Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First Robbery‏

I was robbed at threat of violence yesterday for the first time,
naturally my first inclination was to write about it:

I've lived here for 2 years and never had an incident like that. It's
made me realize that the most basic thing, before weapons or
self-defense training, is pulling your head out of the cloud of
distractions and being aware of your surroundings. I was walking on
the dark side of Juan B. Justo, near the train tracks, that was my
first mistake. Nobody walks on that side because it's an easy scalp
for a thief. I crossed over on the last block before the subway
because the traffic gave the opportunity, thinking it was an efficient
way to minimize my travel time, quite the Yankee mentality.

You've talked a lot about being aware and projecting a "don't fuck
with me attitude" instead of a "clueless tourist" or "helpless victim"
vibe, but if you do find yourself accosted by armed thieves, what's
your call? In this case these kids just had a puny knife, the other
kid had his hands in his pockets as a bluff, could have had a piece,
probably didn't. I figured I could probably handle it and I'm
physically about as framed as both of them put together, but I've got
family to take care of, didn't think it was worth the risk.

Where do you draw the line on discretion?


Hi Patrick, sorry to hear that man. Sounds like ordinary "rateros".
If you live in Buenos Aires, its pretty much a matter of time for most people to get robbed. All things considered, you were lucky. You don’t need me to tell you that though, you can hear it every single day about people getting murdered in Buenos Aires for their car, sometimes just a couple pesos. You still don’t understand Patrick, THEY CAN KILL YOU AND NOT SEE A DAY IN JAIL. Even for adults, in socialist Argentina, a criminal is a poor victim of society, while you are the blood thirsty assassin if you dare train to defend yourself, let alone carry a weapon.

I don’t think you realize the seriousness of the situation here. Why do you think no one else was walking on that side of the street, by the train? Most Argies would know better.
In spite of making the mistake of being there in the first place and getting caught by surprise, you handled things well: A few bucks is not worth getting stabbed. Even having a throw away wallet with a few bucks is a good idea. Even if armed, its MUCH cheaper and less hassle to just give the little punks some money and go your way. It’s the cheapest, fastest solution.

Having said that there are other situations where you may not want to surrender, or where doing so is likely going to get you or your loved ones killed or worse anyway. For that, I’d recommend taking a few self defense classes and learning how to use weapons, and for that I cant recommend Jorge Baigorria enough. Again, sorry that you had to go through that, but as I said before and you hear on the news everyday, count your blessings, you were pretty lucky.
Where to draw the line? Its not easy, and you'll have to forever live (or die) with the choice you mkae in that split second. At least for me, a few bucks, even my car key, its not worth the corpse to explain, now when my family is invovled or when I see that it could end up in a situation I could regret the rest of my life (forced inside your home, kidnaped , etc) that's where I draw the line.


No Electricity Laundry Machine‏

Hi Fernando
I'm one of your fans and as I came across this site, I thought you might be interested (maybe not for you personnally) but for a post
via lifehacker: Michael Perdriel originally designed his low-cost and efficient manual laundry machine to help out people in developing nations. While you may not be in a daily situation where you need to build your own laundry machine and run it without electricity the design is extremely clever for situations like camping, a cabin without electricity, or for forays into reducing your environmental impact.


Hi! Thanks a lot for the link! That's pretty useful and saves both water and energy.
Dirty clothes bunch up fast when there's no water or power, and that way if you have a few galons of water stored as adviced here often (given that you have enough) you can use a couple to do some laundry.
Here its still very common for poor people to wash clothes using the old ribbed boards, you see them being sold often in smaller stores.
The link is worth clicking. That mechanism would make laundry much more easier and less labour demanding. Its worth saving and printing the diagram.
I'm still a a few weeks delayed replying emails but I'm catching up :-)


Monday, June 28, 2010

Reply: A gun, 1000 bucks and a bottle of water

Hey Fernando, no reply necessary, but I can't agree about the Leatherman Charge TTi multi tool. There's no corkscrew on that SOB, it's practically worthless ;-) . I prefer the JUICE® XE6 It meets my needs. LMAO. Glad you're onto an IPhone. I love mine and can't speak highly enough about it's versatility. I was in Italy in 2007 and there were three of us. Two of us had Treos, and the one woman, who's not the sharpest knife technologically speaking, kicked our asses. It was so damn easy that both of us went to Iphones within two months of returning to the states. You're doin' great work, keep it up, EN
Leatherman Juice XE6 Storm Gray

Thanks EN, will do. :-)
Hey, at least you have the blade to cut the cork out if needed during an emergency.   : )
I looked into the Juice a lot and came close to buying it but ended up going for the Charge Tti and a spare Wave instead. I do like the smaller multitool a lot, and I like the more traditional  (and in some cases more useful) screwdrivers in it. I have to write a post about the problems I see with the Charge/Wave, even when compared to the much smaller all time favorite little tool, the Victorinox Midnight Minichamp.  By the way, the Midnight Minichamp now comes with a white LED. It used to come with a red LED for better runtime but they've improved that. Now its just freaking awesome. If it had a lighter in there somewhere I'd get divorced only to marry this thing.
Victorinox Swiss Army Midnite Minichamp, Red
About the iphone, I managed to convince a friend (Marine gun nut) to buy one a few days ago, along with the help of another iphone user. He also got the Otter Box Defender  the three of us are currently using, so as to make the iphone more rugged and drop proof.
Now that you mention the Juice, I really should get one so as to try it out and write a review. It does seem awful convenient. Wish it had a pocket clip of some sort though.


The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse # 1 Survival Skills Best Seller

I saw it today and wanted to thank you all for your support.


My book, The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse, reached #1 Best Seller in the Survival Skills category in Amazon. Again, thanks to all of you for reading the blog and spreading the word.
Take care folks.


