Thursday, September 30, 2010

Saddleback Bag‏

hi ferfal,

you posted a picture of your traveling gear, including the saddleback messenger bag. could you tell me what size, model, and color it is? it's the coolest bag i've ever seen and i want one. it's hard to tell the exact color and size on their website.

thanks in advance,


i bought your book and check your blog everyday. you're doing a fantastic job.

Thanks a lot Peter.
Yes I get that comment a lot regarding my bag. It looks pretty nice. :-)
The small nicks and scratches give it more personality even if they can be easily removed with some leather grease.
All that gear fits into the Saddleback medium briefcase in the upper right corner.

Saddleback leather motto is “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead” and there’s probably some truth to it.
Mine is a dark coffee brown briefcase. Medium size, the smallest one they have. These briefcases also convert into backpacks using the strap and the rings attached to it.
Please trust me on this (Saddleback says so too): Don’t buy the L or XL models unless you’re a very big guy, (+6 feet high quarterback big, not state champion pie eater big). Even then I’d advice you not to go for the bigger models. Saddleback briefcases are the toughest leather briefcases in the planet, but that comes at an expense. The leather (of excellent quality) is easily twice as thick as an ordinary bag. This makes it very rugged but also very heavy.
 A Dark Coffee Brown Leather Briefcase, Backpack, Handbag "They'll Fight Over When You're Dead" (Medium) 
A Dark Coffee Brown Leather Briefcase, Backpack 
The medium size is just about right. You can fit a laptop, some documents, bottle of water, survival kit and other goodies you might be carrying. If you’re smart about it, you can fit everything you need in there. A bigger briefcase would be heavier and fully loaded all but impossible to carry all day.
I took mine to my trip to USA, kept it with me at all times. Excellent bag, can’t recommend it enough.
A Dark Coffee Brown Full Grain Leather Thin Briefcase (Medium) "They'll Fight Over It When You're Dead" 
If you’re a smaller frame person (or just prefer to go lighter) , you might want to consider their thin version instead.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reply: Keeping multiple currencies in cash‏ and Hyperinflation


In regards to your post about currencies and cash.  I think it's fair to assume that gold is demonstrating the erosion in buying power in currencies, and as gold's value goes up, currencies are going down.  With that in mind, I recommend viewing this blog post: http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2010/09/is-gold-us-dollar-phenomenon.html
We are witnessing a change in world economies and it's happening globally.  Stuffing loads of cash (even in multiple currencies) into a mattress is a losing proposition long term.  It's probably a good idea to have a little cash stuffed away, but know that it's eroding in value every day/month/year.  Right now, gold and silver is by far the best alternate currency to keep your money in as witnessed over the last 20 years.  Gold and silver are currencies just as Swiss Francs and US Dollars with the important distinction that there's no government that can produce it at will.  That is why, at this moment, it is the currency of choice.  A word of caution: Don't be married to a gold position either.  There will come a day when gold as a  currency should be cashed in and exchanged for something else, but that day, unfortunately, seems pretty far off right now. 


"Black Six"

Anonymous said...If the USD goes down it will quickly pull the Euro and the Pound down with it. I agree that Asian currencies, especially the Yen, may be a better bet. I don't trust China to act rationally when it comes to the Yuan, so I'd stay away from it.

The Euro has too many problems to be a go to currency in case of a USD collapse. The British Pound was at one point worth more than the Euro in relation to USD (L2=$1) but I think the financial system of the UK is too closely linked with America and the PIIGS.

I think that the Euro has become the counterbalance of the USD, at least that's what I think based on these last few years where the Euro has gone up as the USD went down. Granted, its not some satelite country so the "Euros only" signs arent likely to show up in US. Yet who knows? On the other hand precious metals are an even safer bet since you know that no matter what if everything goes to hell they will not only retain its value but probably go up a lot.

