Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Caliber of choice

Anonymous said...
I live in Costa Rica part of the year. This weekend I finished my 2nd seminar in AMOK!, a knife fighting discipline. It is not that I plan to become a knife fighter. I want to know how to defend against it and also how to get me blade into play. My friends in Costa Rica think I'm paranoid. I'm the only one of them who has not been robbed or mugged.
Ferfal, I have a question. CR is an NPE for me as a tourist. As such I carry only a Glock 19, no holster...a "clip-on') with just that magazine (loaded with DPX) so I can toss the gun if I need to do it. I prefer the 9mm and a few additional rounds to the 357 SIG. What made you decide on the 357?

Take Care

9mm or bigger LOADED WITH PREMIUM JHP AMMO, will do the job, some will do it a bit better than others, but just a bit.
I have no problems with my Bersa 9mm as a self defense weapon. I keep it loaded with Gold Dot +P.
The 357 SIG gives you some more stopping power and penetration.
In case all I get is one, not so well placed shot, I prefer a 357 SIG shot.
Other like 45 ACP, 40 S&W or 9mm. They are all good as long as you use good ammo.
If you can only get FMJ, definitely go for “big and slow” (45 ACP).
As long as I can choose, I prefer the very fast, violent expansion of a 124 GR JHP traveling at over 1400 fps.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Sister in law got mugged

Feeling tired and I want to hit the sack but I wanted to share this.
My wife’s sister got mugged today after exiting the bank.
Most likely someone in the bank marked her, and they followed her from there.
She went to get some money to pay some workers that were asking for advances on their paychecks and got attacked by two guys, no guns.
They threw her to the floor and took the briefcase she carried with the money.
She’s the kind of person that thought those things would never happen to her.
She went to the bank at 2 PM when there’s no one on the street, she had the money in her briefcase, she didn’t notice people following her. Yes, she did everything wrong.
My wife constantly tells her not to do these things, but you know, she’s the kind of person that considers people like me paranoid.
She wasn’t hurt bad or anything, just a few scratches when she fell, but she was scared and crying hysterical when she talked to my wife today.
I don’t know guys, maybe I am paranoid, but neither myself or my wife would have done anything like that.
My wife always goes to the bank when there’s the most people, and is adamant about not going when there’s no one on the streets. She would also never carry money in such a way.
The thing about security is, for security measures to work, you must be consistent.
If some call that paranoid then you need to be paranoid. If that will turn you into a bitter and sad person then just go through life living in denial , but there’s no middle ground. You either do thing correctly, all the time, or you don’t.
In Buenos Aires, specially in Dock Sud, I’d say you can’t afford to live in denial. She was lucky, people there often get shot, not just shoved to the ground.
Will this change her attitude? I doubt it. She’s the kind of person that would say that living, and most important, thinking the way I do, is just impossible for her.


The Health Minister resigned, and today is a great day

As I told you guys, the Health Minster Graciela Ocaña just resigned. She was tired of the government thieves stealing the money that was supposed to go to heath and senior citizens, through former road blocker Hugo Moyano.
Today more than likely, a national emergency will be declared because of the swine flu, hopefully schools and large gatherings of people will be canceled.
But the great news is, a new country begins TODAY.
Kirchner was defeated in the elections yesterday for senators and congressmen, the man retreated to his hotel room, had a nervous brake down, put a fist through the wall and when at 2.30 AM he faced the cameras, you could see in his face the rumors were true. It was clear he had been either crying or shouting or something, eyes shiny.
Macri, Michetti, and Franciso De Narvaez, along with Carrio and Alfonsin are finally creating a real opposition.
Solá finally recognized the crime problem, and I feel his words sort of redeems the crime problem I constantly talk about. He said it just a few minutes ago “Crime in the Capital district is the most serious problem, but in the conurbano (suburbs, where I live) it’s even worse, living with crime is part of everyday life”.
It finally seems the K regime has ended.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lungs that “catch fire” in a matter of hours

I mentioned the problem with A flu in Argentina. It seems to be more lethal than usual (beside the crappy government doing nothing about it) and it worries doctors that it can kill perfectly healthy teenagers and young adults in a matter of days.
The problem is very serious and the Health Minister of Argentina is expected to resign tomorrow.
I read this article in Spanish but just now found a translated version.

Lungs that “catch fire” in hours

We are seeing the internment of young patients, among 15 and 50 years, with pneumonias, some that evolve quickly towards a gravity that stops many is unusual, in which the lung “catches fire” in a matter of hours”, commented doctor Jorge San Juan, head of the Department of Intensive Therapy of the Muñiz hospital.
That has taken to that the patients of these characteristics begin to be treated in more and more aggressive form. As the NATION informed yesterday, the doctors received from the Ministry of Health the directive to take, of now in more, to all the cases of influenza like potentials of A influenza (H1N1), with the recommendation to realise x-rays of thorax to the patients with fever symptoms and fatigue and to commit quickly to which they suffer pneumonia.
“Today, that already is known that the virus is circulating massively, the attitude that has itself with the patients depends on the clinical evaluation that the doctor does, so that he is not transformed into a serious case. No longer [is necessary to make the diagnosis of laboratory that confirms the infection by the new virus] to begin the treatment”, said doctor Vilma Savy, female leader of the Respiratory Service of Virus of the Malbrán institute.
The preoccupation by how it attacks this influenza some young people was confirmed to the NATION by a forensic doctor who, in the last hours, realised two autopsies in two people passed away by influenza A.
“The bodies had the vísceras, meninges and the brain inflamed, a factor little common in which dies by influenza. In addition, the lungs were in very bad state, with spots that we have not been able to identify. We sent them to realise studies of pathological anatomy”, said the pathologist that it asked not to present his name until the sanitary authorities took note from the found thing.
The changes in the strategies of attention of the patients who arrive with advanced pictures of influenza aim at being more aggressive: to try, and later to see what happens; to burn stages. “This form of attention of the serious patient will change the evolution and will avoid more deaths and pneumonias - doctor San Juan affirmed, coordinator of the Committee of Emergencia Epidemiologist of the Buenosairean Ministry of Health.
For a serious pneumonia, San Juan explained, today the patients not only receive antibiotics in empirical form but also antiviral and the possibility is not delayed of resorting to the mechanical respiratory attendance. “Although 24 hours are expected generally to see how it evolves, we suggested not to do it and, if it is unbalanced quickly, to arrive at intubation”, it needed San Juan.
The province of Buenos Aires will count, as of the next week, with tests of fast diagnosis that will allow to discriminate, in only 15 hisopados minutes by means of, if the person is carrying of influenza A. Anyway, the final confirmation will give the Malbrán institute it. The new test will serve to begin the treatment before, informed the Buenosairean sanitary authorities.



Argentina’s Health Minister to resign tomorrow after today’s elections

Doctors Without Borders, and international organization, says the situation here is critical, and Graciela Ocaña would be resigning tomorrow.
The authorities fight among themselves and don’t know what to do, doctors have to buy their own face masks and hand sanitizers, and the government has no money now because they used it all for the campaign.


Argentina’s Health Minister to resign tomorrow after today’s elections

Doctors Without Borders, and international organization, says the situation here is critical, and Graciela Ocaña would be resigning tomorrow.
The authorities fight among themselves and don’t know what to do, doctors have to buy their own face masks and hand sanitizers, and the government has no money now because they used it all for the campaign.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

More on A-flu in Argentina and face masks

Anonymous Don Williams said...

1) I hope you and your family remain reasonably well, Ferfal. (I know you are sick, but my understanding is that so far it has been like the ordinary flu for you. Hopefully, you and your family will recover shortly -- and possibly have an immunity to more dangerous versions of this flu if they crop up in the future.)

2) I have an update to some comments I made re N95 masks a few weeks ago.

I bought a few of the expensive ($4 per mask) masks certifed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in pandemics.

3) As far as I can determine, the FDA's mask's only advantages (over the more common and cheaper N95 masks used in building construction) is that the FDA mask is shaped so as to make it easier for untrained people to establish an airtight seal. Plus , it has a slightly plastic? outer coating that supposedly makes it more impervious to liquids being spilled on it from outside.

4) A FDA pamplet provided with the mask notes that flu viruses are too small to be screened out by an N95 mask and hence that protection against the flu can not be guaranteed.

My understanding , however, is that the mask can greatly Reduce the likelihood of contracting the flu because it can filter out the water droplets in the air formed by sneezes on which viruses ride -- and that the flu virus can not survive long without a water host (i.e.,can't live for very long after the water droplet on which it resides evaporates.)

