like too little to most, given the average person’s diet. But once you start adding up other things like soda drinks, you see how much “damage” you are doing to your wallet and your body.

Point here is, there must be some kind of control. If you don’t one day you’ll stand in front of the mirror and you’ll see Jabba the Hutt .
If a 2.5 L soda bottle disappears each dinner, that’s a lot of sugar you are eating ( nearly 1/3 of the bottle is pure sugar) and money you are wasting.
I go for one small glass, another one later on during the day.
Lately we’ve been drinking too much ( summer here right now).
I think 2.5 liters should last us ( 2 adults, my kids don’t drink it) two days.
And cutting down to 2 bottles a week or none at all is something we’ve done in the past and were darn glad about it.
Tang is something we drink a lot of.
Cheap, has vitamins, less sugar, and way better for you body than soda pop.
Keep this in mind guys. Soda pops should be a controlled substance, not by the federal government but by each parent. Uncontrolled consumption of soda will make your kids obese in no time.
So, learn to tell the difference between food and junk, and be honest with yourself regarding how much junk you are actually eating.
Food in my book means meat ( the chunk of bloody flesh, not a can or microwave meal) rice, potatoes, lentils, tomato sauce ( careful those of you with high blood pressure, lots of salt there), vegetables, canned tuna, pasta, fish, and pizza made by myself.
Generally speaking, processed foods and ready meals will fall on the junk food side, full of salt, saturated fat and hydrogenated God knows what else.
Add to that that they tend to be much more expensive. Doesn’t take a genius to figure how much of this should be in your shopping cart ( little or none at all)

2) Discounts and sales.

Discount days, sales, coupons, promotions of any kind, anything goes.
You lucky guys living in wonderful USA, you can even print them out

you think this is common in other parts of the world? Its’ not.
Take advantage of these things while you have them guys.
Of course, buy in quantity when you find good deals. This saves the most money.

3) Become an informed client.

Here we are entering into more “post SHTF shopper” territory.
Quick version. The government that is supposedly in charge of quality control in general lacks the time resources or is too corrupt to care about what actually ends up in the shelves. The economy crashed, they have crime and social disorder to take care of. Quality control is something that isn’t even in the picture.

You need to know yourself what you are eating.

Just as an example. Tomato sauce.
I buy the known brand, called “Campagnola”, which is the most expensive you can get. Also lasts for well over a year, so that’s a bonus.
Why? Because I learned that nearly all other sauces are made out of a huge load of tomato sauce that the chinese sold to the companies in the country. Later they found out that quality was worse than they expected but since they had it, they have to sell it, mixing it up with the more expensive stuff produced locally.
In this case, its worth buying the safer product.
But in other cases, quality and price does not go hand by hand.
I’m always asking for references to others, take note of any good comment regarding a lesser known brand ( old ladies usually know better, talk to them when on the line :) ), try some product out and compare it to what I’m already using. This usually leads to some great finds that can cost less, and sometimes even cost less for a better quality.

4) Careful where you shop.

Another post SHTF classic.
People have little to no money and are looking to maximize profit.
Some guys figured they’d save some bucks by turning off the fridges at night, hoping the temperature would stay low enough until the next day.

Do this during summer, specially with milk, yogurt, cheese and meat, and you might end up intoxicating the clients, even killing them like we’ve seen here in some cases not long ago.

How to know if the chill cycle was broken at some point?

The cup or pack should obviously be cold, less than 5 ºC. The packaging, it should not be wet or water at the bottom of the fridge, or ice formed. That’s a sign of defrosting, meaning temp went up at some point.
Frozen products should be as hard as a rock.
Yogurts and other cups, and soft packaging, look for swelling and inflated containers. IF you feel it’s a bit more tense than it should be, better leave it here.
Also, take an overall look at the place. A dirty grocery store is a sign of a cheap owner that probably tries to save some bucks by turning off the fridges at night.

This is no guarantee though. I’ve shopped in “Disco”, which is a well known brand of big supermarkets ( our equivalent of Kmart, one in every neighborhood) and the chicken I was about to buy had gone bad and smelled once I poked the film with a key.

How do you tell if a chicken or other meat has gone bad?
Smell of course, but also take a good look at the bones. The cut bones leave the medulla exposed. It should be bright red. If it’s dark it means the blood is going bad.
If there’s no bone visible in the meat you are buying, look for small arteries and spots of blood. Again, you want bright red blood, and good smell.
Eggs? That’s a bit more complicated, but once you are home you can tell by putting it in water. A good egg sinks, a bad egg floats.
Also regarding sales. Is it really cheap?
Sometimes “Disco” supermarket will announce a sale for next week... but raises the prices a few days before.

There’s are some commonly known tips, but they are even more important after the SHTF because no one else will be controlling things, at least not the way they should.

5) Checking your change AND ticket.

Most people I see don’t even bother to check the change... nuff said.