Did you guys read the link I posted?
LINK on how will Hyperinfaltion look like in USA

This guy makes a lot of good poitns and talks about silver reaching 100 bucks per ounce if SHTF and then USD goes down. I think its a good, down to earth estiamtions of an event that could occur in the a year or two. 
Another good piece from that link, a quote by Baron de Rothschild: “Buy when there’s blood on the streets.”
 The author of the linked article mentions a person making a fortune after the socioeconomic collapse in Chile, buying USD 3.000 worth of blue-chip company stocks. It made him a millionaire when it rebounded.

This may be your case when it comes to real estate, so keep an eye for those dirt cheap properties if the economy collapses.
Another quote from him:
Even in the midst of Apocalypse, things will get better. “
I’ve said that several times, life just goes on. It is not the end of the world, so if you prepare for the world to end, it will end indeed… For you! You will be mentally convinced that the world is always about to end, and on the physical world the decisions you will make will cause you financial ruin, planning for a reality that will never take place!

Again, read the article. The economic collapse of Argentina had a similar behavior, so write this down somewhere:
When the Argentine economy collapsed, and the stock market went down, some people bought. It kept going down. People some bought, others sold. Then the economy collapsed, we defaulted and the president freaking resigns!! Then the next president resigns in the next couple days. Hell REALLY breaks loose in the country, looting, etc. Even the most optimistic speculator sells when this happens sure that there world, at least when it comes to Argentine economy, ended. This is when you SHOULD have bought. People that bought then, at the worst moment when everything was a mess, those guys multiplied their investment by 12x. Not crazy profit but this is Argentina. In USA I’m sure you could make some ridiculous high profit buying stocks after the economy collapses.
Now guys, remember this is high risk investment. Don’t come back crying if the particular company you bought disappears from the face of the Earth. Yet opportunities abound, and usually this is how rich people get even more rich; buying stocks and real estate when the economy goes to hell.
Take care folks.


Comments Policy?

Is it your policy...to routinely refuse to post comments that you don't agree with?  It's your blog and I respect your right to do so, but I want to be clear on the point so I don't waste further time writing comments that never see the light of day.

Two days ago I left a comment on the video showing a cop versus an ex-boxer.  From the tone of your remarks to others, I'm fairly sure you have the knee-jerk reaction most people do of supporting the police at all times - no matter what. 

Without obscenity or any sort of personal attacks I wrote a very contrarian comment centered on the point that the police officer was man-handling the suspect initially for nothing other than speeding. 

Hence my question:  Do you routinely just dump comments from those you don't agree with?

Short answer is no, I dont. My blog if full of comments that disagree with what I say. Right now for example, I'll be reposting and commenting on a comment regarding the Euro not being a good idea since this reader believes it will go down with the dollar. I believe that the Euro will go up as the dollar goes down, so his opinion is the exact opposite of mine yet I think we can all learn from the different views and opinons.

 I want to make this clear; as long as its respectfully written and intended on making a point rather than insulting or with an agenda that has nothing to do with the topic, I post every comment. Comments on politics explaining why capitalism is the work of the devil and communism/socialist is an utopia, or religious ramblings on why we’re all going to fry in hell, I wont post those either, and I do get them form time to time.
Of course, spam with advertising links gets caught by the spam filtering program, and I dont post insults or ramblings either. You'd be surprised, but sometimes people clearly write under the influence of drugs, alcohol, maybe they are mentally disturbed but the comments make no sense whatsoever. Those I reject so as to not disturb the subscribers with trash.
When cops posts come up there's often cop bashing. I've written and experienced cop corruption in ways you can't imagine, yet I believe cops are indeed the thin blue line between thugs and the good guys, specially those that can’t defend themselves. Cops in USA are nothing like the ones we have here. They don’t demand you money every single time they stop you like it happens here. Police officers in USA,(there's always exceptions of course, but in general) are people doing their best to do their job right. Its not exactly an easy job or a very well paid one. They often put their lives in risk do they deserve a minimum amount of respect for what they do with their lives. Yes, even if there are minimum amount of corrupt cops, the good ones sure deserve that.