5) As I noted earlier, however, some experts think that a N95 mask which has become very moist (from being saturated by water vapor from exhaled breaths) can allow flu viruses on the outside surface to migrate through the filter into the mask's inner surface where they can be inhaled. The FDA pamphlet does not discuss this but merely says to discard a mask if it becomes difficult to breathe through the mask.

6) As far as I can tell from the FDA and the US Center for Disease Control, no one has done a scientific test to determine how much protection N95 masks provide --and for how long.

6) In my opinion, it is best to have a lot of the masks (at least 100 per person ) and to discard each mask after 2 or 3 hours of use. Obviously, it would be best to never get within 6 feet of a sick person but people may be sick for a day or so without showing obvious symptons.

June 27, 2009 5:25 PM

Thanks Don, crazy times indeed. We’re doing ok so far.

Just heard on the news Brazil is recommending people not to travel to Argentina, and also to cancel holyday trips. (after 2001, Argentina is cheap for Brazilians )
They are now saying that they will declare national emergency either Monday or Tuesday. They preferred to wait until after the elections tomorrow Sunday so as to not loose votes over the way they are handling things.
My wife and I, we don’t leave the house without a face mask.
The good ones I bought with a valve, they fit well and you feel the mask suck against your face when you breathe in.
The masks that are a bit better, that have a valve, what I’ve been doing is using them more than once (2 or 3 days) if used just for an hour or two. Hanging them under the sun for 12 hours (daylight) evaporates moisture and the sun kills any bug that needs water to survive.
You are right about the bug and how it travels on a droplet of spit in the air. It’s disgusting to see people coughing and sneezing, throwing visible particles into the air and people breathing all that in.
I don’t know what % of protection the mask provides, but I sure am glad to wear it.

Guess the scary part is that we don’t see others doing the same (wearing masks) when they clearly should: Everyone’s coughing, and spitting mucus on the sidewalk, it’s as if there’s no healthy people anymore.
I know most of these are regular flu cases, but it sure is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.
My son suffered it the most. We were really worried and we just don’t know what type of flu he had, the fever was very unusual, very high and it lasted for several days. I think we were lucky that he made it and the pneumonia didn’t get worse.
My little theory is that the government isn’t advising the use of face masks because they can’t provide them, so they prefer to say washing your hands and covering your face when coughing is enough.
It’s madness. I mean, the reporter on the news today said that, he himself, had his family bugged in, and he only went outside to work and then went straight back home. Just like we’re doing, he said his kids aren’t going to school either.
It’s a good thing we have enough supplies to not go out that much, and we have enough soap, hand sanitizer and face masks to last us for a while, as well as medicine for whatever we need.
But hey, there’s no reason to worry! The director of the Malbran hospital said there’s 10.000 infected and 200 dead, and enough beads for 100 patients…
It’s during situations like these that the lack of a real functioning government, what I talk about all the time, becomes evident.
The longer they try to solve things by denial, the more people will die.

Edited to add: In the previous post when I said we shower, of course we shower everyday like normal people. What I meant was that we throw the clothes in the washing machine, shower right away and change into clean clothes as soon as we get home, just in case, as an extra measure.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Gobernors of South Carolina, his lover and A Flu

Anonymous said...
Ferfal, Have you heard of Maria Belen Chafur, the mistress of the Governor of South Carolina? Have you seen a picture of her? Are people in Argentina talking about this?

As for diff between USA and Argentina, all I can say is the USA has changed beyond recognition. When we were kids, 30+ years ago, life was so tame. You could go anywhere as a kid at any time and there was no danger (I'm talking about a mid size city in the Western USA) There was NO divorce (unheard of) no single moms (the rare single mom gave up the child for adoption) there was no welfare at all for single moms, virtually no illegal immigration, etc

I remember my brother, a historian, saying, people will look back at the 50's and early 60's as the calmest years ever.

So, yes, we are resembling more Argentina. However, the country used to be extremely honest, hard working, and calm.
June 26, 2009 7:48 AM

Yes, the news is being spread a bit here, but most of the comments are rather positive, they constantly mention how American politicians seem to have a great feeling of guilt, while our local politicians constantly do the same or much worse, and yet never go public and ask for forgiveness.
The woman is a 41 year old single mother of two teenage kids, she’s a good looking brunette. Apparently they visited various romantic places, restaurants in Buenos Aires.
The news here is mostly showed as “Look how Americans do great mess over a little thing”.
The big news here is A flu. It’s just ripping through us, as anyone would have guessed since there just NO government to do anything about it. They just deny, deny and deny.
A-flu has affected swine here in Buenos Aires, and then back to humans, it affected everyone in a meat processing plant.
I’m worried and we’re talking about leaving the country. You visibly see and hear a huge amount of sick people. We try staying home as much as possible, use masks when going outside, use lots of hand sanitizer and shower. Our kids don’t leave the house anymore, my oldest one isn’t going to school (3 weeks now).


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fox News Video: Urban Survival

In case you are feeling abit too nutty becuase of your survival and prep, take a look.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Precious metal business

The grocery store seen in the video is what Americans call an "ethnic
market". America has a very large population of what are called
Hispanics or Latinos, mainly recent immigrants from Mexico and Central
America. These people don't shop at the regular grocery stores for white
people such as Safeway, Kroger, and regional chains like Raleys and
Ralphs. They have their own markets, and these markets are generally run
by small businessmen, and they have very little government interference
in how they run their business. As long as the taxes are paid, the
authorities are usually happy.

So we have these little markets (he used the term "mini-mart" in the
video, which you are likely unfamiliar with, but it's a small
neighborhood market) that cater to their own people, and they "fly under
the radar" as we say and the authorities are not very aware of them. Los
Angeles is majority Hispanic, so I would guess that little "cambio de
cheques" places like this are mainly a Southern California phenomenon.

For the time being, it is perfectly legal in America to sell your gold
and silver to a licensed jeweler, and the local jewelry stores are
running ads to buy gold and silver from people. One jewelry store here
in Sacramento in northern California even put up billboards asking for
gold and silver. There are smaller places, too, that buy and sell used
jewelry and coins, and they have jeweler's licenses which makes the
whole thing legal. But something like this in the video is definitely
new to the US, and not very widespread.

What likely will happen is that we will have many more "jewelers" whose
primary function is as a cambio, and they will open up in shopping areas
with markets and drugstores, and an American will exchange his silver
for (worthless) cash at a "jeweler", then walk next door and buy food
and medicine with the cash. American government is very bureaucratic,
and as long as the jeweler is legal and the market takes cash, it is all
fine by the authorities. I hope this clears some stuff up for you.


Hi Pezar, I'm familiar with the things you mention. Here we have chinese "minimarts" very similar to the ones you have by other ethnic groups. The are well received by the people and of course, they are run by chinese immigrants. We have the "bolitas" as well, Bolivinas leal immigrants but are held in somewhat similar regard as the Mexican illegal immigrants. Since they are willing to work almost for pennies, local workers dont like them that much, and unfortunately its also true many of tehm are involved in illegal activities.
It's sad to read about so many similarities between what you see now and what have become common for us now here in Argentina.
I remember telling people about the booming "I buy gold" signs. Expect them to becoem much more common, even people not directly related to jewelry jumping into that as well. Any small commerce in the downtown area can start doing it and making some money. Here the gold business went up 500% after the crisis.


Differences between USA and Argentina

Anonymous said...
I have been reading your blog for weeks now. I know my country (USA) is in danger of soon becoming a third world country from our outlandish spending and wasteful practices of both our citizens and our government. There are a couple of differences in my country and Argentina that I would like to hear from you about. I think it could change the way things turn out here. I don't know if it would be for the better or for the worse but I don't feel it will be the same.

First, in Argentina, there was massive debt created by both the government and the people as your economy began its' stronger growth period. This debt was issued in Euros or American dollars instead of the Peso. From what I understand, many people mortgaged their homes and banked in these currency. Here, we borrowed and bank in our own currency since we are fortunate enough to have convinced the rest of the world that our currency is the one that they can secure assets with worldwide. In almost any country, prior to this debacle, people would accept US currency as if it were even more valuable than their own. Almost as if the US dollar replaced gold as a standard to base other forms of money on. (A stretch I know, but hopefully you get my point)

Second, there were many government businesses Argentina had that the government was able to privatize to generate revenue. I realize the corrupt government stole most of the money received but they were there to sell nonetheless. My government has no such assets. The airlines, water companies, electrical companies, oil companies, railroads, etc. are already private corporations and most are already heavily subsidized by the government. The government still controls the lower education schools (prior to college), the military, the police, and, strangely enough to me, the mail delivery system, and the libraries. What does my government have that it could sell to use to repay debt? I think in place of selling assets, my government will just create higher taxes, both directly to the citizens and indirectly through taxing imports and purchases.