PS- By the way, I have no idea why its selling so much all of a sudden. It must have been mentioned somewhere. If anyone knows anything I'd appreciate if you could comment or send an email.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Advanced Defensive pistol shooting class

After Module One and Two, I was looking forward to Baigoria’s final class that took place yesterday at the Lomas de Zamora Federal shooting club in Buenos Aires.
The class covers some of the most advanced techniques, but we also went through more typical ones like failure drill practice. For the failure drills a partner would use a spent case to cause one of the three most common failures, either stove pipe, case caught in the action or double feed. We practiced a lot of failure drill clearing one handed, weak hand only, as well as one handed reloads with both hands.

We also shot for accuracy at a two inch circle and it was nice to notice the level of the group in general, we were all chewing into that ragged hole at close range, about five yards and it spread just one or two inches more at ten or fifteen yards but in general the level of the group was very good, specially when you consider that these were defensive shooting drills and not target practice sessions. Its cool when a class works almost like a team even if you don’t know anyone, when you all draw at about the same speed, double tap at about the same time and in general you hear a long gunshot report and not several ones at different timing as you do in the beginner classes. We soon had a small audience that watched the class from a safe distance.

We shot while moving, first walking, then moving faster, then running and shooting with each step taken. We shot moving back and forth, sideways and diagonally, running back or firing from behind cover, shooting 360º. Each different drill was explained why it was done, and there was often a real world incident explained where one of the students or instructors used such a drill during actual shootings. For example a student shot a bad guy from his truck, using one of the 360º drills, shooting backwards out of the window while seated looking forward in the driver’s seat. 
This is one of the added bonuses of these classes since there’s so many real world incidents here with students involved. Another of the incidents discussed: A Chinese store owner that took one of the classes was being robbed at his store, from the office monitor he sees his wife fighting one of the armed robbers with a bottle. He gets his Bersa Mini Thunder 9mm and runs to the store and puts the gun to the bad guy’s head. The bad guy stops wrestling with his wife, puts his own gun back in his waist, and starts walking outside… with the money he robbed! The Chinese guy goes out and when the criminal tries to start his motorcycle to escape Chinese guy shoots the bike four times, effectively killing it!  Now two of the accomplices with their own bikes that already took off turn around and go back to pick up the one that was left behind, and they are coming back shooting. Chinese guy at least managed to notice the high traffic on the background, so while the bad guys were shooting his way, he could only shoot over their head (4 or 5 times) while running for cover as he had trained. Instead of covering himself completely as trained, Chinese guy left a leg uncovered and he got shot there. He was also running out of ammo quickly and had no reloads. The bad guys picked the one left behind and left, but were caught soon after because the small town didn’t have many exits and the gunfight lasted enough for cops to organize. Now, in spite of the many mistakes this man made, worse one being chasing after the bad guy after he left, he managed not to shoot innocent people at such a stressful moment, and took cover (poorly) so that even though he got shot in the leg, it could have been much worse. 

We also talked about what happens after shootings, and, we were told that many students have ended up in jail after the gunfights because of the way they handled the aftermath. Not getting into much detail, we were told that even if we do as trained, saying stuff like “yes, I face smashed the first guy and zipped him up as trained in extreme close combat, performed a tactical reload, then shot the other guy twice in the chest and once in the face” that’s not how you want to sound when talking to the judge since cold thinking during life or death situations will work against you and not in your favor, as stupid as that sounds. You want to look and sound like a poor, scared sheep.

Force on Force

After live ammo practice we started running different scenarios with revolvers loaded with wax rounds. Those sometimes hurt and leave a small bruise, so we used face masks. We started with “suicide” drills (duels), first not being able to move, one shot each. I was then handed a snuby revolver with two rounds, and was confronted by two attackers with one shot each. This time we were allowed to move and I started moving sideways as soon as I heard the whistle. I shot one, and shot the other one as he was shooting my way but he missed.
 Then I did an ATM role play drill, got surrounded by three guys, shot two but got shot in the back by the 3rd. I have a small bruise to remind me to not allow myself to get surrounded next time. We did that again but with more people (extras) and you didn’t know how many bad guys there were, or even if there were any at all. By the way, some students ended up shooting people that were unarmed, so a good lesson there. Other managed to, even better, just run away. 

On another exercise, I approached the ATM line and saw that one guy was approaching but not getting in line. I stopped before turning my back to him and asked if he was going to get in line or not. I had my hands in my pocket (with the snubby and two shots there) he lifts his tshirt to show me a gun, and starts to say “give me your m-” but I shot him in the gut point blank. That must have hurt a lot, :-) As I did that I saw another guy going for a gun and shouting out something, so I got behind the guy I had just shot and used him as a human shield  :-)  as I shot the second guy (and missed) but the other guy missed too. Would have nailed that bastard if I had more rounds! :-)

Another student got beaten with sticks and just shot one bad guy, but when he went to the floor he got kicked a lot, including a hard kick to the masked face as a lesson so that he remembers not to go to the ground next time. In another exercise a very big and muscular student tried to wrestle his way out of it, after he had a gun shoved to the back of his neck. Two instructors (bad guys) had him down good though, with a neck choke, but since he kept fighting, as in real life, another bad guy just shot him in the chest point blank for struggling. Lesson there: when you’re defeated just accept it and don’t get killed for nothing.
We did several other drills, lots of good lessons learned.

Gear used and some tips

Glock 31 + 3 magazines and 500 rounds of ammo
Long sleeve tshirt and another 2 extra tshirts so that the wax and airsoft rounds don’t hurt that much, a vest is even better.
Mouth piece (we were provided face masks for FOF drills)
Ear plugs
Bug repellent
Water (at least a liter) and some snack or sandwich.
Spare gun so that you don’t lose the class if you have a failure.