But also something that has happened to me, the price I saw does not correspond with the price at the counter.

I don’t check every single thing, but I do look overall for anything that looks odd. A couple times I paid more than I metal estimated I would. A quick check showed that I was being charged several bucks over the price displayed.

This happens a lot, specially during the worst months of rising inflation. So guys, check that you are paying what you should. A notepad and a calculator is a good idea.

Guys, just a few tips for shopping after a delicate economy.
Other than that;
Careful when going back home and getting the bags out of the car.
If you buy any expensive gadgets, destroy the box, don’t leave it out there.

Take care guys and have a good weekend.


Tactical/Practical Glock: The Glock 34

Interesting article about the larger than average Glock.

Note the comment regarding the size compared to the much glorified 1911 ( rightfully so) and the part about the speed advantages for the 9mm when using longer barrels. This applies too to subguns people.

Also, anyone needing a good gunsmith, my friend Nomad asked me mention Blackie from HR Gunworks.
He's in Louisiana, the Baton Rouge area.


If Nomad recommends him, he’s a good guy to do business with.



The Glock 34

Guns Magazine, Sept, 1999 by Massad Ayoob


It's a target pistol. It's a tactical entry gun. It's a duty weapon. It's a home defense handgun. A tool that does that many jobs is usually sold by Ronco. The one under discussion now, though, is sold by Glock. It's called the "Tactical/Practical" and its numerical designation is the 9mm Model 34. (The same size gun in .40 S&W is the Model 35.)
The pistol is midway in size between the 4.5"-barrel G17 and G22, and the 6"-barrel target guns, the G17L and the G24. Barrel length on the Practical/Tactical guns is 5.3", with an overall length of 8.15". Weight is a feathery 23 ounces. Sight radius is 7.32".

The extended barrel and slide certainly don't size this gun out of the "tactical" realm. What we have to remember to maintain perspective is that the so-called "full size" Glock 17 and 22 aren't all that big to start with. Let's compare the Model 34 with some other popular fighting handguns that are routinely carried concealed.
Hide-Out Fighter
Note that the Model 34 is actually shorter than the standard size 1911 pistol, the Beretta 92 and a 4" service revolver. It's not only portable, it's actually concealable.

I carried my Model 34 for a week in a polymer Glock beltslide holster. Part of the time it was on my right hip, and part of the time the same rig was under my left armpit, attached to the top left strap of my Second Chance body armor. It was comfortable and quick to draw in both locations. Yes, it was also concealable in both locations.

While Glock pistols are amply accurate for service gun needs, few are truly "match accurate" save for the .45 caliber versions. This is because the .45 barrels are made by a different process than what Glock uses for its 9mm and .40 S&W models.
I've found that my little Glock 30 .45 compact will outshoot any 9mm or .40 pistol in their catalog, including the 6" barrel longslide guns intended for target shooting. The G34, however, proved to be the most accurate 9mm Glock I have handled.
Brian Toal, a New Jersey cop and firearms instructor, was able to print a 2" five-shot group with this gun at 25 yards, using Federal's exquisitely accurate 115 gr. hollowpoint from their Classic series, the 9BP. A Glock spokesman told me we could expect 2.5" groups at this distance, and clearly, he told me no lie.
Maybe you don't need 21? accuracy at 25 yards in a duty gun, but you know what? It's a confidence builder to have it there. The bad guy might know how to take cover too, or he might be endangering human lives from longer than usual range.

Early reports from the Columbine High School incident indicate that the first engagement of the cowardly killers with the deputy assigned to the school took place across the parking lot at a distance of some 70 yards. In the Norco bank robbery incident in California, a murdered deputy was killed at 54 yards, and another exchange in that long-running gunfight took place at some 60 yards.
Similar distances separated the Los Angeles cops from the machinegun-armed bandits in the North Hollywood shootout. The shot that ended the infamous FBI/Miami shootout was fired from an agent's 9mm at 42 yards.
Accuracy of 2" at 25 paces extrapolates to 4" at 50 yards and 6" at 75. That will do most of what needs to be done in long-range confrontations like the ones mentioned above.

Trustworthy Reliability

We put about 1,000 rounds of Federal 9mm ammo (9BP hollowpoints and American Eagle ball) through the Model 34 without a single malfunction. Glock representative and head of training Chris Edwards told me that my pistol had digested 4,000 rounds of assorted 9mm ammo before it got to me, also without any malfunctions. You can't ask for better than that
Interesting thing about the 9mm cartridge: when you go to shorter than standard barrels, it doesn't lose much velocity, but when you go to longer barrels, it gains speed significantly. Glock says the Model 34 brings the velocity of 124 gr. Cor-Bon +P up from a nominal 1,250 fps in a standard-size gun to 1,298 fps, and accelerates Remington's standard 115 gr. JHP from 1,155 fps to 1,272. This is done without concomitant increase in chamber pressure.
The reason is twofold. Part of it, of course, is the longer barrel that allows more pressure to build in the bore and drive the bullet faster. Part of it is also Glock's trademark polygonal rifling, which allows less gas to escape past the projectile as it's travelling down the bore.