Third and finally, I think the people in Argentina were less greedy and selfish even during the growth period than they are here in the United States. I have never been to Argentina but from the things I have read and heard, it seems that people have/had a higher respect for family and experience. Here it has become a game of kill or be killed (figuratively speaking). It is common to hear of children suing their parents in court, mothers killing their children so she could run away with a lover, fathers killing the entire family and then commit suicide. This has extended from the cruel society where it is applauded to frame a co worker so he is fired, steal from the rich, etc. We have TV shows that exploit spouses that cheat on each other and people that try to humiliate each other for the watchers' entertainment. It seems like we are the Romans sending the Christians out to be eaten by the lions!
June 21, 2009 9:13 AM

If it keeps getting worse, it certainly wont be the same, there will be some variations due to the differences in gov. structure, society, geography, etc.

About 1, In Argentina the greatest debt was by the government, certainly not the average people. It’s been decades since Argentina had real lines of credit. There's very little credit and interest rate is usually too high.
Credit is something most of us just never got used to. Its not common, at its certainly very expensive in terms of interest rate. As surprising as it may seem only rich people and big companies can afford credit and getting into huge amounts of debt. The poor guy buying his home with credit? That’s USA; not Argentina. Here a bank wouldn’t have loaned you money if you weren’t rich enough in the first place, even before the 2001. Hence the catch phrase in Argentina, “ No, I’m not rich enough to afford credit”.

About 2, you are right. Unfortunately as you point out our corrupt gov. lost more money in corrupt deal ( who in his right mind sells a country’s public oil resources.
I also think you are right on about taxes in USA. Expect a huge wave of them in the most various forms, both visible and hidden. Get ready for this fight! An accountant and lawyer are you main weapons here, even for the little guy just living on an ordinary salary. A well written presentation by a lawyer can save you thousands on these type of taxes.

About 3, while people in Argentina are more used to these inconveniences , living with a corrupt government, politicians that are equal or worse than mafia, high crime, rampant inflation, troubled public sevices , poor infrastructure, etc, etc, in temrs of compassion and people’s quality, I’d take the average American instead of the average Argentine any day.
While there are many exceptions, the average Argentine has been hardened to the point of insensibility. Argentines have an overall bad reputation as always trying to get the upper hand on everything, screwing others. It’s a reputation that is unfortunately well deserved given how the average person here behaves.
In terms of family values, etc, I think we’ve gone down seriously since 2000. Again, it will depend a lot on were you are and the kind of people you get along with, but in average, and specially among the poor which make the majority of the population, single teen mothers (16 years old average, according to recent studies), broken families, even incest and specially the drug problem (Paco), I’d say USA is better off.
Then again you guys have other problems as well such as racial and religious struggles, gangs and illegal immigrants.
What I’m certain of is that America has a more spoiled population, mostly due to prosperous times and a nanny state that almost blows people’s noses.
But people adapt when there’s no other choice and life slaps them in the face, even if it takes a bit more whining and crying.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Gold and silver being used in USA.

Hi FerFAL!

Take a look! It's starting!


I finished your book today. Super, just super. Many thanks.



Thanks a LOT for the video Flyboy.

People, the key word here is “today”, the way he has a board with today’s prices? That’s just like home. A today price for dollars, Reales, Euros, gold and silver, and these folks will buy and sell whatever you need.

I don’t know how common or uncommon this is in USA, or even if the video is real or not ( looks real enough) , but I’ll tell you one thing: that’s how money and PM dealers work here in Argentina.
The difference is that we don’t have stores that operate themselves, or at least they don’t offer good enough exchange rates. What we have is “casas the cambio”, small currency exchange shops, set up almost exactly like shown in the video that exclusively buy and sell currencies.
Be prepared for places like these to be outlawed like it happened in Argentina, and the “arbolitos”, the unofficial “casas de cambio” are set up in small drugstores, shops , etc, even people wispering “camibo” “cambio” (change) as you pass by.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Credit and Financial Situation in Argentina

Aloha Ferfal,

Thank you for your blog. I cannot tell you how terribly helpful and reassuring it is to hear your take on what a real economic collapse is like first hand. I have all but ignored anyone else, because how would they know? Most are just trying to sell their newsletters or survival supplies.

My questions are

1) What happened to people's bank accounts during the 2001 crisis (checking, savings, credit cards) and thereafter? You mention the bank holiday, restrictions on cash withdrawals, and termination of credit in several of your posts. So, I sort of get the picture. You can't get the majority of your money out and you can't use credit cards anymore, but what about having to pay bills, like the mortgage, electricity, etc. Certainly, you can still write checks and use debit cards; yes?

2) After everyone lost faith in banks, do people who have money to save, just keep it in foreign currencies & metal, or what?

3) How are banks surviving today as opposed to pre-collapse. If there is no credit, how do they make money and survive?

I am in the banking industry and see a need for my bank to have to change our business model. I am just not sure what the new model will become. Anything you can share would be most helpful.

Thank you again!

Honolulu, Hawai

Thanks Kevin,

1) Things are pretty much normal these days in terms of credit cards and debit cards. Checks are a bit more tricky since there’s a check tax, another insane move to steal money form people. Also, checks in dollars are not allowed in Argentina any more.
Most places in the capital district where the most activity takes place and tourist do their shopping readily accept credit cards just like anywhere else in the world, same for regional down town areas. But the smaller you get the less chance of shops accepting credit , debit or anything other than cash.
The time we spend with no money plastic at all lasted most of 2002 but now it’s been getting back to normal.
Still, there are many places that don’t accept credit, debit is more commonly accepted.
It took a long time for people to trust plastic money again.
Most gas station for example, most want cash and some accept debit.
Bill can be assigned to be paid with your credit card, but its not a smart idea since these companies sometimes over charge, or invent extra charges out of thin air and you later have to fight to get your money back. For example now with the insane tax to natural gas and power (about 600% in some cases) they’d just charge you while if you have it set to pay with cash instead, you can fight it a bit more, just pay for the usual service and present a complain for the rest, claiming there’s no way to can pay the outrageous tax (almost ½ of what the minimum wage person earns. Imagine paying 600 USD each month on either gas or power)
2) Depends on how much money you have. Most people don’t have a lot so they keep cash home. If you have more you buy a car or better yet some real estate. We never had the huge bubble USA and Europe used to have (now gone) so prices didn’t vary that much before and after 2001. As we say around here, the land and brick on top of it are going no where.
Gold has a value like anywhere else in the world, but its something older people used to do, every month saving some and putting it into gold coins.
For example right now in Argentina, people are buying dollars like crazy. It’s expected to go up like crazy after the elections for senators next week. Euros and dollars are preferred currencies instead of our much weaker peso.

3)According to the way things are today, a more conservative attitude is in order I believe. They are very careful about how much money they lend (credit is something we’re simply not used to here, at least none that has reasonable interest rate). The local joke is, you need to be right to qualify for the loans banks in our country provide.
How do they survive? Many didn’t. They got sold, closed, etc.
Being honest the financial activity in Argentina is minimal. Few trust banks any more, the richer the person the lest he trusts it, they mostly work with small loans and deals they make with the government, house loans that usually get used to gain political favors.
Then there’s the typical small time client, gets his salary deposit on his account, maybe gets a small loan to buy a TV or help pay a car (which cost a small fortune in Argentina, even used ones, MUCH more expensive than in USA, about 5-10 times as much)
A bank in Argentina isn’t doing money after 2001, at least not in any honest way.
The best bet is to be a bank with a small scale attitude (cut down expenses to a minimum, very conservative spending and lending) , micro loans for clients starting their small business, maybe buying machinery for whatever they do, but always doing so very conservately and following the client up close, a tight bank/client relationship. Stick to safe investments and aovid the medium and high risk ones.
Other financial companies make money with micro -loans, most often lest than 1000-2000 pesos (less than 600 USD). The interest rates in these cases are terrible, but poor people will usually fall for this maybe to buy a cell phone or some other shiny object.


Recession proof jobs.


I have the opportunity to work for a private security firm and I was wondering if you could comment on how these orgs operate in your area and if you believe this type of employment is “recession-proof.” Thank you.