We all used Glocks (9 students) except for one that used a Beretta 92. No one had problems except for a guy that was limp-wristing his Glock during extreme close range drills where we shot one handed. I had no problems with Wolf ammo and some other cheapo reloads I used. 

As always, very pleased with the class. There were more instructors than students so that helps a lot in the safety department too. Very professional and WELL worth the money spent.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Soccer world cup and survival… and a quarter of a billon dollars spent by the Argentine government to keep the mass entertained.

“Do you know how Germany is doing?” asked the driver as soon as I got into the car.
“Yes, they just scored a goal, not playing very well really” I said.
The car driver pulled out a piece of paper and took note of the result. The remis driver (informal taxi) would sure check the results when at home and see who would most probably be our next soccer adversary in the 2010 World Cup tournament.

Soccer is a big thing in Argentina. Its always been that way. Specially during the world cup, kids don’t even go to school that day if the match takes place during school hours, and even at jobs only the most tyrannical employers will forbid workers from watching the game or at least keep track of it on internet or radio.
You see very few cars on the streets, few people walking around. Even if you’re the strangest Argentine person in the planet, you’d be wise to stay at home during the matches when Argentina plays: There’s so few people and so little police presence (or none) that more professional criminals that resist their passion for soccer will take advantage of the opportunity and commit robberies and other crimes.
I can’t help thinking why it is this way, why is soccer (or futbol as we call it here, slang for football) so important for people.

I guess it has something to do with poverty and the social situation here. Its always been a big thing, even during the good times, but when a person is poor, his life quality went to hell, its easy to see why soccer is so important. For some people, their team winning a tournament is the only happy event in a very long time. This is something that repeats itself in most Latin American countries.
Because of this, soccer is a matter of state. In a country where the population’s discomfort is so great, its politically important that the team goes well.

If Argentina wins matches, people are happy and less likely to protest or notice (or care) that much about inflation or crime, concentrating on celebrating the team’s victories instead. Its common for the senate and president to approve very unpopular measures or laws precisely during the time when Argentina is playing an important match. People are concentrated on something else and before people and the media take notice its already a done deal. “Bread and Circus” as the Romans used to say. In some cases, circus alone is enough. Circus and cheap drugs.

The drugs are already cheap and abundant (and of awful quality of course, junk like Paco that kills people quicker than any other drug) About the circus part, the Kirchner government took measures as well: In a country of such poverty as Argentina, they’ve used 250 million dollars were spent to ensure the previously pay per view matches to be free for everyone. The program was called “Football para Todos” (Football for everyone) 250 million dollars, the tax payers money, many of them very poor, that money is spent on making pay per view free. So maybe you have a hard time putting food on the table, maybe you are one of the millions of unemployed, but you can rest assured your tax money is being spent in important things, such as ensuring free soccer TV for the fans out there. Maybe you sort of prefer lower taxes, specially when it comes to making food cheaper. Heck, maybe you don’t give a damn about soccer. Thank God you have the Argentine government to spend your money wisely for you instead of throwing it away on silly stuff like milk or medicine for your kids.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Reply: "Father’s Day Gift: Casio G-Shook Black X Solar Atomic"

Don Williams said...
I like the G-Shocks as well. I was arguing their merits with a wealthy friend one time --who likes Rolexes. I noted that the developer of the G-Shock tossed the prototypes off a 3 story building to test them.

I suggested that we do the same -- that I toss my $60 GShock off a building onto a concrete parking lot, that he do the same with his Rolex and we would then compare their time-keeping. He turned me down for some reason.

Later on, he ended up getting a quartz watch with LCD display for playing golf --because he discovered that the whipping swings of playing golf hurts the mechanisms of mechanical watch movements. (Quartz watches with the mechanical hands have problems
also -- with the hands ratcheting ,etc.)

The G-Shock is also one of the 4 watches approved by NASA for space travel --although only the Rolex Speedmaster is approved for use during space walks. (The GShock can handle vacuum but space walks also experience wide temperature swings -- extreme cold in shadow, high heat in sunlight)

I once put my GShock in a bucket of ice water and left it outside overnight in freezing weather. The next morning, I broke the crust of ice that had formed and pulled the watch out. The LCD was clouded over --but then cleared. Other than having gained a second of time overnight, the watch worked perfectly.

The G-Shocks are also favored by the military -- as well as by ..er..other people who need to set timers:


Anonymous said...
I have an earlier Casio stainless G shock with many of the same features. Arguably, these are the best watches made. Still great after 5 years of solar power and water exposure.

I recently met with a USAF fighter pilot who is part of a watch collectors group. He brought a case of nifty pilot-oriented watches..Breitling, Rolex, Omega, a new brand-Bremont, other expensive self winders I've never heard of. I asked him which one he wore in the cockpit. He laughed and said that, while he and other pilots owned these watches, they all wore Casio G shocks while flying because it involved a lot of banging around in the cockpit and they knew the Casio would be fine but they weren't sure about these other watches! LOL.


Nolan said...
Did you have any problems with you Citizen Titanium? I have the same watch and have not noticed any issues at all. Then again, I haven't put it through any kind of test besides every day wear for a year or two (I can't remember exactly when I bought it). All that I have noticed is one scratch on the face that I can't get to go away, but it is nothing serious.
June 22, 2010 1:39 PM

Pretty interesting comments, thanks guys.
Nolan, no, not a single problem with my Citizen Titanium EcoDrive. I’ve had it for over 10 years and the battery still works and charges as its supposed to.
No torture test but a lot of daily use, meaning a lot of shooting too while wearing that watch.