There's Good N

The finger-grooved frame adopted throughout the Glock line was incorporated in the Model 34 guns from the beginning. I like the way it feels, as do most who've tried it.
The Model 34 was among the first Glocks to get the attachment rail molded into the dust cover (the frame in front of the trigger guard) for attachment of accessories like flashlights. Because affixing weighty accessories to a polymer frame can change a semiautomatic pistol's operational dynamics more than on a rigid metal frame, not every laser sighting module, white light unit or infrared device can be hooked up to the Clock without impairing reliability.
Put a few hundred rounds through your particular gun with the attachment in place, and don't trust it in that mode until it has proven reliable. The unit from Wilcox Industries has worked well on other Glocks, and would be the first I'd try on this one.
This gun comes standard with Glock's own oversize slide stop lever. The regular flat one works fine for me, but a lot of people find it too small to activate under stress. Hitting the release lever to drop the slide always gives you a faster combat reload of a completely empty auto pistol than tugging the slide back with the free hand, and any feature that makes you work faster in a desperate situation is, by definition, a good feature.

But, Some Bad News

A lot of folks, particularly those with small hands, have trouble reaching the standard Glock magazine release. From the beginning, Glock has offered its competition pistols with an extended release button. This same unit appears on the Model 34.
I don't like it. It just doesn't fit me. I don't really need it anyway, and it gets in the way of my trigger finger when firing left-handed.
If you want an oversize mag release on your Glock, you're much better served with the one Chris Gosselin designed at GlockWorks. It doesn't get in the way of the trigger finger in southpaw firing, and it doesn't release prematurely, but it's still deadly fast.
Various Model 34s have left the factory with night sights and with fixed polymer sights, but most come with the Glock adjustables. The nicest thing I can say about these sights is, 'They stink." Sight notch too small. Adjustment screws too small. These sights on this fine pistol put me in mind of two-ply retread tires on a Mercedes-Benz.
Best advice? If you buy one of these handguns, order it from the factory with night sights or get some Heinie fixed sights installed immediately. I've said in the past, and will say here again, that I think Glock should make Heinie fixed sights an option on their guns just as S&W puts Novakm sights on theirs. There is simply no better open sight system for the Glock pistol.

Making A Difference

The Glock 34 comes from the factory with the same standard coil trigger spring and 3.5 lb-plus pull weight connector (known to armorers as the "minus" connector) as the Glock target guns, the G17L and G24. Target guns, target triggers. (Glock insiders now refer to the nominal 3.5 lb. system as "3.5 plus," since it's reportedly engineered never to go below that weight and will occasionally lift more than 3.5 lbs. on a trigger weight scale.)
However, when the word "tactical" appears in the gun's name, it's obviously being marketed as a street gun. Yet when I, and a whole bunch of other folks, went through the Glock schools -- both armorer's school and instructor's school -- we were told that these crisp, light triggers were verboten for Glocks that would be used for anything but sport shooting. It was made clear that if we installed them on the guns of cops or self-defense oriented citizens, the company would do a "mission impossible" and disavow any knowledge of our existence.

This seems, well, a little bipolar, for want of a better word.
Here's the deal. As Glock well knows, there is a whole subspecialty of plaintiffs' law that focuses on accidental discharges attributable to "hair triggers," and there is a growing subspecies of bottom-feeding attorneys who will try to falsely accuse people who fired deliberately and justifiably of having done so by accident.
This is because the lawyers know that justifiable homicide is very real, but there is no such thing as a justifiable accident. They know it's tough to convince a jury that someone like them turned into a cold blooded killer, but easy to convince them that such a person could make one careless mistake.
Finally, it's because they know that you and I probably don't have a million dollars in liquid assets that they can take if they win a court judgment against us, but you and I probably each do have a million dollars worth of homeowner liability insurance, which can be enacted to pay for an accident.
This is why I and others who work in that arena strongly suggest you have a gun with a reasonably heavy trigger pull weight. People who only shoot, and don't deal with the courtroom aftermath, keep saying things like, "3 lbs. crisp is the answer." If you're talking about triggers and "3 lbs. crisp is the answer," then the question must have been, "What is Plaintiffs' Counsel's Guaranteed Employment Act?"
If I was to carry a Practical/Tactical Glock, I would want it to have about an 8 lb. trigger pull, and this is what I do have on all the Glocks I currently carry. This is best achieved by mating the 5 lb. connector with the New York Trigger module known as the NY-i, which increases overall pull weight to something like 8 lbs.
Taking It To The Street

The Glock Model 34 is accurate and reliable and surprisingly concealable. All it needs to be "good to go for the street" is a New York trigger with 5 lb. connector, and good sights. These "target grade Glocks" are the same price as "service grade" pistols by their main competitors, so the alterations suggested are affordable. I would also go with the GlockWorks mag release instead of the one that comes with this gun.