Here they operate in ways I don’t see happening in USA: They usually exploit the guards to the limit, taking advantage of the overall poverty an unemployment.
But I don’t see that happening in USA, and yes, private security was listed rather high in my book as a recession proof job. Crime will only go up and the demand for private security will keep growing.
If that’s what you want to do for the long run, work there for some time, learn the business and when you can, start your own firm. That’s where the good money is.
Working for the government on its various forms is also pretty solid since the government can’t afford to leave people unemployed and will likely do everything they can to keep them with a job. (military, medical field, teachers, etc)
If things get really bad, you just don’t make money working for someone else, with +20% unemployment, there’s always going to be someone skilled enough, and yet willing to do your job for less.
Both blue and white collar workers learned that the hard way in Argentina.
If things are that bad, you want to either work for a firm you are positive they just can’t do without you, one you know isn’t likely to fire you (government) or start your own business related to your line of work and be independent (this isn’t for everyone).
Someone asked me once if jail guard was a solid recession job. Of course it is! One thing you can be sure of is that there will be more criminals to be locked away. Argentina’s prison population is overpopulated by 300-400% in some cases 500%. They had to start building more prisons, even locking them in containers, used as improvised cells.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Things to look for when shopping for Flashlights

Reliability: No matter how much or how little you pay for it, you only learn this when using the flashlight, after 6 months or so of carrying around and using, I start feeling a bit better abut it.
LEDs are more rugged than filament bulbs, that have a rather fragile filament inside the bulb.
Battery availability: Something similar to ammo, the more common the battery the better, and hopefully it will run with just one. Most stores will have AA and AAA. Others may be harder to find in some places.
Run time: How long can the flashlight run will usually be more important than how bright it is. A tunnel, cave, but also more mundane things such as blackout and moving around buildings when there’s no power.
Brightness: For more tactical applications or for signaling, good brightness is important. That’s why a flashlight with low and high mode , and strobe is so desirable.
On/Off mechanism: While twist on/off is more reliable and there’s less mechanical parts that can brake, its rather hard to turn on quickly using just one hand. For a flashlight that may be performing more tactical/self defense roles, a tail cap clicky is preferred.
Attachment type: Some of those little strings and cords like the one pictured in a flashlight in the post below, they will brake. Do yourself a favor and cut them away now so as not to trust the useless thing and end up loosing your flashlight. I replace the string with a metal paper clip, and wrap the middle with a bit of self soldering rubber. A metal swivel hook attaches it to the bag so I don’t lose it.
Finally, as great as ordinary flashlights are, they’ll never allow the freedom a headlamp would for working, when you need both hands available.
Just a few things to keep in mind when shopping around.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Flashlight Review

Remember the dealextreme.com website I mentioned some time ago, about having very good prices, world wide shipping and some neat stuff listed?
Remember that I placed an order?
Well, guess what the mail man delivered today…
(by the way, I’m not associated with DX in any way, I just found out they have great deals that’s all)
Back to the flashlights;

Top to bottom:
SacredFire NF-007 Cree P4-WC 110-Lumen LED Flashlight (1*AA/1*AAA/1*CR123A)
Akoray Cree Q5-WC 6-Mode Memory 200-Lumen LED Flashlight with Clip (1*AA/1*14500)
Romisen RC-C3 Cree LED Flashlight Gray (1.3V~4V CR123A)
That’s some serious flashlights for pretty much 45 USD, including shipping. (which may take a month or more) and these little gems are worth every cent.

Comparing them. The second one from the left used to be my keychain light. Older 1 Watt model.

SacredFire NF-007 Cree P4-WC

Generic older 1Watt LED

Akoray Cree Q5-WC

Romisen RC-C3 Cree LED

I’ll do a small first impression review, and throw a few tips out there for those considering upgrading from those old Maglites or Xenon lights.
For those that have been living under a rock for the last couple years and believe that LED lights are weak and too purple bluish to bother with, let me tell you that the light emitting diode technology has advanced like nothing else.
All 3 lights are fitted with Cree LEDs, some CREE LEDS are slightly better than others, the P4 is a bit weaker and the Q5 is among the latest, brightest models, but without getting into much detail they are all powerful enough for most needs, including tactical or security lights.
Brightness isn’t a problem any more, Crees are my favorite and one of the best in today’s market.
What you want to take into consideration with these lights is not only brightness but also durability and also important battery availability.
All three flashlights are very well made, with solid aluminum bodies.
The Lumen data on DX is clearly overrated, but all of these models produce +100 lumens with fresh batteries.
Another thing you’ll notice, they all use just one battery.
In my experience you often find yourself with just one battery available, for any given reason. Or you managed to scrounge a single battery out of a toy. If your light requires more than one battery to work, you’re out of luck, but if you have one of these you are good to go.

Sacredfire NF-007

This little light uses a single AA battery… or a single AAA… or a single CR123A. If that’s not versatility, I don’t know what it is!
Man, this flashlight would have come in handy so many times.
I’m sure that no matter where you are, you can manage to get your hands on a single AA or AAA battery.
It’s well made, has a bright glow in the dark clicky tail on/off switch.
Lumens is manufacturer rated at 110 and it seems pretty accurate to me, and the run time is 50 minutes, also an accurate estimation for that lumen/battery ratio.
50 minutes isn’t that much time, but this is still a great little light, versatile, and you’d do well to combine it with premium rechargeable AA batteries if you expect power to go down often.

RC-C3 Romisen

This little guy is a favorite of many people as a pocket EDC light, and I can see why.
This light uses a single CR123A battery, which may or may not be that common depending on where you live around the globe.
It’s made by Romisen, which I’m now learning has overall top quality construction in spite of the modest price. Feels small but solid, the twist on/off switch feels right, not hard but enough resistance to know it wont twist on its own. The o ring fits tightly.
This one is the brightest of all three (about 200 lumens) , but the battery only lasts for 30 minutes or so. Better rechargable batteries may perform better, but anyway, clearly its more of a tactical light, not something you’d do well with if you have to go without power for a couple days.
For EDC and emergency use, the size/brightness ratio is very hard to beat.

Akoray Cree Q5-WC

Maybe God rested on the seventh day, but a bunch of years later he got busy and made the Akoray Cree Q5-WC.
This flashlight is just perfect. The screw threads are thick, and it has double O rings.
The body quality is very good, there’s an overall quality feel about it.
This light is advertised as 6 mode ( which would have sucked) but actually came with a 3 mode memory. Low-High (about 200 lumens with good batteries) and strobe mode. It uses a single commonly available AA battery.
The great thing about having the high and low mode is that, as I was mentioning before, today LED lights are sometimes TOO bright, maybe more than you need, and needlessly eating up the batteries.
Imagine getting caught in some accident, locked somewhere, spending a couple days without power or even walking out of the woods when you lost track of time and night catches you by surprise.
When it’s dark, and once your eyes used to the darkness, you don’t need a small piece of sun in your pocket, a moderate amount of light will do well enough for you to see where you step. How does this work? Simply use your 200 lumen light and see for yourself: It’s not only illuminating, the entire spot you are aiming at next to your feet looks bright white. That’s’ wasting energy.
So this, well made light has the high and low feature which I love, plus the strobe. But the good part ( and something they apparently forgot to mention) the modes are fully customizable!

Tapping the clicky tail (not on/off, but lightly tapping) changes the modes. It has a memory feature that brings you back to the mode you last used. Tap 6 times quickly and after flicking once it starts getting brighter, and you tap again when it reaches the desired brightness for mode one. It flicks twice and it starts again, you tap when it reaches the desired brightness. Then I flicks 3 times for mode 3, it starts getting brighter in case you want a low-mid-high setup. If you don’t tap when it reaches the maximum brightness, it starts with the strobe modes again, slower at first and getting faster and faster. Now instead of tapping and going back to mode 1, click on it and turn the light off. The mode 3 will remain as you programmed it.
I set it to a minimum mode 1, about 15 lumens or so, this will give me over 24 hours worth of light with good batteries, plus a high lumen security option and a strobe mode as well.

That’s about it guys. A few months later I’ll let you know how they are holding on.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Knives for complete idiots

This kind of mentality is the exact opposite of what this blog is all about.
It’s scary to know that there’s people like that in the world.
Some people are SO stupid, they simply deserve to lose their freedom.
Don’t think so? Read the following article.