The only problem I have is that I find my Citizen to be a bit TOO nice. It looks good, its sort of expensive these days and I just like it a lot, wouldn’t want to lose it get it stolen, or get into trouble because of it. Its pretty elegant, never found the exact same model on Ebay or Amazon. This one kind of looks like it, but mine doesn't have the digital display:
Citizen Men's JR3060-59F Eco-Drive Titanium Skyhawk Chronograph Watch
Citizen Men's JR3060-59F Eco-Drive Titanium Skyhawk Chronograph Watch

I believe the Casio is even tougher than the EcoDrive, so it will serve well. Not hard on the eyes either. Heck, I think I got a watch that is too nice to wear around here again. :-)


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father’s Day Gift: Casio G-Shook Black X Solar Atomic

This is what I got for Father’s day. Also got a coffee cup and mouse pad with the traditional I love you dad thing, but the watch, its pretty cool.
Casio G-Shook Black X Solar Atomic GW2310BD-1

Besides the typical features found in these watches, this one is solar powered and fully charged it can work for 10 months without further exposure to light. I can only imagine being down in a bunker for that long, heck even then you’d be exposed to some indoor light and that charges the watch as well. Its also atomic so it can be set to automatic multi-band atomic timekeeping.

This is a limited edition and, besides looking awesome, it has a gold accent circle in the display, and the wristband is stainless steel, black ion plated. I liked this because I’ve already had several Casio watches that ended up with broken synthetic wristbands, even lost a watch once this way. Seems that due to sun, chlorine or whatever, the wristbands breaks sooner or later.

I also have a Citizen Titanium EcoDrive and it has been working for over 10 years without changing the battery thanks to the solar power. I expect at least twice as much from a rugged G-shock, and its cool not to worry about finding batteries to replace every once in a while, likely ruining the waterproof seal in the process.

Very survival-minded type watch: Tough design, no batteries to replace, no plastic wristband to break and not that shiny or eye catching but still looks nice when you look closely.

Very happy with my Father’s Day gift. 


On Religion and Survival‏... And Ham radio


I purchased your book and read your blog "religiously" (so to speak) and I had to chime in on the religion topic.

First of all, I consider myself to be a radical, gun toting atheist.

I think you may be regretting the topic has come up at all, it's one of those things that seldom draws rational responses from anywhere. First of all, the nonsense about "you must have religion to have ethics" is just utter nonsense. One of the most poorly thought out arguments ever conceived. Especially when you consider how many of those who *have* religion have no ethics. Crime rates aren't any higher amongst atheists than theists, etc.

I might suggest an approach for you in handling the blog. It's just a suggestion that you may take or leave.
When people try to drag religion into any debate, you may just want to reply with, "we won't go down the religion road. Bring me science."

In other words, whenever the R word is brought up, come right back (in a friendly way) and ask them to please provide Science instead. Following that path will lead to much more constructive, intelligent and well thought out responses/posts/etc.

Just my friendly advice.


p.s., Get that Ham Radio license yet?


Hi Ray, thanks for your email, you’ve approached the issue respectfully and for that I am thankful. No, no regrets man, I do as my heart says. :-)

As I said on the post, I’m worried that there’s an attack on Christianity and Catholicism in a deliberate attempt to destroy traditional family values. There are of course good people out there that are not either one, that doesn’t change the premise though.

Keep in mind that not everyone totting the “I’m the best Christian ever” mantra actually follows that. Seems there’s more than enough survivalist or otherwise crazy cults out there, specially in USA, and they all claim to be true Christians themselves. That’s why I like Catholicism in spite of all its problems, it sort of gives you a standard of what to expect from people. You go to a supposedly Christian survivalist gathering and you end up finding a weirdo going “yes, we’re all Christian here… and I’m His true prophet…” … ok… and you walk away slowly… :-)
Not even want to get into all the families destroyed by cultist brainwashing, only to pluck them clean of their money and property.
“When people try to drag religion into any debate, you may just want to reply with, "we won't go down the religion road. Bring me science."”

That’s what most bloggers do, or they just don’t allow any form of debate regarding these issues. Even bloggers that claim to be very Christian, they wouldn’t even allow such a discussion to take place, never really break a spear for what they supposedly believe in. (heck, they don’t even allow comments of any kind)
I’m never going to say that, because given what I believe in, it would be cowardly to hide behind that only to stay in a safe spot where I know I’d never “upset” anyone.
The right marketing strategy to get the most readers is to never discuss politics or religion. If you do it you risk losing some readers, but again, that’s just not me.
About politics, we discuss more often and its important to fight socialism and totalitarianism every possible way. If you think it doesn’t affect your life just read the couple older posts about just that and how its affecting schools in Spain.
About religion, it’s the first time in as long as I can remember that we touch this issue, talking about this once a year isn’t exactly a lot. I said everything I had to say, so did the opposing views, so we’re not going to be discussing this again any time soon.
This blog is about survival and preparedness, and that’s what we’ll go back to talking about until I feel discussing others things are relevant again for whatever reason.
As a matter of fact I have like three pages of mails and several other posts that I need to upload.

p.s., Get that Ham Radio license yet?

Ha, there you go already. No, not Ham Radio yet. I did buy a Handheld Scanner (400.000Mhz to 470.000Mhz ) and I like it a lot. I found the local 911 dispatcher, Ministry of Security and a couple local PD. It was nice to listen for a while to all the stuff that never gets shown on TV, but at the same time it got pretty grim after a few days to notice the lack of empathy with which they talked about people that had been shot, corpses they find, and so. I knew the situation was worse than reported, but it does you no good to listen to it all day.
It is a valuable tool though to gather information about what’s going on when the TV channels aren’t reporting the truth. With the new K media law passed, I can see how this will happen soon. Those media channels that aren’t playing along with the K government, they’ll just get censored.