Is it a target pistol or a duty pistol? You decide, and you have it configured the way you need it, safely and responsibly. When you've done that, you'll cure its identity crisis and its multiple personality disorder, and you'll have a very "well adjusted pistol" that can serve many needs in many environments.

Model Barrel Overall Length Weight
Colt 1911 5.0" 8.5" 38 oz.
Browning Hi-Power 4.75" 7.75" 32 oz.
Beretta 92F 4.9" 8.5" 34 oz.
S&W Model 19.357 4.0" 9.5" 36 oz.
Glock 34 5.3" 8.15" 23 oz.
Should the prudent shooter choose the 9mm Glock Model 34, or the slightly larger .40 S&W version dubbed the Model 35? Who's feeling some deja vu here? You won't make that decision just on the relative terminal ballistics of the two popular cartridges.

In one sense, the answer to "9mm or .40?" could be "Depends on what you've got now." If you have a .40-caliber Glock already, there is magazine interchangeability on your side if you go with the G35, and vice versa if you currently own other 9mm Glocks.

In another sense, the answer is, "Depends what mags you can get." There is a finite supply of legal, "grandfathered" high capacity magazines. The glock 17 came out in the first half of the last decade. The Glock 22 was only out for about five years before sales of hi-cap mags were banned to civilians. Thus, there are many more legal G17 17-round 9mm mags on the market that will fit a G34 than there are legal G22 15-round .40 mags that will fit a G35.

In a third sense, the answer is, "IDPA or IPSC?" The Model 34 was carefully sized to fit the "legal limit boxes" for the International Defensive Pistol Association's SSP (Stock Service Pistol) class and the International Practical Shooting Confederation's "Limited Production" class.
In IDPA, 9mm and .40 compete head to head, and since you're limited to 10-round magazines and don't get "major caliber" bonus points for shooting the bigger .40 round, the lighter-kicking 9mm Glock 34 is the logical choice.
In IPSC, the .40 S&W cartridge "makes major" and gets bonus points for hits outside the center "5" ring; the 9mm round doesn't. One would almost be stupid not to choose the .40 caliber Glock 35. If you shoot both disciplines, the G35 gets the nod, since it will be only a tad slower in IDPA and will be competitive severely handicapped in IPSC.

COPYRIGHT 1999 Publishers' Development Corporation
COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reposting and Translating

Canis Lupus, go ahead and post it. ;)
I only ask two things:
1) Post my nickname ( FerFAL) as the author
2) Post a link to the original post here next to it.

Everyone else guys, repost as much as you like, just give proper credit and add a link.

I already found a guy, one “Esteban Morales” ( No, my name is not Esteban Morales :p), taking credit for one of the articles I wrote.


I sent the owner of the website an email please asking to correct it but I got no reply.

Some people.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Reply to: Foam emery nail file

SheepDog said...
I have done much the same thing with fine grades of wet/dry sandpaper like what the auto body guys use down at the paint shop!!

Some like to glue the sandpaper to a piece of glass so as to have a nice flat work surface, but I usually just use the back of one of my diamond stones as a flat surface to work on!!

Kind of amazing what a 1200 grit or so piece of W/D sandpaper will do to the edge of a good blade!!!


Hi Sheepdog! Good to see you here;)

Fine grade sandpaper sharpens nicely.
I have some around, keep a small piece of it in my Altoids kit, you can slip some in your wallet.

I used to use a nice flat surface too, generally wood. Glue some sandpaper in a small wood tablet, that was the bladesmith trick I read somewhere, think it was Abel Domenech's website ( knife author, great guy, met him a couple times).
Said a little tabled with sandpaper in one side and a piece of leather in the other side (with buffing paste) was the best sharpening/stropping tool anyone ever gave him.

After experimenting with the hard surface+sandpaper combination, I tried the foam+very fine sandpaper combination.

At least for me, the soft pad provided by the foam works much better.

I know knife makers and knife specialist around the world are suffering a small convulsion as I write this words, but that’s been my experience.:)

I tried them both and the softer foam gave me much better results every time.

The hard surface is much less forgiving, the angle has to be just perfect every time, which of course always happens when using sharpening stones, reason why its so hard to learn how to sharpen a knife well.
When you use the foam (try it with a piece of mouse pad) the contact surface where the edge touches the paper bends just a bit, creating a small curve.
Work both sides and you have two convex surfaces that cross each other.
This my friend, is a small sale version of what all knife makers world wide accept as THE best kind of geometry for a knife: The convex surface. Also known as appleseed edge, baptized that way by Bill Moran.