New Point Knives

In May 2005, my wife Liz watched a BBC TV news feature regarding a report produced by three UK doctors calling for a ban on long pointed kitchen knives. The report, written by Mike Beckett, Emma Hern and Will Glazebrook, cited long kitchen knives as the 'weapon of choice in a high proportion of serious stabbings.' The research they carried out in to the justification of a potentially lethal sharp point, led him to one conclusion - a ban was needed on all long pointed kitchen knives.
I wouldn't advocate a complete ban though their observations made perfect sense - remove the lethal weapons from our kitchen drawers and you will undoubtedly witness a drop in serious knife injuries. However, this raises a pivotal question; what else do we use? Introducing an outright ban would create an immediate knee-jerk reaction, therefore the solution must be more considered.
Being keen home cooks, Liz and I considered how many times we needed a long pointed knife when preparing and serving a meal. After much thought, we realized that in the home, we could see virtually no justification for this type of knife point. Liz then gave me a completely novel idea - why not design a knife point which can be used for everyday cooking but without the dangerous long sharp point?
As a degree qualified Industrial Designer, I set about the task. The following designs were created in May and June 2005 and have been refined over the subsequent years. During that time, none of my ongoing research and development has detracted from the original design ethos. It is now our firm belief that the common kitchen knife is not in fact a necessary evil and a new, more intelligent knife design can replace it.
The ultimate goal:
1. Produce a range of everyday kitchen knives which are accessible to the widest possible spectrum of society.
2. Significantly reduce incidences of serious knife injuries, whether accidental or intentional.


During the project I have been privileged to meet and work with a number of highly skilled specialists.

Dr Mike Beckett and Detective Inspector Mark Clarkson are such individuals and have the following to say about New Point Knives;
- Dr Mike Beckett. Clinical Tutor. West Middlesex Hospital -
'All manufactured products should be designed so that they combine efficiency in their intended purpose with the greatest possible degree of safety. This is especially true of household products which are freely available to the very young and very old, and used by people who may be clumsy, short tempered, drunk or mentally or physically unwell. Most people fit into one or more of these categories at some time in their lives. The humble kitchen knife can be a lethal weapon in the wrong hands, and thousands of people are killed or injured by them every year. Most knife wounds are caused by kitchen knives. Until now nothing much could be done about this, apart from some legislation of limited effectiveness. This new design of a safety kitchen knife is therefore very welcome. It deserves to gain widespread acceptance. Perhaps in time the long pointed kitchen knife will be relegated to the history books, together with the cut-throat razor, toxic coal gas and arsenic insecticides: all outdated, dangerous products that may have some specialist uses, but have no place in the domestic environment.'

- Detective Inspector Mark Clarkson. MPS Anti - Knife Crime Unit "Operation Blunt" Violent Crime Directorate. TPHQ -
'Speaking from a personal point of view, after having had the opportunity to personally test this “Safety Knife” on various joints of meat, I am convinced that this design will greatly reduce the ability of it to be used to puncture or unlawfully cause stab-like injuries. I would like to encourage the designer to press forward with this product, as I genuinely believe it can reduce both accidental harm within the kitchen and stab-like injuries in general.'

Monday, June 15, 2009

Senior Citizens: Under Attack

The numbers don’t lie, (not when it comes to body count) . And again, these are official statistics. You have to take into account that most crimes in Argentina are not reported, even the police advices you not to waste your time. This also helps keep the official crime rater lower than they actually are.
1 senior citizen gets murdered per day in Buenos Aires, most commonly just beaten to death during robberies.
10.000 senior citizens are crime victims per month.
Why? They are physically weaker, but also because they still hold on to the past. They are more likely to trust strangers, more easily tricked.
Once inside the house the violence is brutal. They get beaten up and tortured to reveal any hidden money.
Older people are usually more careful about money, so while hey don’t have a lot, they usually have a little saving for emergencies.
Another factor: Older people are usually on their own. Either they are widows or family doesn’t visit that much, they don’t receive that much visits. This means attackers can take their time to commit their crime.
Right now they are running programs in La Plata where senior citizen crime is most common , trying to educate older people and teaching them how to avoid being tricked and scammed, mostly teaching them not to trust strangers.
Later I'll see about posting some tips, as well as some of the things my grandmothers do to stay safe around here.


Father’s Day/ 4th of July Present Book Discount ($5 OFF)

A friend mentioned that he was thinking about getting a copy of my book for his father and I thought others might want to do that too, so given the occasion I’ll be doing a $5 discount to make it a bit easier on the pocket.
Might be a good 4th of July gift as well.
Have fun with your old man people, heck go fishing or shoot something ! :^)

Edited to add:
Thanks Jedi for the aditional 10% Discount, Coupon code "WELCOME10".
It's case sensitive. You need to write this down when asked to enter the coupon code.
I found aditional coupon Codes HERE as well.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Preparing for Flu and other diseases

Well people, my boy brought the bug home and after a couple weeks of fighting it he’s with pneumonia and so am I.

Schools here are mostly empty due to the Bronchiolitis and flu epidemic, A flu being the least of the concerns.
A doctor told me today that this same day he treated a school teacher, she had 5 students left in her class, many other schools have closed, some officially, some unofficially. As always authorities here choose to lie and the official number is 25 schools in Buenos Aires. Of course by now we are used to their lies.
The doctor told me he’s never seen anything like this in 30 years of practicing family medicine.
It was very comforting to have a well stocked stash, and not worrying about finding indispensables in the pharmacy, only doing it to rotate and buy more meds with the discount I get.
So people, I’m about to go to bed but wanted to drop a few quick points to keep in mind.

1)Health care insurance? Have it, love it. I pay dearly for mine, but I pick up the phone and a real doctor actually shows up in a matter of hours, this way I avid going to hospitals of offices where you can catch even more bugs in the waiting room.
Here that costs for this type of coverage is almost 300 USD a month, but having had to hospitalize my kid 3 times, I know its worth it. One of the times I barely made it to the hospital, so when people talk about the advantages of being a gas tank away from cities as a realistic survival advantage, I just shrug. Guess they are those type of people that don’t get sick or have to rush to the hospital or call an ambulance… Ever.

2)Have a well stocked supply of medicines and yes, that SPECIALLY includes antibiotics. Antibiotics save more lives than anything else, when you need them there’s no other substitute that comes nearly as close in terms of effectiveness. Spare me the don’t take antibiotics speech. When there’s a steady infection there’s no other way. I keep mostly amoxicillin, both for adults and kids. For pneumonia they gave me claritomycin, and they gave my son the pediatric version of the same drug as well, so I’ll get a few extra boxes of that as well. Before you ask about how to get antibiotics in USA, no idea guys. All I can suggest is having a serious down to earth chat with you doctor, hopefully its someone you trust or a close family friend. Tell him about your intentions of taking first aid classes and putting together a good first aid kid in case of emergencies.
Don’t forget ibuprofen and paracetamol, both for adults and kids. Again, this I had stocked already and came in VERY handy when my son had 41ºC fever a few days ago. Get BOTH, because with very high and persistent fever you may have to use both and rotate to keep the fever under control. Also baths slowly adding colder water and the good old wet cloth or bandana to the forehead, neck and wrists, so as to fight fever everyway you can. With such high fevers it’s important to keep the head from getting too hot. I also had several syringes for calculating the needed dose. The smaller ones I’ve fond to be indispensable for babies, slowly applying straight into the baby’s mouth, slightly pressing against the lip commissure, the infant has no other choice but to swallow the medicine.
Nebulization saline solution as well as Bronchiodilator drops. ONLY used when the doctor tell you so, but it would be awful to need it and not have it when you go to the pharmacy because they ran out. Specially saline solution, you use it a lot and it’s so cheap, no reason not to have 5-10 bottles, preferably much more.
Then of course you have your typical first aid kit supplies, but these are some important things needed that First aid kits sometimes don’t have.
About the nebulizator, its so important, specially for children, I have two just in case one brakes.

3)Preventive measures people, disinfectant gel/hand sanitizer (several bottles), as well as face masks. Don’t forget the good old soap, which works very well when used properly.
The doctor told me that I should use face masks when going outside, given how much bugs are out there and my problem, but he said it would be almost impossible to find masks these days, given the mass A flu hysteria. The doctor seemed very surprised and pleasantly so when I told him not to worry, that I already had masks covered.

4)Disposable tissue! You need this and you’ll use a lot of them. Remember not to use the same towel as the rest of the family.

5)Cover your mouth when coughing and try avoiding contact with healthy family members.

6)Get your flu shots! Not perfect but it covers some of the most common types.