You might need this‏

Hey Fernando,

Check out this link (click here).HM Digital COM-100 Waterproof EC/TDS/TEMP Meter

As you said, "Water comes before firearms, medicines and even food."

Here is another link to the same product (click here).Hand Held TDS Conductivity Meter

The second link has the following review:
I own a commercial water testing laboratory. This is the best portable conductivity meter I've ever seen and it has a very reasonable price.

Hi, that's pretty cool, I didn't even know these water testers even existed.
I found this other one that seems to be another good alternaitve for testing water quality.HM Digital Pocket Size TDS Meter TDS-4 Water Quality Tester
I'm not sure if it detects all sorts of micro organisms but it must narrow down nicely the sort of purity of water you are dealing with or how effective a filter actually is.
Product Description:
A TDS tester that's ideal for all water purification applications, wastewater regulation, aquaculture, hydroponics, and colloidal silver. Perfect for both consumer or commercial use. Carry one in your pocket at all times! .. The smallest and lightest TDS meter on the market. .. Sleek design is perfect for personal or consumer use. ... Hold Function: saves measurements for convenient reading and recording. .. Auto-off function: the meter shuts off automatically after 10 minutes of non-use to conserve batteries. ... Measurement Range: 0-9990 ppm. From 0-999 ppm, the resolution is in increments of 1 ppm. From 1000 to 9990 ppm, the resolution is in increments of 10 ppm, indicated by a blinking 'x10' image. ... Factory Calibrated: our meters are calibrated with a 342 ppm NaCl solution. Meters can be recalibrated with a mini-screwdriver.
Thanks for the tip, I didn't know there was something like this out there.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Travel restrictions in an economic collapse‏

Hello Ferfal,
You mentioned in your book and blog that it is a good idea to have country B and C ready to move to in case country A (the one you are currently in) goes into trouble. Also you mentioned about getting European passports for yourself and your family.
What about those who can only get passports of their home country (country A)? Based on your experience in Argentina, did this group of people (native Argentineans) face difficulties in going overseas during the economic collapse. I imagine the government would want to limit the efflux of brains and money out of the country. I am sure the elite would have their ways to get around such restrictions (if any) but what about the man in the street?
Thanks for answering.

Hi Ken,
Interesting question and sorry for the delay in replying.
Those of us that had our passports ready could travel more easily, those that had to ask for visas or apply for citizenship had a hard time.

My grandpa, a pretty smart man, he made sure we applied for our Spanish citizenship “just in case” and took us himself when my parents where to busy with other things. I was about 18 years old at the time, and I remember we just walked into the embassy, we had no lines to do, no waiting. A few years later, specially after 2001, people would form lines that went around the block, some waited for DAYS to get their applications in and get information. You see, anyone can leave a country, but what do you do for a living when you get to your destination? Having the citizenship ensured that you would find a descent paying job, at least in those days.

Of course the most extreme case is just closing the borders but that’s pretty extreme. It can happen of course, but it’s a more far fetched situation. A much less controversial measure is to just make it very, very hard for you to leave: Expensive tickets few can afford in the first place, taxes if you intend to take with you anything that could be considered of artistic value. Making you wait for months until they issue you the Argentine passport needed to leave the country, “loosing” it after shipping it to you. All that ensures that the amount of people that actually manage to leave are pretty few indeed.

That’s why I recommend having your passport, possible locations and other plans for leaving the country ready BEFORE things get that crazy and everyone is trying to do the same thing.
For college students, ask for reports of your grades every year in case you want to leave after SHTF and everyone else is asking for the same thing. How about your cell phone? What do you need for it to work abroad? Ask those things now. What would you need if you where planning to leave? Think of what you would need now and work on it while you have the time. Even if you never leave its good mental practice getting your ducks in a row will make things easier if you ever have to leave for real.

The man in the street as you say, he had a much harder time. First of all, he didn’t have enough savings to leave in most cases. Even those that had some, they couldn’t take it out of the bank, and when they finally could, they only have 25%-33% of what they used to have. Plane tickets kept their international price in dollars, so they went up in price accordingly. 

If average Joe had EU citizenship, he was the luckiest guy in the block. Those that had a father or grandparent to get it from, they were lucky but not nearly as lucky as the guy that had it already. Those guys had to wait for years before they got their because everyone suddenly started the paperwork to get it and the offices couldn’t handle that much people. Other just went with a tourist’s visa and stayed there illegally afterwards. Those guys were always worried about being deported and working for less than minimum wage because of their illegal status.
Get busy now, just in case.


America and Christianity Reply: Survivalism, Socialism and Catholicism.

Jan said...
@Serge Truth "Christianity is not just a religion, it is a way of life. Take it away and you get people turning to drugs and sex to give their life meaning."

Hi Serge!

I don't think Christianity isn't the only valid way of life. (and it certainly isn't the only religion)

I'm an agnostic and don't do drugs. The sex is nice but doesn't harm anyone. I work for a living.

What gives meaning to my life is learning how to be self-reliant, trying to make the world a better place and helping other people.

Not everybody needs to be afraid to go to hell to be kind to others.

@FerFAL "you end up with 50% of the population working and paying taxes to sustain the other 50% that spend all day skateboarding and actually working at screwing the interviews they go to so as to keep collecting unemployment"

I agree that this is a big problem in Spain. But Spain is one of the more catholic countries in Europe and yet the other EU countries aren't worse.
Systems can be abused and should be adjusted to eliminate blatant abuse. That this situation is tolerated suggests neglect from those in power. Politicians don't like to take unpopular decisions, but when the money runs out they will have to. Economic reality is catching up with them in 3... 2... 1...