That’s the same principle you find in the old fashion leather and canvas strops. You apply tension, but when the blade touches the strap of material, you have a small curvature.

Again, this has been my humble experience. I’m very pleased with the results, so that’s why I encourage every knife user to give it a try.

Take care, and have fun!

Edited to add:
I’ll be damn... this is exactly what I was talking about. Thanks Dan ;)


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Foam emery nail file

Called emery boards too.

Since we are talking about knives, thought I’d share this.

This is my well kept little secret but I’m having such good results with them, I had to tell.

Knives are basic everyday tools. Don’t think a day goes by that I don’t use a knife (besides eating, of course)
If you use knives you should know how to sharpen it. No big mystery there.
It’s not easy to use a stone, takes time, but eventually, with lots of practice you get there.
Sharpening gadgets? Some work better than others, but it’s still not everything a knife can be unless you use a strop.

Do you get that brand new, Victorinox type razor sharp edge? Heck, you can bring it to scalpel sharpness with the nail file.

The foam nail file pad comes in various types.
I like the one that has 3 or 4 types of grit.
The coarse one works almost like a sharpening stone (dont get one too coarse, though) , the fine one that almost feels like there’s no abrasion at all, is used to polish nails, you can use it as a strop to get that final razor sharp edge.

The pad is light, you can carry it all day in a pack or case and not notice it at all.
The foam material bends a bit which is great because you get the right curvature for that pumpkin seed shape right in the edge. Just wonderful.

And best of all, IT WORKS. Better than anything I tired.

I thought the use would be too much, but most foam files I use work well. As a matter of fact my favorite one is the first one I started using. Sharpened dozen of knives, even used it for the final touches on my machete.

And of course, they are dirt cheap, which adds a special bonus touch. :)

The Victorinox I use most often, I’ll just use the fine grit side as a strop and the razor edge is back in seconds.

Buy a few, try it, works just great.

If you are the kind of guy that usually pulls his folder for daily use, but misses that original razor edge and no ceramic rod brought it back, you’ll thank me in a couple days. ;)


Friday, January 16, 2009

Fighting knife choice

Don Williams said...
I noticed a few years ago that you favored the El Hombre knife by Cold Steel. I've always wondered why -- seems to me that the curving blade would make thrusts less precise, but you seem to make astute choices in gear (e.g, the 357 Sig.) Care to explain advantages of El Hombre?

First let me tell you, I’ve been a “knife nut” for as long as I can remember.
My grandparents were farmers in Spain, ( worked as carpenters when they came here) and a knife was simply something a kid had to have.

Saw and used many good knifes, even at a young age I would carry a pocket knife my grandfather gave me.

So these days I have more knives than I care to count, use them a lot, read about them, even dared to make a couple.

Cold Steel, Spyderco, Buck, Gerber, Opinel, and various others, can be found in my collection.

The "El Hombre" is discontinued,replaced by the "Vaquero" series.

So, why a recurved blade?

Curved blades like the various “corvo” blades, the famous kukri, the “the corvo chileno” knife, or the blades used in some pacific island cultures have been around forever.
Greek swords, African weapons, or weapons used by ancient Mesopotamic civilizations had curved blades as well
Today you can find some blades called “claw”, which is basically a curved blade as well.

What’s the advantage? the curve draws the blade into the material, it hooks into it and with a slashing motion the material gets caught and force is directed right into the cutting edged.
In larger tools like swords or the kukri, the forward portion has better chopping geometry, almost like an axe has , offsetting the contact edge form the handle axis.

The “s” shaped recurve also has the advantage of having a point that allows it to be used for stabbing, something that a claw or other forward curved blade cant.

I should also say, you get more edge surface for the same overall length with a recurved blade than with a straight one.

When I tried various blades on an old leather boxing bag I was about to throw away, everything became even more clear:
While other high quality razor sharp knives would “slip” on the surface when slashing, the recurved Cold Steel blade would 'bite' into the material with every slash, cutting more aggressively.

The “slipping” sensation I had with the straight edges ones was replaced by a sensation of digging in, taking full advantage of the force used in each strike.
When checking for results, the straight edges would make shallow cuts, while the recurved serrated blade made brutal, deep cuts.

You could clearly see how the straight edges could probably slip on someone’s clothes when fighting, but the recurved blade would cut to the bone with a good slash, and could be used for stabbing as well.

So there it is, that’s why I have a recurved serrated folder as a self defense knife.

Having said that, as a working blade, I prefer a straight edge.
Why? 3 good reasons.

1) It’s a much more even geometry for working.
2) The recurved blade is MUCH harder to sharpen.
3) The S shape make for difference force being required depending on if you are cutting with a forward or backward motion, and this feels odd.

So, that’s why I have a recurved serrated for fighting ( just for defense, keep the edge razor sharp at all times and don’t use that knife for anything else) and a average Spartan Victorinox for every day chores.