One of the cop comments I erased, maybe it was yours, said that cops are worse than ordinary gangs members. Cops worse than gang bangers? If I were a cop, I would feel very insulted by this, rightfully so. There another police shooting video that I will post soon. The police officer simply gets shot to death because he can't bring himself to shoot the man he believes to be mentally disturbed. That man left a daughter and pregnant wife. Same thing when people insult those that serve in the military, I simply dont post those either. I know good people, some I consider friends, that serve in the military and they wont read any of that bashing in my blog, same goes for police officers.
If your comment was the one saying cops are worse than gang members, then that’s my explanation. I think you’re the one with a knee jerk reaction, mostly because you assumed the worse. The boxer you see being man-handled is a prize fighter (different from boxer mind you) and he’s mentally disturbed and had not been taking his medications. I assume the attitude and verbal exchange between the two, combined with reckless driving (how would you feel if that guy runs over your kid while driving his bike?) was enough for the police officer to consider him a threat and try to handcuff him as quick as possible.

Final note regarding videos. I post them to analize the outcome of a real world encounter. If in doubt about wasting your time or not writing a comment, ask yourlsef if you're questioning the role of the police officer or studying the confrontation objectively as a self defense situaiton to learn from.
Hope that explains the policy I use for comments, and that you understand what others (cops and military that read this blog ) may feel about them. Their usually not the sensitive type that will write complaning about feeling insulted, but they will get the respect they deserve in my blog. 


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Self-defense Recommendations for Women?‏

Hello again:

I'm currently in the process of going through your book (with a pencil to underline everything important), and I peeked ahead to the section on self-defense for women.  I'd been wondering about this topic for a while and I was wondering if you had any more specific recommendations, especially per my particular situation.

Now I have to admit up front that I'm not much of a natural athlete and I'm not in the greatest shape.  I recognize this is something I have to work on a lot, probably more than the other areas of my preparedness plan.  I'm not so bad that I'm out of breath after going up stairs - I can hike for about four miles on hilly terrain, lift moderately heavy boxes, etc. - but I certainly don't yet match your description of a person fit enough to take on SHTF.  Also, I know absolutely nothing about martial arts and thus would not be able to tell if someone was selling me trash in that area.  In the past I've also been prone to the "I don't need to learn how to fight because I have a gun" attitude, which your book and blog successfully showed me was incorrect.

So since I knew that I needed get myself into a women's self-defense class, I went online and started to look for local classes.  And apparently, women around here don't need to defend themselves, because I could find next to nothing (at least close by).  Most of the classes / schools were in the major cities ~50 miles away, and of all the remaining options, I'd say about 75-80% of them were just karate.  Since I knew you generally recommended something more mixed than that, I decided to keep looking.  Also, 90% of them were very guy-oriented, and you had said that women need an instructor who specializes in training women.

One of few remotely promising options I found was this site:  http://www.abdct.com/womens-classes.html.  Like I said, I honestly can't tell whether or not something is worth my time, and there's not really anyone I know who knows enough to ask.  Does this guy look good to you, or is this more "martial arts BS," as you say?

Another option is a local group of karate schools where two of my guy friends got their black belts.  Like I said before, these don't appear to be as mixed as you recommend, but it's still out there.  I also remember reading on one of your self-defense posts that you weren't into the mental/emotional stuff in karate/taekwondo, you just wanted to learn how to fight - that would be more along the lines of my thoughts as well.  Link:  http://www.gabrieleskaratekickbox.com/welcome/

I also have no idea how much any of these options will cost.

I don't want to become a professional fighter, I just want to be able to handle myself if I have to, like you say.  I can see plenty of non-paranoid reasons to take a self-defense class, economic collapse or not.  Just for starters, the current rape statistics on American college campuses (25% of female students being the victims of rape or attempted rape).  Those odds aren't comforting to say the least, so it sort of amazed me that there weren't more classes.  Basically, how do the above options look to you, and do you have any more detailed recommendations for women's self-defense?