June 21, 2010 3:30 AM

First of all, let me say again what I’ve said before, but apparently some people aren’t getting it: I’m not saying Catholicism and Christianity are the only acceptable forms of lifestyle or religion, what I’m saying is that Christianity and specially Catholicism, their values and the idea of a Christian family, are currently under attack. Mocked, ridiculed and even said that its just a fantasy that never existed in the first place because under the happy family picture dad is really gay, mom is a cocaine addict and the Goth kids sleep with each other.

The problem is that the silly mass seems to believe that things just happen on their own, that as if by magic they are going to have a perfect family and when they don’t they look all surprised. No family IS perfect, you MAKE it that way with commitment, self sacrifice and discipline and a lot of love. The love part is much easier said than done, and in today’s world where people believe sex and love are the same thing they don’t even get that part, let alone sacrifice and self discipline.
All of these things, you will be hard pressed finding in a place like Spain. Spain USED to be a very Catholic country, but you go that wrong, its not any more. 

The last couple times I went there, I saw its getting worse. During religious ceremonies you only see a handful of very old people (the old conservative catholic type Spain) and almost no young folks.
Today in Spain, its all gay pride parades, cheap philosophical discussions on TV talk-shows as of why you’re pretty much an intellectual if you do drugs, and 40 year old teenagers sewing their parents because they’ve got tired of them not having a job (ever) and wanting to kick them out of the house. The parents are of course the bad guys, because a 40 year old slob is supposed to stay in his room all day playing videogames.
Its no coincidence and its been an ongoing process since the socialists took power. 

Approved by the European Council in 2002, and enforced by decree 1631/2006, public schools in Spain now teach something called “Education for the Citizen” (Educacion para la Ciudadania). Supposedly to promote a “Free, fair and tolerant” society. Truth is, this class promotes promiscuity at a pre-teen age, homosexuality as a choice, the practice of masturbation in classes with children as young as ten years old, and intolerance against Catholicism. Think this is crazy? It gets even better (or worse): These mandatory classes, in public schools, not only teach ten year olds how to masturbate, they even have Sex Shops from Madrid as special guests to introduce the children to various “sex toys” for them to use. Recommended reading by the Ministry of Education in Spain? “Ali Baba and the 40 Fags”(Ali Baba y los 40 Maricones) I’m not making any of this up, you can google it all up though most of it is in Spanish of course. According to the Ministry of Education’s website itself, it’s a “fun comic of the adventures of the daily life that occur in an apartment building in today’s Barcelona, mostly inhabited by gays”.

How about the austerity during tough economic times? The Ministry of Equality spends over €800.000 to research various masturbation techniques to teach to the kids, including a “Clitoris map” that cost taxpayers € 26.000. The Church is of course against all this but does not have enough strength to change anything. Catholic Spain? Maybe 50 years ago, but not any more. 

My parents have been living over there since 2002, and my mother in particular used to find all the liberal BS funny. I never did. I didn’t like the socialist liberal combination one bit and I saw it as a recipe for a weak society and poor family values.
When a family fails, sometimes catastrophically with a kid killing himself or others, what happens? They blame the gun, an inanimate object. That would be like blaming the printer for a bad novel. They blame the TV with all the violence, or even better videogames. I’ve watched all of the Friday 13 and Freddy Kruger movies by the time I was 6. Sure I had nightmares but I didn’t blow up my school. My son played Grand Theft Auto since he was like four, he watched 300 with me on TV, curiously enough he’s a lovable little seven year old. Bloody movies, videogames, and guns. Oh, I’ve took him to the shooting range too, by the way. According to the media experts he should be a freak of nature. But he’s not, because he has a close, loving family, a solid emotional foundation. Instead of blaming guns, TV and videogames, why don’t these people look at themselves in the mirror? That’s where the problem really is.

When mom and dad use their jobs, shopping or the gym or any other excuse they can think of so as to be home the least amount of time possible, that’s where the problem lies. Going out for dinner with friends every free night instead of being home, because they can’t stand their own children, that’s the real problem. But its easier to blame inanimate objects, games and movies which kids already identify as a fantasy at an early age anyway, its better to do that than to take responsibility for their actions.

I’ve been thinking a lot about all this since yesterday, why its something that I believe in so much and why did I write about it here. Religious issues? Yes, I’m Catholic, but I’m not the type that goes to Church every Sunday, not by a long shot. I do respect the Church, and yes I’d ask a priest if I ever need advice from someone other than my family. I’ve done it before with excellent results. Not because a priest is a booth between you and God like the anti Catholics promote, but because they are basically well educated people, with similar beliefs and most of all with a lot of experience in helping people with problems of all kinds.
But why here, why in a place where we talk about survivalism? Because these are all emotional weaknesses, and having an adamant will is the core to a proper survival mindset, not only for emergencies and disasters but for life in general.

The lax Spaniard society, the “everything goes”, self centered and self pleasing people I saw ( with a few exceptions as always) is a very poor reflection of what it once was. My grandparents were hard working, sacrificed people with a backbone, not the metrosexual wimps you see today. You see them at the sales in clothes shops after Christmas and man, its hard to tell the men from the women, they are starting to dress alike. Maybe it’s the thirty years of South American machismo view of what a man and women should be, but the women there are more masculine than many of the guys and the guys are far too feminine, even the ones that aren’t gay.

Are these people ready for what’s coming, for what’s already happening over there? No they are not. Even my mother, who couldn’t be considered a prepper or survivalist in any way, told me yesterday “People here aren’t ready for what’s coming. They don’t understand and they are not used to it like people are in Argentina”. Its not that Argentines are better than Spaniards, but people in Spain are so damn spoiled, I completely understood what she was saying.