Hope that answered your question.

Take care.



Sorry for disappearing for a while, had too much stuff going on and too little time.

These are some of the questions from the previous post, about the shanty towns/settlements.

Shy asked
FerFal- what do these people do with their 'property' when they go selling/scavenging/work? Or is there usually one of the same groups remaining behind always?

They don’t have much worth robbing, and most of the time the entire family goes out looking for garbage so there’s no one left behind.
Still, they do get robbed, by their own neighbors, occasionally.
That kind of thief is the worst kind according to them, and may be seriously beaten up by the neighbors if caught.

The common comment is that they should go steal from the “rich” or at least not from their own neighbors, as if that made things right.

These “codes” among the poor, the “villa” ( shanty town) codes are disappearing little by little, specially due to drugs, and the general decadency.

Recovey asked

Hi Ferfal,
How long till you can get out? I think we are all worried about you.

Depends exclusively on when I’m getting my degree. I was supposed to finish by July, but due to the university’s funds crisis, they’ve cut down classes and the summer class I was going to take to speed things up isn’t going to happen because of lack of funds.
Worst case, I have to spend here all year, until November/December, because of this one damn class.
Best scenario, I pass a special board test ( supposedly impossible to pass, even if you know everything) and then I’d be good to go by June.

Shambhala said...
The point I am trying to make is: Yes, FerFAL would probably be safer in the US, but quit trying to coerce him. Argentina holds a place in his heart.

It does hold a small, very small place. I mostly like certain traditions here, I was born here, so of course, its part of who I am.
But no, I wouldn’t stay here a minute longer if I didn’t have to.
It’s not only about having better job opportunities, the degree would also allow me to apply for a greencard faster.

I lived in Boston for 3 years when I was little, and believe it or not that had a big impact in the way I view things. I always knew USA was a much better country to live in, and wanted to move back there as soon as we came back to Argentina. It’s been a long time, of course I’ve visited and traveled to USA many times since then.

Adobewalls said..
Later I worked in Russia. My Russian interpretors used to laugh when they heard talk on the news about the american poor. Their favorite chastisement to me was, "America, the land with the richest poor people in the world."

Yes, :)
I agree with your Russian interpreter. Poor folks in 3rd world countries are different.
It’s particularly sad because sometimes you see these dirt poor people that actually want to work and would be hard workers if they had a chance. But they just don’t have it.

Mind Candy said…
Ferfal, Just wondering, where did your adsense go? I thought that it was great that you would make a little extra coin while helping the rest of us to see what is going on.

Happy Holidays, I hope that 2009 is a good year for your family as well as Argentina.


Thanks Chris, hope you and your family have a good year too.:)

Should be there still. It depends on the country I suppose, because some of the adds I see are of local products, so I sometimes don’t see what you guys see in those adds.

A reader contacted me once about some adds that were of poor taste, I had never seen them. But fortunately I can ban certain adds if I get their website. They get replaced by other adds.

It does generate a few cents every time you click on any of the advertisements. ( no need to buy anything, just cliking :) )

Anyway people, hope you are all starting this year with the right foot.

No need to go nuts about anything, 2009 is going to be tough but the hardest part is adapting to the aftermath of what already happened and will continue happening during this year.

The social and economical changes, those will stay for years.

Take care, I’ll see if I can post some more tonight.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Overnight, THIS showed up.

Poor people by the thousands, setting camps and shacks, these are poor, the majority unemployed that pick trash for a living.
Do you guys understand that sometimes, even thought I write in English we do not speak the same language?

For the average American, even for someone with an opened mind and who is into survival, a poor person is someone that has a house, some stuff, maybe even buys a big screen TV, the Al Bundy from married with children version of poor. The Simpsons claim to be poor. I know it’s TV, it’s a cartoon, but a poor person for our current 3rd worldly standards is what you see pictured. It’s a person living among trash in a shack my 6 year old could build in a few hours, and maybe an entire family lives there.

They come from all over the city, poor people looking for a place to build a shack or set up a tent. A vacant lot, a politician that magnanimously allows them to take over someone else’s privately owned land in exchange for favors, such as their presence during political demonstrations by our beloved “presidenta”.

Maybe I’m getting old and soft, ( not 30 yet but who knows) but this postcard, watching this thing, this refugee camp in my country, how it came out of nowhere overnight, (I swear, this happened OVERNIGHT), shacks as far as the eye can see, all the way into the horizon. Terrible.
This already happened last year in this same place on the other side of this same road.

The pics where taken a month after they took over the land, so some wood shacks and corrugated metal construction can be seen now.

What happens is that they take over portions of space anyway they can. Most just set an improvised tent using sticks and plastic sheath, other set up a primitive wooden shack, like the ones’ seen.
The ones using tarps try to “upgrade” the structure the following days , adding some wood, plastic, or even cardboard to make walls, if they have any, they use some corrugated metal for a roof.