7)Remember to drink lots and lots of water.
That’s what comes to mind right now but there’s of course much more, these are just the few basics that come to mind right now.
Take care.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Texas SWAT: Defending the retreat…

About 5 young able bodied males in the house and a 21 year old women that literally slept with her .45 strapped on a shoulder holster.
They had a nice weapon battery including ARs, scoped 30-06 rifles, shotguns, more than enough ammo, about 20 handguns spread around the house.
The compound/farm in Austin had the perimeter covered with cameras hidden in the trees, all connected to a big screen TV in the living room.
SWAT nailed them without firing a shot, and even though there were more, I counted only 4 operators entering after ramming down the door…
They were all watching a movie in the family room.

So people, FORGET about you super retreat, at least forget about it being a better defendable alternative. It isn’t.
Unless you have at the very least half a dozen people available for round the clock security you’re a sitting duck, and one lonely duck at that. It doesn’t take SWAT, a bunch of guys with an ounce of brains will get to you, specially if they don’t care about shooting the people inside.
Also, you need a real secured perimeter. Cameras with no one checking them are just a waste of time, at least it represents no real layer of protection.
24/7 guards plus good building design for layered security. If anyone thinks they have a secured or defendable retreat without those they are kidding themselves.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Play room/Man cave

One thing that I believe the USA will have in common with my country in the not so distant future is entertainment and the way we spend out free time (other than working around the house, etc) .
I remember mentioning a couple years ago how due to prices and insecurity, people here mostly stay at home, a movie and pizza was usually a good plan.
Of course people go out and Buenos Aires has some of the best nightlife in South America in the downtown area of the capital district, but for most of us, either going eating out is something we certainly can’t afford anymore to do on regular basis.. even in not so regular basis. It’s been months since I last set foot on a restaurant of any kind.
Even if you find cheaper alternatives like going to the movies, security is also a problem. Many parents encourage their kids and teenage children to organize get togethers and parties at home where it’s safer.
So, I remember suggesting a nice TV and entertainment center, videogames and a decent DVD collection.
Some hard core survivalists thought this was hilarious since everyone knows that when the world ends there’s no power at all, ever again, and you spend your days with a leather jacket and sawed off shotgun scavenging the wastelands… :)
Anyway, today I think people see this a bit better: Tighter budgets guys, and sooner or later the crime will become more of a problem.
What can you do at home? Lots of things. Of course reading is great, the internet is useful for entertainment and work, and as long as you can pay for it chances are that you will have it. Even in the crappiest places of the globe people have internet access. Just check the little map somewhere in this blog.
Now, a dedicated play room is something a lot of people already have, but what should you look for?

1)Look for entertainment that doesn’t require power. You never know if blackouts will become something common. Here during some periods we used to spend several hours a week without power, sometimes going for 2 or 3 days.
Here are some good games you might want to look into and consider:

Foosball table
Chess/Poker table
Ping Pong table

2)A book collection provides hours of entertainment and a non power dependant information source.
Remember to print any important information you may have.

3)Again, plan on going without power for extended periods of time. This means if you have a chance to design your house, plan your play room with good natural light, or else you’ll depend heavily on oil lamps, candles, generator or battery lanterns.

4)Hopefully you’ll have cross ventilation in case you don’t have AC, some play rooms in attics can be unbearable during summer.

5) This room could have extra space for storage and sofas that turn into beds for friends or family that bug in for a while with you. An small but functional extra bathroom might come in handy.

6) Movies and videogames if that’s your thing.

7) Use your imagination. For example if you like shooting, maybe you can set up a corner as an informal airsoft/airgun range with a “western” theme, with metal silhouettes, a couple straw bail stacked, a bell, all things you could shoot safely. This can be done in a basement pretty much for free.

8)The “man cave” is the adult version of a playroom. Man cave, but I can see how women could have fun there too. When decorating keep the survival mindset present… maybe a few oil lamps here and there, a couple guns hanging around, always kept within reach . :)

This link has lots of “Man caves”, just looking around will sure give you several ideas.

Take care people.


Doug Casey on Argentina

Doug Casey goes on and on about how great Argentina is:

Granted, it's not downtown BA, but I think he's a bit of a nutter. What do you think of that place?



Doug Casey's top place to live if things go to hell in the U.S.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Text Size: increase text size decrease text size

By Porter Stansberry in the S&A Digest:

[Legendary speculator] Doug Casey is greatly underappreciated. He's been expecting the debacle we see unfolding today - a collapsing financial sector, government spending growing out of control, and a public backlash against capitalism - for as long as I've known him, almost 15 years. He calls the scenario "The Greater Depression." And now, he thinks it's going to be even worse than he expected...

At his conference last weekend in Las Vegas, he told the audience what he's doing to protect himself from what he sees coming next: soaring inflation, capital controls around the world, and vast increases to America's already confiscatory tax regime. What is Doug doing? First, he built a very private community in a very safe place about as far away from the centers of government power as you can get. His development is called Estancia Cafayate. It's located in the southern part of Salta province in northwest Argentina. Why in the world would you want to live in a valley of the Andes Mountains in rural Argentina? Well, Uruguay is nearby, a place where you can still bank privately and where you can still arrange for citizenship.

Second, Salta is incredibly rich in natural resources - water, farmland, oil and gas, vineyards, cattle, cultural attractions, etc. All of the things you need to lead a very wealthy, civilized life are in great abundance. And everything is cheap. A first-class steak dinner at a good restaurant on the central square in Cafayate costs about $4 per head, including wine. Finally, you have plenty of opportunities to make money with commodities. Doug has become a large-scale dairy farmer.

Learn more about Estancia Cafayate...


"A first-class steak dinner at a good restaurant on the central square in Cafayate costs about $4 per head, including wine. "

He figured his dollars go a long way here. Many others have done so as well.

Older people with money moving to Argentina? My advice is to stay in a nice part of Buneos Aires, vacation to Salta or wherver you want but make places like Palermo, Las Cañitas or Recoleta your home. You'll live longer and do so happier.

Argentina or other 3rd world country, they are what I reffer to in my book as "Plan C" countries, find one you like.

Argentina is ok, but not in the way he thinks. Uruguay is better and far less dangeorus. He's in love with the cheap restaurants. That's not very "Survivalish"

"Finally, you have plenty of opportunities to make money with commodities. Doug has become a large-scale dairy farmer."


It's not easy to make money in Salta, or any other province for that matter. For crying out loud, google "Argentine Farmer Crisis". And then think about Dug's dairy farm. ;)

These third world countries, you come to live cheap, not make money. (unless you have serious contacts or are willing to get involve in grayish businesses)

What good old Doug is trying to do, is SELL people this BULLSHIT.

He's trying to SELL his real estate investment and portraiting it through a very rosy shade.

Salta is nice, I've been there and know the place, its is NOT this dream the guy is trying to sell. Hell guys, I know people with money that left Salta because there's nothing there, and hundreds of thousands left and keep leaving because there's no future here for young people ( maybe it looks better for someone with enough money that just wants to retire)

PEOPLE: Dont buy this BULLSHIT. Visit Argentina first. It's beautiful but its also a mess and the "interior".... well, you have to go there, but its not rural USA, its VERY different. I know becuase I lived there for two years. There's a reason why people move from there to Buneos Aires city inspite of the dirt, crime, etc.

If people leave a place, dont assume they are stupid, assume there's a reason.


Fighting Kinfe

You mentioned a Glock instead of a whistle, but as we know that's not practical for everyone.
I found this product and have given them to women friends attached to their car keys.
It's called the hideaway knife: http://www.hideawayknife.com/main.php
I've taken the liberty of attaching the pictures I took showing how to put it together and how it can be carried and used. I hope you find it interesting and perhaps useful.

Hideaway knife.

Best regards,

No weapon at all or that 140 USD knife? Sure, give me the little blade.
But do not get caught on beautiful web page design and very smart marketing.
That knife is just a step above a lapel knife (google it up if you don’t know those) , better than nothing but you have 100 cheaper and what is even more important, BETTER options.
Greatest problem with that little knife? The blade to hand interface: The grip.
That grip my friends, SUCKS, and I invite anyone that doubts that to buy the dummy knife version, chalk it up, and fight with it for real. Once you brake a couple fingers you’ll understand what I mean.
You need a good solid grip, and fingers inside slots or holes is not a smart idea in terms of knife fighting.
For that same size you’re much better served with a push dagger.
Worst case scenario you stab someone with a push knife and he falls, twists away or falls on you, you lose the knife but you don’t brake your fingers.
It is a very small knife, with a lousy grip, the gun equivalent to a Derringer, but even in that department you have MUCH better alternatives.
Heck guys, get a Gerber Guardian knife if you want to go small. It’s not just Lara croft hype, it’s a hideout fighting knife designed by Bob Loveless of all people, and man, that’s a fine wicked blade, and cost less than 50 bucks vs. The 140 USD the gripless thing costs.