Sorry for the rant, I just wanted to say this before moving on to something else. When I talk about mindset, a lot of what I mean has to do with this. You certainly don’t have the right mindset if someone’s greatest concern in life, specially a guy’s, if combining the right Manolo shoes with his tight trendy pants, or when its socially accepted that a twenty something year old guy spends all day smoking pot with friends. That’s not the right mindset, not at all.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

America and Christianity

Out of all the emails you published about the Tea Partiers, you chose NOT to publish my quotation from Sinclair Lewis. The U.S. is under siege from crazy religious fundamentalists who would change the country so as to make Argentina look like paradise. It's starts by equating the U.S. with god, then patriotism with god, then the U.S. with Christians, then non-Christians as un-American, then non-Christians as tools of the devil. The separation of church and state has been an extremely important principle in America that is now at risk from the Christian Right.
I would caution you to be aware as you move here to look carefully at the agendas of various individuals within groups, if not the groups. I don't trust Tea Partiers any more than I trust Republicans or Democrats and I've been here 62 years. I certainly don't trust anyone who brings religion to political causes. The Catholics have been trying to take away abortion rights here for years.

Hi Steve, I dont remember your exact comment but I did reject several emails that were against tea parties, some more rude than others. I apologize if yours was well articulated and not insulting.
As I said before, I understand that people don’t appreciate receiving that kind of comments through their feeds, for them its just a waste of time, and I can see how it would bother them to receive such comments in their mails when they are registering to my blog, which is clearly conservative. Think of it this way: You join a vegetarian website, do you want to receive emails through it on how to butcher a cow and make a wonderful “asado”? I love asado myself, yet I would understand why that person would not appreciate those emails.
About one nation under God, I think its pretty self explanatory and in spite of religious freedom I think it would be better if people just accepted USA as mainly a Christian nation. 

If Christianity offends people so, there are other countries that have other religions as their main religion, practiced by the majority of people there. Just as an example, if an Islamic individual is offended by Christianity in USA, maybe it would be in their best interest to move to an Islamic country where that religion is more main stream. That’s what I would do.  If communists like Michael Moore are offended by capitalism and the American way of doing things, there’s always Cuba to go to. Why not sell his big fat American company and move with his millions to Cuba or Venezuela? I’m sure Chavez would receive him with open arms. He could then settle his firm there and when Chavez takes it over he would actually be living the communist dream for real. 

Why am I saying this and why do I think its important? Because if not you end up with stupidity like banning Christmas in schools and public buildings, people thinking that Easter is about chocolate eggs and pink bunnies and not having a clue of what it really means.
And why do I think this is this important? Because the family is the core of a society, and with all its limitations I think that the traditional Christian family is the one that holds dear the values I cherish the most.
I’m not asking everyone else to agree with me or do as I do, but I am demanding that they don’t attempt to DESTROY it either, and unfortunately that’s what happening in today’s world.
The traditional Christian family is mocked as if it were a joke, even something that only existed in sitcoms during the 60’s , something that was never real to being with. Catholics priests? They are pedophiles, all of them. That’s what the media feeds us isn’t it? Funny thing is, I went to a Catholic university for several years, we did more charity there and helped a lot of extremely poor people in some of the farthest away corners of the country. (Salta for that matter, a place of extreme poverty in spite of what BS real estate developers like Doug Casey may say) 

You’re wrong about the current religious situation in Argentina. Since the Ks took power, they’ve been methodically attacking the catholic Church, like good socialists. The methods used are similar to the ones applied in USA: Media campaigns, the spreading of every single bad thing they can dig out about it, never mention any of the good things they do, mocking their traditions or down right banning them so as not to “offend” others. 

Soon enough you receive “happy holyday” letters or even more repugnant “Happy Xmas!” ones, lets be careful not to offend anyone with the word “Christ”, God forbid. (the irony)
And then people wonder why you have kids that consider Marilyn Manson a god (or even more evil, Miley Cyrus :-) ) Why a normal looking guy from UK becomes an Islamic fanatic and tries to bomb his own home town, why a kid goes to school with a gun to shoot people. In the good old days when those evil Christian families and their values where the norm, kids practiced target shooting in their schools and you didn’t have a massacre every week. In my school, they shot with 22LR and 7,65 Mauser, no one ever got shot.
You think America is at “risk” of becoming extreme Christian? 1) Why would that be a bad thing? 2) Its becoming more atheist, socialist big brother new world order, not conservative Christian.
“The Catholics have been trying to take away abortion rights here for years.”

Well, at least they are trying, hope they succeed one day. And I hope that abortion stops being a “right”, to become only a “necessity” in the most extreme case. By the way, why don’t you call it what it is, maybe you’ll see how wrong it is if you use the right words: The right to kill an unborn child.

Hey, I want to start a campaign, the right to kill people that listen to boy band crappy pop music. That at least sounds less ridiculous than the “right” to kill babies in their mother’s womb.
Other than killing a baby to save the mother, what gives you the right to kill a child? Today, most women getting abortions aren’t rape victims or women that need it for life or death medical complications, but slutty girls with equally slutty and liberal parents that are to self centered and spoiled to avoid bringing a child to this world in the first place. “oh, but the right of the brat to be a careless whore!” What about the right of the baby to… gee… live?
But I forgot, unborn babies don’t vote. Hmm… interesting approach, millions of stupid parents and equally stupid kids that represent millions of votes versus babies that will be killed anyway and translate into a grand total of ZERO votes, lets make the idiots happy, doing the right thing be damned.
I remember one time I was walking down a boulevard here in Buenos Aires, two girls holding hands were walking ahead of me, to one side. Dressed in black clothes, face full of piercing and goth makeup and hair cut covering half their faces. One was telling to other “I hate her, she has one of those “perfect” families.” I couldn’t help thinking, “Dear, you really could have used one of those.”
And people sometimes wonder why we live in such a sick society.