The place looks just like a refugee camp like the ones seen on CNN in Bosnia or some other war zone. Only dirtier.

At night they set up fires, mostly for light but also to cook, though now most of these shacks have illegal power connections they do themselves at their own risk.

For those that may be visiting BS AS and want to check it out, this is at the end of Gral. Paz highway, once you leave the capital district and go into the southern suburbs, and it turns into “Camino Negro” , the dreaded “dark road” I talk about sometimes. If you go check it yourself please be careful, go with someone that knows the place.

If you feel extra brave you might want to visit, “La Salada” open air market which happens to be near by, which is as close to a post apocalyptic open air market as it gets.
And to think that Spielberg would pay millions for such a scenography…

My parents are visiting because of the holydays, and they took these pictures, something I meant to do myself to show it to you guys but never got around to do it.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My EDC gear( every day carry )

Missing in the pic:
Gold chain around the neck with crux, Sacred Heart image, and Virgin Mary image, and the key to where I keep my loaded guns.
It’s also missing the few coins I generally have in my pocket.
Now, for what’s on the pic.

Right front pocket: coins. change for parking, vending machines (paper money sometimes has a hard time in these, and locally most machines use coinds, not paper money) a phone call when the cell network is down, just to mention a couple times when you need coins bad and you wish you carried some.
Left front pocket.:
Elsa’s 4 leaf clover “Lucky Charm” zippo. Both for luck and fire, besides, it’s pretty darn cool. :)

“El Hombre” folding knife by Cold Steel. Strictly for defense, don’t use it for anything else so the serrated edge is razor sharp.

Back left pocket:
Wallet. Money, cards, a few subway tickets in case I need them, band aids and paper matches also in there.

This one is usually attached to my bag but occasionally goes in my right front pocket if I just go out the door to get something down the street.
It has a 1 watt LED flashlight, uses a single AA battery ( most common battery) attached with a small quick release buckle.

Victorinox midnight Minichamp
. This little tool deserves a thread of it’s own. It has numerous tools. The blades are kind of small and fragile but it includes many tools as well as a red LED and ballpoint pen. Very nice addition to the keychain.

These are Global vision “Neptune” security shades. Just 16 bucks.
As everything else, the idea is to have something that provides a bit of actual protection.
These are ANSI Z87.1 Safety Glasses, Shatterproof Polycarbonate Lenses and UV400.
My shoes too, they look ordinary but they are steel toed for added protection.

The Bag
M1936 “Musette” bag.
(first one up front)
Now the bag.
It’s an M1936, with a few customized things such as two zippered compartments, an attachment for key, and a small pocket in the exterior compartment for my cell and OC spray.
All done by myself, with needle and thread.
The zippers are absolutely nescesary becuase if traveling by bus, train or other crowded public transport, pick pocketers would likely try to sliip a hand in.
The zipper keeps importnat stuff safe, so there’s where I put anything valuable I might be carrying.

Since the LED light and victorinox also have their own attachments; I usually hook the keychain to this and if I need the Led or the victorinox, I can remove them without unattaching the keys.

Inside front pocket:

Here’s where I keep my “emergency” stuff in two ziplock bags.

First aid kit with large dressing, ibuprofen, iodine, alcohol patches, antibiotics, painkillers, cauterizing powder, bandaids, superglue for wounds and assorted smaller dressings.
There’s also some soap.

The other ziplock bag below contains my Altoids Survival kit, head lamp (with extra button batteries), space blanket, Tang stick and red butane lighter.
You’ll notice I have several spares for knives, lighters and flashlights. Those are pretty importnat stuff, so I apply the 3 is 2 , 2 is 1 and 1 is none thing.

Next to it there’s more Tang, Starbursts, larger dressing roll, and a disposable diaper ( I have a baby :) ) that could also be used like a large dressing pad during an emergency.

At the top you can see my daily pocket notebook, with Parker ball pen and black fountain pen. I usually have a pencil as well but its’ missing in the pic.
Gerber Multitool, nothing fancy there. I have other multitools but this one is the one I carry the most becuase it works well, has enough tools, and isn't sometihng I'd miss much if I loose it.
Bottle of water, always keep one. Drinking or cleaning, even cleaning a wound if I add some salt.

The small bottle next to it is my hand sanitizer, used a lot to avoid contagious diseases due to poverty of the general population.
This is something you might want to add to your bag as conditions deteriorate in your area and people become more sick and less careful about higine.