Hi Katy,

First, allow me to apologize for not answering sooner. Seems that every time I spend a bit of extra time doing something else email gangs up on me and I’m a month behind replying.
It’s good that you are seeking ways to improve your ability to defend yourself.
While you mostly see relatively young, fit guys in defensive shooting classes and training, the truth is that women and senior citizens are the favorite target.
Put yourself in the bad guy’s shoes: Who would you rather chose as a victim?
My description is somewhat ideal. Its understandable that we’re not all alike, we’re all different people, different bodies and lifestyles. The important thing is knowing your limitations but at the same time not be afraid of some self criticism so as to improve those things that are within your power to do so.
I can hardly think of anything more boring that 30-45 minutes on a stationary bicycle, yet I do my best to drag myself to one when I go to the gym.
Being strong and fast is important though. Not only for fighting but other situations as well. Something as simple as running away from all sorts of threats is within our genes, yet so many people wouldn’t be able to run if they had to.
Some time ago my wife was with my son, shopping in the centric part of town, perfect normal day, about noon, lots of people walking down the bullevard. All of a sudden she heard shots and she had to run with our baby inside a store. Someone had tried to rob a store and started a gunfight with the guard. Its just one small example but I guess you understand my point. IF you have to evacuate your city on foot for whatever reason you also need to be able to do so, the amount of stuff you’re fit to carry will tell how much of the much needed gear, food and water you’ll be able to take with you.
The first link, ABD, that seems to be a god combination of martial arts and practical self defense. There’s nothing wrong with martial arts in itself. The problem is that as time went by its has become less and less “martial” so to speak, to the point where  it is often not nearly as good on the streets as some people may be led to believe. As I often mentioned, some of these classes do all they can to avoid something very natural in a fight, which is getting hit.
Check this out, from the FAQ in that same website that says they train you “for the real thing”.
Will I be getting hit? No. Our classes are very SAFE. We use pads, shields, and safety equipment constantly, and the injury rate is VERY low.
Most people do not want to get hit. Some are down right scared of it. In a competitive combat sport or martial art, this occurs naturally when you compete, against someone that wants to beat you. The downside is that some of these martial arts aren’t focused on self defense and leave important things out.
I would still chose the first one, since it seems more self defense oriented. Train as much as you can but always remember, you really don’t know how good or bad you are until you fight against a partner that really wants to defeat you. Its better to get hit in the face with a glove in the gym than getting punched for the first time bare knuckle in a fight for your life.
Its not a bad idea also to cross train. If you get into karate you can learn a lot, and its specially valuable if you don’t shy away from sparring sessions.
Whatever it is you do, know that its FAR better than doing nothing at all. Remember that you need to train at least some with a non cooperative partner, don’t fall for a false sense of overconfidence (which most defensive schools will try to push) and never forget that your main objective is self defense.
Also keep in mind that you have weapons available. Knives can be terrific defensive weapons id you invest a few classes on knowing how to use them. Knives require physical strength and if you don’t know a few basics it can be taken away from you much easier, so don’t overlook some minimum training.
Delica 4, Purple FRN Handle, Plain
The Spyderco Delica is a fine choice when it comes to a compact, defensive-capable blade, both for men and women.

Consider yourself lucky, knives that can be easily purchased in USA and other countries are banned or seriously restricted in UK and other European countries. Take advantage of this opportunity. I got my wife a (purple :-)  ) Spyderco Delica. Its scary sharp, solid and easy to open.
Take care Katy.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Keeping multiple currencies in cash‏ and Hyperinflation

I received an email a couple days ago regarding the wisdom in stocking up different paper money currencies. The reader asked how much sense it made to do so and if it was a waste of time and space. That’s a good question because often survivalist and preppers think they are doing this savvy move by storing this or that, by having certain items or products to trade, when in reality the likeliness of that event occurring of such an item gaining the value you expect is rare.