Today is Father’s Day here in Argentina. I was woken up by my kids and wife, opened my presents.
One of the cards was written by my wife:
“My love: Happy Father’s Day! You are the best father a child can have. I wanted to thank you for everything you do for our family, for protecting us and caring for us with love. I love you Fer, happy father’s day- Laura”
My one year old son wrote a card with a bunch of circles inside, my wife swears that “daddy” according to him. My seven year old boy wrote me another one, inside he drew one of those horrible perfect families. You know, the kind that you see in nightmares and would mean the end of the world if there was more of them.

Take care people, happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

EDC Fighting Knife


I have another candidate for an every day carry knife for defensive use.
The knife is the Boker Jim Wagner Reality Based folder.
It is not made to use as an ordinary knife.  It's purpose is purely defensive.
It has an ultra sharp point that penetrates very, very well.
It has a serrated recurve blade for viscious cutting ability.
Jim Wagner Folder, Black FRN Handle, Serrated (B-BO051) Category: Miscellaneous Knives
When I first saw it, I dismissed it as a gimmick.
Once I understood what it was for I bought 2.

Take a look.  You might like it.



Hi L,
It's not a gimmick and it has been around for several years now. It has, as you describe, several fighting worthy features that make it a better than ordinary knife for fighting.
The narrow tanto tip would be excellent for penetration AND making a good wound profile.(gets thick quick, so it creates both a deep and wide wound)
The recurved edge works as you describe, it "catches" material in its concavity and forces it into the edge of those serrations, becoming a much better slashing weapon than ordinary blades of similar or slightly longer lenght.
I like this knife and I'm actually ordering one now for a hands on review. I do know enought about knives to say that, unless there's some freak quality issue, this knife is very good for its intended purpose. The handle is generous, well proportioned, and those finger groves will help have a better weapon retention.

I will say though, even if I think this is a very good weapon, I like the Cold Steel Vaquero even better. If you analyze it, it has many of the qualities the Jim Wagner knife has, and its almost twice as big (3.25" vs 6") if you go for the largest model they offer, the Vaquero Grande, which is the one I carry. A mean Nogales tip that penetrates well, recurved "S" serrated blade too. The handle isn't perfect, a bit thin for my taste, but it pays off in ease of carry for such a big blade.

A 6" blade or even the 5.5" blade in the Extra Large Vaquero, that's hardly an inch less than a 7" full sized Marine K-Bar knife!... Folded in your pocket! and in spite of the size I can carry it all day in my front jeans pocket, foget about it until I need it.

I've been around knives since I was 10 years old. This  is the first time I've seen people used to guns and knives take a step back when you bring this thing out. It is very impressive, capable of lots of damage if used with enough skill or determination.

Both knives are at the top of the game for defense knives, at least in my opinion and what I look for in such a knife. Will the JW Boker knife get things done very well? I dont doubt that, I just think that the Vaquero can do even more damage given is brute size.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Times Changing and a few other thoughts

In reply to "Doorstep bank raids plague cash-loving Argentina" post,
Anonymous said...
I stopped at a U.S. Walmart on the "not-so-good" part of town at 10:30 p.m. When the cashier held my 100 Dollar bill up in the light to verify if it was real or not, and again with a fifty for good measure, I felt as if every eye at the front of the store focused on me. It got real quiet too, I think you could've suddenly heard a pin drop. I've had a cashier check my money before, but the crowd never reacted before. Even the cashiers acted nervous. I half thought, I might have to run, WTF? Just played it cool tho, even when I saw the loud freaky people, who were pushing a shopping cart through the store yet were leaving with nothing, at the same time I was. It wasn't much but I exited through the opposite doors.

I was shopping monthly, I think I'll try shopping more often, get less, and man was it reassuring having a sharp knife just in case, some of the characters in the store were big, or shifty (and more importantly - in groups) and all around just plain freaky - WAA-KA!.

The stuff I learned in your book, on this blog, it's like a can of instructions which pop out when you need it like one of those surprise paper snakes. "You're doing this idiot, you know not to do this, so now do X to compensate, be quick about it."
June 12, 2010 11:30 PM

Thanks. There’s things that you may read in my blog and my book that at first you don’t think much about but later on as things change they make more sense, pieces of information that suddenly come in handy later on.

Money getting checked is something we do here all the time, specially with 50 and 100 bills. I do it too so I’m not offended when other people check my money as well. Its just the way it is.
What I do is stay calm, check the money, and then smile back and say good bye have a nice day. It’s nothing personal, its just that there’s a lot of funny money around here so you have to make sure.
What I found interesting in your comment is that the situation itself made you uneasy. That happens a lot and we tend to let it affect us. You feel self conscious about turning around to check your back when your instinct is telling you to do so. “But what will the person behind me think if I suddenly tunr around and stare at him!?” is what our politically correct subconscious tells us and we are often stupid enough to listen to it.

Picked up money that you thought you should check? Better not, I might offend the person that just handed it to me. These are the things you later end up regretting. You have to learn to listen to that gut feeling instead, and learn to let go of the stupid self consciousness that tries to suppress it. As usual, thisisn’t just about survivalism, its good advice that works for everything elsein life as well.

Getting used to say “no” more often, for example. We are brainwashed since we are born by TV, school and most people around us, that you have to be good, but the politically correct version of good extends to more liberal connotations that include weak and eager to please. People will most often say “yes”, even before thinking, just because its the nice thing to do, what pleases others. 

A “no” may not be as popular but its stronger and in many cases it leaves you space to ponder the situation better. When in doubt, get used to saying no first instead.
How many girls have been lured by rapists, asking their victims for help? how many older, good natured folks, have been manipulated into opening their door to strangers that tricked them with some request to which they agreed?

Being so damn nice all the time has cost people their lives, has cost others losing their money to various fraud schemes.
Nice is over rated if you ask me. :-)

Take care,