“Elite” cleanex for the obvious, of course I use these often like anyone else does.
Nail file. for when I do my nails… just kidding, it’s for sharpening my knives and keeping the ones I use often razor sharp( victorinox Spartan) .
My trusty victorinox Spartan, Just the right size, no silly stuff like orange peeler ..:)
OC spray, Do carry one of these, even if you carry a gun. There are situations where a gun simply isn't the right tool for the job, even where legal to carry.
If you can't own guns, DO get a OC spray can. And ( again where legal) carry a serious fighting knife.
cell phne. This one is pretty old. I simply dont like cell phones much. Not my thing. Weird because I do like gadgets and tools generally speaking, but I can't get to like phones much. I forced myself into taking phones seriously becasue of security reasons. Every familiy member shoudl carry one to keep in touch with one another.
During certain incidents phones may g down, but that's not good enough reason to ignore their advantage when teh lines do work.
A lot of "virtual kidnappings" could have been avoided with a phoen call to check on the missing person, and at least one girl that made it to the news used a cell to escape from slavers ( slaved for prostitution, yes that kind of thing happens here)
Spare AA for the LED flashlight. Between all the flashlights I carry and teh batteries I have. I have almost a week worth of light.
A light is priceless when the subway brakes and you have to get out and walk through the tunnels. Happens more often than you'd think around here, probably because of poor maintenance. I can easly see how useful it would be during an accident, terrorist attack, natural disaster, not to mention the much more common blackouts.

And we reached the guns.
Where legal to do so, I'd advice you to carry an auto for carry and the revolver as backup in the bag.
Mostly, these are what I have around in my house. Glock 31 ( it’s 357 SIG, 15 rounds in the magazine plus 1 in the chamber) and a Smith and Wesson 38 special revolver ( 2” barrel “snubby”, 6 rounds)
Sometimes I keep the Bersa 9mm handy ( around the house), which is basically a beefed up version of the Walther P-88.
I'd advice people to carry an extra loaded mag in their bags.

WARNING!: Firearms are dangerous weapons and serious injuries or death may occur if used unproperly.
.50 AE Desert Eagle pistols don’t solve certain…problems… you need Viagra for that, and if you just MUST use Derringers, peacemakers, and black powder guns in general, there’s always Cowboy Action Shooting, don’t confuse hobbies with self defense.
Only carry and own guns were legal to do so and well, if illegal maybe ask yourself why your government is tagging you as a criminal simply because you want to be able to defend yourself.

Anyway, just do everything you (legally) can to get a gun, ok? If it’s your first, make that a handgun, big bore, preferably high capacity.
For an inexperienced non-gun person I’d recommend a 38 special revoler, but it’s better to be mature about one’s self defense, stop messing around, get a Glock 19, learn how to use it, take a Defensive Pistol course, and at least visit the range every couple months or so :)

It’s as obvious as an elephant in a Swarovski glass shop, but in case you didn’t notice it, crime and insecurity are the mayor concerns after a socio-economical brake down, mostly because a broken economy makes a lot of poor, desperate people, some of them with military and police training, so you really must learn how to defend yourself if you expect to have a chance, other than surrendering to every scumbag out there (too many scumbags out there for that attitude, in my opinion )

Mindset and mental training are important. Being convinced that, when needed, you are the actual killing machine, the firearm or knife is just the tool, the weapon you use.
Other than that you must be convinced and capable of killing with whatever you have available, your car, a crowbar, machete, the Tramontina knife you just prepared dinner with or even your bare hands.
If you can’t figure yourself smashing a person’s skull to pulp, it only means you’ve never been pushed to that spot. Most people have it in them somewhere if you press the right buttons.
Even the most liberal lady would do so to save her child’s live, the trick is, learn to control it. Have the training and tools, the foresight to do so BEFORE something happens that can’t be undone, such as the murder/rape/torture of a loved one.
Most of us are brought up to be civilized, polite people.
But a person wanting to hurt my family?
I’d chew his carotid artery out with my own teeth to kill him if that’s what it takes.
And so would any other father reading this.
Hand to hand, I can take care of myself, with a blunt object, better yet a blade, I can handle maybe a couple guys, but a fighting firearm is the only weapon that allows you to put down for good 3 or 5 guys in a matter of seconds.

Get a handgun, learn how to use it. Buy a few boxes of ammo ( premium JHP) for the proverbial rainy day. Even better, practice regularly and carry your gun on daily basis, one day it may save your life or the life of a loved one, and you may not even need to shoot it, (believe me I’ve been there on several occasions).
And if nothing ever happens, at least know your are exercising your right for self defense as a free individual, a right that is indeed rare these days.

Final Disclaimer: People read this blog from all over the world.
Mostly Americans (where guns are legal to own ) but also people from European countries Ukraine ( hi guys :) ), Philippines, Japan, other South American countries, just to name a few.

There’s one guy reading from somewhere in Asia that the program can’t find a flag for.:)

So in some places guns are legal and in other places guns are not.
I write what I write for people that can legally have firearms.
I do not promote or encourage the illegal use of firearms in anyway.

This is particularly meant for the one idiot that apparently doesn’t know that guns are legal to own in his country and threatened to contact google about my blog…
As Albert Einstein put it "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."