For example, other than gold and silver, stocking coins and other items because of their metal speculating on a huge increase in the price is not something I’d waste my time and space. There’s a reason why they are not “precious” metals. Better buy gold and silver rather than trying to guess what people may want to barter.
Now, I have recommended having some Euros just in case. If you feel the need to stock any other paper currency, then stick to Euros alone, something every country will want if the USD ever collapses. Specially if you plan on moving to some other country when SHTF, the Euro currency will come in handy, and readily accepted. Its smart to stock up on gold and silver, and it is safer than Euros or any other kind of paper money, but as we saw several times already you need cash the first couple of weeks during the first stages of the collapse. When Chile’s economy collapsed the word on the streets was “only USD” if you wanted to buy in the black market. Something similar went on in Argentina after its economy collapsed in 2002, prices where often in USD and people traded pesos for USD even on the streets. But if the US dollar collapses? Expect most people, even in US, quoting the European currency price instead. Is the Usd likely to collapse? Don’t think so, hope not, but know it may turn out this way if it does.

This link has some pretty good info on how an American hyperinflation would be like. The author mentions his experience during Chile’s economic collapse as well.

How Hyperinflation Will Happen

Hyperinflation, Part II: What It Will Look Like

Enjoy people, I’ll write some observations about these two links tomorrow, so it will make more sense if you already read it.

Take care guys.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Crime in the Country after The Collapse

I found this excellent article from 14 Oct 2002. It explains rather well the type of crime the country endured after the crisis and in many places still does.
Please don’t think this happens here because people are stupid/cowards/whatever. It happens basically because of extreme poverty and because there’s not enough money to put enough police out there. Combine those two and this will happen in your neck of the woods as well. Instead of falling for the “it wont happen to the good old boys around here” think about realistic planning to protect your property.


Crime gangs rampage on the pampas

Bands of thieves are causing havoc across Argentina's farming heartland as the country's cash crisis spreads, writes Sophie Arie in Arrecifes

Published: 12:01AM BST 14 Oct 2002


Luis Gerli scans the flat horizon of Argentina's vast pampas plains in despair. "All this space. You never know where the thieves will strike next. All you know is the police won't be there," said the 50-year-old farmer near the sleepy town of Arrecifes, 100 miles north-west of Buenos Aires.
Bands of thieves are causing havoc across the farming heartland of Argentina, slaughtering cattle, stealing horses and siphoning tonnes of grain from silos.

Farmers are left with only the heads, feet and guts of their £200 animals. They blame "delinquents" who slaughter the cattle in the fields, hauling off prime cuts on bicycles or in vans.
As Argentina has agonised through its worst economic crisis this year, isolated from world markets and crippled by debt, crime has spread from the cities to the once peaceful pampas, the size of France. This sea of rich grassland, crops and grazing cattle has turned into a kind of South American Wild West.
Farmers are carrying guns and local people report frequent hold-ups and gunfights with thieves prowling around corrals and silos at night. Ranchers have been killed, beaten and burnt alive in their once peaceful homes by attackers hunting for secret hoards of cash.
"Everyone has a gun," said Mr Gerli, who was tied up and beaten at gunpoint by a gang who stormed his house in February. "I have decided to be armed now. If I have to take someone out, I'll do it. No problem. You have to defend yourself."
In Arrecifes, two farmers alone have lost 37 cows in two weeks.
Last year, as the country's crisis deepened, 21,000 animals, worth more than £6 million, were stolen in the pampas, triple the number stolen in the whole country in 1999, according to the government agricultural security chief, Domingo Malagamba.
While some are simply stealing meat to eat, most are part of an increasingly elaborate black market network, cashing in on the countryside where the collapse of the peso this year has raised the values of grain and cattle. A cow hide worth 100 pesos in Argentina can be exported for more than £60, nearly four times its peso value last year.
With the price of grain rising on international markets, many farmers prefer to save their crops in a silo than put pesos in the country's crippled banks. But sophisticated gangs siphon off lorryloads of grain to sell on for export.