Gerber Guardian

I think Cold Steel also has little push daggers and neck knives, they have that “Roach Belly” knife, which I’m sure I mentioned before and if I didn’t I’m highly recommending it now: Cheaper and just ideal belly slashing or stabbing knife with a GOOD grip. And its 12 Freaking dollars people!

$12 Roach Belly
Now compare it to Bill Moran’s Spyderco that costs … drums… U$D 120!!

Granted, the Cold Steel sheath probably sucks , but people, come on, that’s 10 times more for a VERY similar knife, both made of good steel and my bet would even go to the Roach Belly as a better stabber. It even has more stoppage in case of the hand sliding forward when stabbing than the Spyderco knife does.
So guys, watch how you spend your money, specially when you can get things that are better for much less money

Remember, get something with a functional grip, without it no knife is work a single buck.

Munny said...
What do you consider a "fighting knife", as opposed to just a normal knife? I think a true fighting knife would be double edged, but those are a bit less practical and hard to come by.

Double edged daggers are clearly fighting knives but I think that you’re better served with a sturdier blade. The double edge dagger stabs better and you can slash with the other edge, but a single edged knife will usually be sturdier.
A good full size fighting knife would be a Kabar fighting knife for example. A good blade with a penetrating clip point, thick enough blade, a GOOD grip and a cross piece guarding your fingers and preventing your hand from going over the edge when stabbing forcefully.
That is my opinion regarding a good fighting blade. Most of the time it’s a slightly slimmer version of a typical bowie knife, or a straight knife with a clip point.


Friday, June 5, 2009

My Book Excerpt- Rape

I mentioned rape in the previous post. This is my book’s subchapter on Rape.
Please send it to your loved ones. Hope it can provide some insight on how women can protect themselves from this horrible type of crime.


One of the most cruel crimes and unfortunately a common one before and after SHTF.
Many crimes, including rape and murder, are perpetrated by someone that knew the victim well.
Due to the overall feeling of lawlessness, the amount of predators will grow significantly after SHTF.
We had a serial rapist in the city of Cordoba that raped 93 women before committing suicide when cops finally tracked him down to his home.
In one occasion I walked into my friendly gun shop looking for some more OC spray, and they told me they didn’t had any left: It had all been shipped and sold in Cordoba because of the serial rapist.
This year a series of rapes in the fancy neighborhood of Recoleta had many woman carrying regular Tramontina table knives in their trendy purses for defense.
While a small serrated table knife is far better than nothing, a more adequate weapon is preferable.
There’s a number of things you can do to avoid or defend yourself better from this horrendous type of crime.

A 20 year old college student that was a rape victim herself has some advice for women.
The attacker had already attacked other 32 girls in the same campus. This is the serial rapist I talked about before. She was one of the victims and wrote this before he was caught.
She sent her advice through email so that other women would be prepared. I’m literally translating most of her advice:

*Don’t walk around alone, don’t let your guard down. The guy is loose and knows how to handle himself, how to talk to you.

*We have to be ready. If someone talks to you from behind or puts a hand in your shoulder, you have to scream. Run and hug someone nearby. Run into a shop or just run away.

*The rapist grabs his victims in public places, where if you react quickly, not only can you escape, but there’s a good chance they can catch him as well.

*In case you can’t scream, frozen by fear like it happened to me, carry a whistle. Your vocal cords don’t seem to work but you can still blow a whistle.

*Don’t walk around at night. Better spend the money and get a cab or “remis”.

* I took a bath, dressed up and walked towards my friend’s house. There was a lot of people on the street that night. It was a nice part of town too. I realized there was a guy walking a few steps behind me. He told me something and when I try to turn around he tells me not to look at him because he’s going to cut me up.

*He put his arm around me, told me not to be scared, that he only needed me to pretend I was his girlfriend just to escape the cops that were looking for him.

*He took me to an abandoned place, there he told me not to scream because no one would listen. He put my blouse around my head, touched me, it was denigrating, horrible, the most denigrating, terrible and humiliating thing that ever happened to me.

*Don’t walk around alone, don’t be trustful, be aware. I suppose you are thinking, why didn’t I run? At the time I couldn’t react.

This girl has some great advice. I’d like to add some more.

1) Try to avoid using skirts. It’s no guarantee but every bit helps, and it’s a bit more complicated than skirts. Rapists take this into account.

2) Rapists also like long hair for some reason. Probably because it makes it easier to take hold of the victim’s head. If you have long hair, try using it in some hairstyle that it can’t be so easily grabbed.

3) As the girl said, react. Preferably react violently. Rapists count on psychological submission. When the victim starts screaming, insulting him, pushing him away, in most cases they just run away surprised. Hopefully you’ll have a weapon as well.

4) Even better than whistles, there are personal alarms/flashlight combo little gadgets that sound off a high pitch alarm and flash when you push a button. This is even easier to use than a whistle, and you can have it in the pocket ready at all time as you walk around. If none of this is available there are small handheld marine boat horns that can do the trick. Some are no bigger than a deodorant spray and can be carried in the purse. These sure are one of the few gadgets you should buy right away.

Copyright © Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Whistle/Personal Alarm

Anonymous said...

How about a really LOUD whistle?
Esp. for the ladies. BLOW it when in trouble - this is espically since it is compact and can wear around your neck concealed under say a t-shirt.

When doing research for my book, I found an email written by a college student that had been a victim of one of the most vicious rapists we’ve ever seen in my country. I think he rapped between 60-100 women if memory serves me well.

One of the things that surprised me the most was her description of how she was SO terrified, she tried to scream but the voice just didn’t come out. She also mentioned the whistle, saying she believe maybe she could have used that.

I think that is you are that frozen and terrified, even better than a whistle is having an alarm that will do the screaming for you. Also, it's hard to blow a whistle while fighting someone, or getting hit in the face.

These personal alarms are cheap, loud (120-130 DB) and I think they’d be very valuable in such a situation.

Of course the best thing would be a Glock and putting a couple holes into this bastard, doing a favor to us all, but the alarm (and OC Spray) is still a good idea.

There are several models and they are usually very cheap, which maybe isn’t that good because you want something sturdy that can resist a few impacts by a rapist attempting to destroy the gadget, though most likely he’ll flee as soon as he hears the alarm go off. Rapist do NOT want to attract attention, that’s their greatest fear.

Some models just don’t work because they can be easily turned off.

I think that during such a stressful situation you don’t want buttons either, better to have the alarm attacked to your waist, purse or jacket, and simply have a cord you can pull from, like a parachute.

During self defense classes we learn that motor skill are usually limited, specially when the person isn’t used to fighting and dealing with violence, or when paralyzed by fear. (very personal issue, but it’s better to expect to have limited motor skills)

Pulling a cord should be simple enough, specially with something more bulky to grab, like a keychain light or some sort of small bright colored ball (easier to find the cord in the dark)

I didn’t look much into it, but this is one of the loudest ones I found (130 DB ) and with the best reviews. Also works as a door alarm and luggage/purse alarm for travelers.
Multiuse Personal and Door, Window 130 DB Alarm w/ Flashing Light

DealExtreme also has a few, but they look even cheaper and easier to brake/deactivate.

Amazon doesn’t ship these things to South America ( only books and DVDs... thanks Amazon) so if you find another website with a similar or better product and ships internationally, please let me know.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Change We Can’t Believe In (coin shortage)


The New Yorker talks about how difficult it is to find coins in Buenos Aires. Do not think you have talked about this topic before.

Avid reader of your blog.



Hi Jimmy,
Guess the lesson there is in how important it is to have change.
Yes, it is a problem here (just like 100s others) but I never went much into it because I thought it was more of a 3rd worldly thing.
Now that you mentioned it and I read the article, I see that maybe it could be a common post economic SHTF problem, finding change for the small purchases you need, public transportation, etc.
They (bus companies ) are charging up to 10% for coins, since you need them for buses, giving back change in kiosks, etc.