Ingenious thieves in the northern province of Santiago del Estero even took a lorryload of cattle hostage recently, demanding a ransom for their return. Locals say thieves take orders from local butchers or large-scale exporters before raiding the fields.
Police complain that they are short of staff and cannot afford the petrol or torches to chase the "delinquents" around this open space. But many say the police themselves, who earn £70 a month, are part of the problem.
"Everyone knows who the thieves are," said Fortunato Chiapparra, who farms in Arroyo Corto, 425 miles south of Buenos Aires.
"The police force needs a clean out, no question," said Hugo Ali, the police chief of Arrecifes. "The problem is there are people who join the police because it's easier to steal and you're less likely to be caught." Only two per cent of crimes end in a prison sentence. "There's no real justice in this country," said Hugo Machetti, representative of a farmers' association in Pergamino, in the north of Buenos Aires province.
"They catch the thieves one day, and the next morning you bump into them in the street." Yet prisons are full to bursting point and 15 new ones are planned. The province of Buenos Aires, where around 70 per cent of crime takes place, declared a prison emergency this week, saying it would house overflowing prisoners temporarily in freight containers.

The pampas have always provided Argentina's riches, earning the nation its reputation as the bread basket and the "meat capital" of the world early last century.
Argentines now stand aghast as poverty and hunger affect more than half the population in a country that continues to produce more food than it can eat.
President Jorge Batlle of Uruguay described the people of his larger neighbour earlier this year as "a band of thieves". Many believe that an endemic rule-bending, profiteering mentality has helped to reduce a naturally rich land to an economic disaster.
"Finding ways around the rules is a national pastime," said Sylvina Walger, a sociologist. "There is no structure in Argentine society to make people resist temptation."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gunfight video: Why you need H2H skills too.

So here we have lots of good lessons.
1)       Pepper spray is used: Better than nothing but as this case shows, an angry, determined aggressor (specially one used to receiving physical punishment in fights) may not stop.
2)       The cop just can’t keep up with a bigger, stronger, more experienced fighter. He has no chance in hell. But he was well trained, he uses a hand create distance, draws and shoots as you are trained in CQC.
3)       But he does a mistake: He only shoots twice, the first time he actually misses! (that’s a lesson there for the I’ll never miss commandos)  and the second time he hits him in the abdomen. What he should have done is shoot several rounds, rotating upward, “closing the zipper” as its sometimes called. Notice he says “wow, I already shot him once. What is going to take to stop him?” No, no, no. NEVER expect to stop anyone with just once shot, or two for that matter. Fully expect to not see any results at all after shooting the bad guy, and keep shooting until the bad guy goes down.
4)       The gun jams as it often happens when shooting while fighting at contact range.
5)       The boxer takes away the gun from the cop, but its jammed and wont fire! Incredible, the armed cop is just about to get killed by the unarmed bad guy. This happens a lot. Around 10% of cops that get shot, get shot with their own weapons. Had the boxer known how to clear the gun (anyone with moderate training can clear that type of stop in a semi auto in less than a second) the cop would have been shot with his own gun.
6)       Had this boxer had any CQC training, he would have known exactly how to stop the weaker officer from even drawing his firearm in the first place But this man is a prize fighter, he didn’t take into consideration the weapon. This is a good example of why sport fighting alone isn’t enough for self defense, you need to take into account weapons, and someone that just focuses on H2H will not see this. In this case, a fighting knife would have been even better than the gun. With some training, the officer would have been able to cut this man up in several places before the fighter even realized that a knife had been brought into the fight. An adequate fighting knife would have been all but impossible to take away from the officer.
7)       … are you sure about carrying that little 22LR after watching this?