Here’s the full article:

Change We Can’t Believe In
by James Surowiecki June 8, 2009

As you walk into the Retiro train station in downtown Buenos Aires these days, you pass a long line of people snaking their way from the station’s entrance to a single window. At first glance, this is unsurprising: what’s more common than a queue in a train station? But there is something distinctive about this line: it ends at a window bearing a sign that reads “Coins.” The people standing patiently in line are not, it turns out, waiting to buy train tickets. Instead, they’re waiting to do something that’s become very difficult in Buenos Aires: make change.
The Retiro queue is a sign of the most peculiar economic crisis in recent memory: the great Buenos Aires coin shortage. For well over a year now, small change has been hard to come by there. Stores hang “No Coins” signs in their windows, and offer candies instead of change. Taxi-drivers round up—or down—to avoid giving up precious coins, while smaller merchants sometimes turn away business if you have only bills to offer them. The government has fined banks thousands of pesos for refusing to hand over coins, and, in October, the city’s subways became temporarily free when the booths ran short of change. For the average Bonaerense, everyday transactions now entail a complicated calculation of where coins can be acquired and when they will be needed.

That’s especially true because most people need change to get around Buenos Aires: the city’s buses accept only coins. This has made them an obvious culprit in the shortage, as they take in millions of pesos in coins but, unlike other businesses, don’t hand any out. If the bus companies hold onto the coins rather than depositing them in a bank, they can make a significant dent in the amount of change in circulation. And they did have an incentive to do this: before the government cracked down on them, they were reselling coins to businesses at a hefty markup.
But the buses alone can’t be responsible for the shortage: they’ve been coin-operated for many years, while the coin famine is a recent phenomenon. So two other theories of the origin of the crisis are regularly floated in the city. The first is that the left-wing government of Argentina is conspiring to make the right-wing government of Buenos Aires look bad, before coming to the rescue itself. And, indeed, the national government is supposedly implementing a plan for electronic bus cards, though it’s now well behind schedule. The second, and more common, explanation is that people are hoarding coins because inflation is making the metal in them more valuable than their face value.
Hoarding of this sort, and the resulting coin shortages, was once a recurring economic problem, one that the Italian economic historian Carlo Cipolla dubbed “the big problem of small change.” But these shortages were thought to be a feature of premodern times, when coins were made out of precious metal, and people literally brought silver to the mint to have it turned into coins. If the value of silver rose beyond the face value of coins, hoarding silver was a natural response. Today, coins are government-issued tokens, and their value is theoretically unconnected to the metal they contain.

This isn’t to say that the material worth of a coin’s metal can’t still exceed its face value; the rising value of zinc, for instance, meant that, last year, every new penny issued cost the U.S. Mint about 1.7 cents. But hoarding no longer makes sense unless it’s done on a large scale, and most people in Buenos Aires are not melting down their coins into hunks of copper. Yet, even if they’re not, the anxiety that others might be hoarding coins and melting them down seems to have been enough to start a panic. Hoarding causes shortages, but shortages also promote more hoarding.
It’s no coincidence that this kind of panic has taken hold in Argentina: the country’s history of financial crises has made people there profoundly skeptical of the way markets work. The sharp spike in inflation in the past couple of years, for instance, was almost certainly exacerbated by Argentina’s previous experience with hyperinflation. Businesses that have gone through an episode of hyperinflation become understandably alert to the threat of it: at the first hint of inflation, they’re likely to increase prices, since they’ve learned that if they don’t, and inflation hits, their businesses will be wrecked. In the same way, when it comes to holding onto coins, people hoard first and ask questions later.
You could, then, dismiss the Buenos Aires coin shortage as an anomaly. But the Argentine experience actually underscores the degree to which all modern financial systems depend on confidence, and the problems that erupt when that confidence disappears. In the U.S., after all, the chaos of last year both led to and has been exacerbated by a shortage of its own: credit. As people became worried about the health of the system, they took money out of any investment that smacked of risk and put it into cash (bank deposits have soared in the past six months) or government bonds. That, in turn, made others more anxious: less willing to lend and more interested in holding onto their money. Fear bred a credit crunch, which, in turn, bred more fear. And if fear has left the Argentines with too few coins, it has left us, paradoxically, with too much cash (and too little credit). This isn’t to say that financial crises are all in our head; certainly our own was sparked by problems that were very real. But there is an irreducible psychological dimension to both crises and recoveries. And if it’s hard for people in Buenos Aires to give up their pennies, think how much harder it will be for Americans to start taking risks again.


Replies: More on Swine/A Flu

Anonymous said...
Hi Ferfal,

Any mask is better than no mask, and may stop the flu as well as an n95 mask, according to this:


Ilya said...

But this mask does not protect YOU.
It protect others from you.
It has very good protection, but it created to protect patient from surgeon breath.
Possibly, I'm not right, but my common sense tells me -- if it is not airtight -- you can inhale germs.

Good against dust, but not against biohazard.

You are right about not being airtight and thus not providing 100% protection, but it’s still MUCH better than no mask at all.
For example, when working with wood and other dusty labor, I’ve found that large amounts of dust gather in the mask where my nostrils are located, clearly stopping the particles. At least an important part of air is getting filtered.

Blackthorn D. Stick said...
Here's an interesting link you might want to check out.

Thanks for the link

Don Williams said...
Ferfal, I've been busy researching Swine Flu here in USA. Some points:

a) Our Center for Disease Control does recommend use of the N95, especially if you are in a High Risk group (e.g diabetes) and taking care of a sick relative. Best measure is to not get within 6 feet of a sick person but people can be infectious for a day or so (and transmitting flu virus) before they show noticeable symptoms. So you can't tell if that guy sitting next to you on the bus is sick.

b)However, the N95s are meant to be disposable. They filter out the small droplets created by sneezes and on which the flu viruses reside. However the flu virus itself is much smaller. I've seen reports suggesting that the N95 mask can become waterlogged (from moisture in the breath) and hence become permeable to flu viruses that have been caught on the outer surface. Obviously how soon this happens depends upon how much you are exhaling (heavy exercise vice resting) but some reports suggest they are not good for more than 2-3 hours. Also, one study concluded that there is no way to sterilize them without destroying the fine inner fibers that filter out the small items.

c) So you need a lot of N95 masks -- care of a sick relative over a week long bout would use up about 20 of them. I estimate about 100 per person would be needed for the entire flu season.

d) However, The MEDICAL N95s here in the USA disappeared quickly -- shortly after the swine flu appeared I went to 14 drug stores and found that they were all sold out. They are also very expensive ($4 per mask). However, CDC indicates that the N95
masks used in construction trades (available in paint stores, hardware stores,etc. and used while painting or sanding ) can be used as well.

e) The Medical N95 (blue colored here in USA) seems to simply have a stronger outside surface to resist drenching by body fluids (e.g, spray of blood). If you are not a surgeon or nurse inserting catheters into people, it appears that you can probably get by with the construction N95 --which is available in far greater quantities and is cheaper ($1 per mask).

f) The valve you mentioned allows easier breathing and would probably delay the mask becoming soaked with exhaled moisture. However, it costs twice as much.

g) You may also want some of the common "procedure masks" worn by doctors, dentists,etc. -- for sick relatives to wear so that they do not emit so many viruses into the air. However, they may not be able to breathe with such masks as they get sicker.

h) Note that CDC's recommendations are based upon the judgment of doctors and scientists and are based upon past experience in dealing with far more infectious diseases (measles, Tuberculosis,etc.). To my knowledge, There have not been extensive scientific tests yet of the N95's resistance to flu.

i) However, many of the US news reports that "N95 is not effective" goes counter to the CDC's recommendation. I think those news stories were put out by politicans who were panic-stricken that the US public was about to realize that the government did NOT have the 7 billion or so masks needed to protect them if the flu continued explosive growth into the USA summer season.

j) CDC recommendation is at
http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/masks.htm . Note that proper fit to get an airtight seal is essential (no beard).


Some more info on N95 masks from US Food and Drug Administration (regulates use of medicines and medical equipment) and US government
(Links pointed to by US CDC)



again, the PRIMARY recommendation is to avoid contact with people. But obviously that is not always feasible.


Note that guidance to Healthcare workers caring for flu patients is to wear eye protection (goggles) and wash hands as well. It appears that flu can be contracted by viruses touching the wet membrane of the eyes --either by an infected hand rubbing them or from the air.

washing the hands removes flu viruses from the hand that might be transferred to the eyes, nose or throat.

See http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidelines_infection_control.htm

Jedi said...
If anyone is interested in buying the real deal, here's a good one from a great company:


If you think people will look at you funny wearing an n95 mask, try wearing this thing in public. Oh well. If you ever really need it, I doubt you'll care.