Thursday, September 23, 2010

IMCO Lighters

As I write this I see items all around me, all over my desk. As usual, its knives, books on different historic disasters, Foreign Enemies by Matt Bracken, glasses, pens, two pocket sketchbooks, flashlights and more knives. I’m sure it happens to you too. I tend to “collect” a number of objects, though my wife has a somewhat different, less polite choice of words for it.
Why do I write about these things? Because gear is important, specially what you carry with you at all times, and a source of fire is part of he sacred EDC triad fire-light-tool.
I’ve mentioned IMCO lighters a couple times and they are one of the most versatile ones in my collection.
I like my Zippos a lot an have been carrying one in particular for years. Lately, its staying home and an IMCO Triplex Super is finding its way to my pocket.
Why? Because they are extremely rugged and fuel lasts twice as much than in Zippos. (35 days versus 18 days, lit for 3 seconds every day with Zippo fuel)
You can also remove the fuel tank and use it as a candle or to start a fire.
My favorite one is the Triplex, the metal wind shield moved up and down, and doing so produced a larger or smaller flame. 
IMCOs are cool in their own way. They dont look ordinary, most people know Zippos but havent seen much IMCOs. IMCOs are made in Austria and the Triplex Super model was first produced in 1936.
Left to Right: Imco triplex Super, Imco Junior (old model) Imco Junior, Imco Streamline, older Flintop, Made in England.
IMCO Super Triplex and the old Flintop, doing thier thing.

Some advice

Before writing this I decided to clean my lighters up a little. I dropped a couple drops of oil in the mechanism and found out it wouldn’t spark afterwards. After a while I realized oil had found its way to the wheel and flint. I had messed up a perfectly working lighter trying to keep them in good shape. It works ok after washing it with dish detergent and water but the lesson remains. My advice with IMCOs is just leave them as they are. They will last entire lifetimes as is.

A couple tips…

1)       You often have more space in the fuel tank to add some more cotton. Fill it up better. You’ll get to keep more fuel stored in it.
2)       Using cotton means that you can also start a fire even if the lighter is bone dry. Just place some cotton inside where the wick is and open and close a few times, the sparks will ignite the cotton. This means you can start a fire in an emergency, at least three or four times if you use the cotton with discretion.
3)       Keep an extra flint in the fuel compartment where the cotton is. You usually use it up and be needing it when you least expect it. 


Meeting with blog readers

Guys, just wanted to remind everyone that, if by any chance anyone is visiting Buenos Aires and wants to meet for coffee or lunch, I’ll do my best to meet.
Sometimes its just impossible because of schedule or other obligations but more often than not I find a way to make it happen.
Today I met with a blog reader that was visiting here, and dude, I had a great time. As it often happens when two people talk about the things they like, time flies. Learned a lot, had a good time, can’t ask for more.
Take care everyone.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Class Warfare

Dear FerFal,
        I love your book, I bought it on Amazon after reading the reviews of others and it is WELL worth the price. Thanks for sharing your informatiuon! I have also been lurking on your blog site and have read alot of your responses to others' questions. I have a question (feel free to post it and your reply on your blog just leave out my e-mail address:) What has been your experience with class warfare? I recently read this article on yahoo http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/the-u.s.-middle-class-is-being-wiped-out-here%27s-the-stats-to-prove-it-520657.html;_ylt=Aj.E0oUJG2oToy1yP2zKPwdl7ot4;_ylu=X3oDMTB2ZGFtcDVwBHBvcwMyNARzZWMDY29tbWVudExpc3QEc2xrA25leHQ-?tickers=%5EDJI,%5EGSPC,SPY,MCD,WMT,XRT,DIA&comment_start=121#comments The rich and bureacrats here in the US are getting richer and the poor and middle class are getting poorer (and REALLY pissed) do you think that there will be any type of a French Revolution scenario? It doesn't seem like that happened in Argentina but here in the USA I think people are more rash, plus on average Americans of every social class possess tons of firearms. Thought it was something interesting to look at and would like your take on the idea. Thanks and God Bless.

Hi Jonathan, sorry for the delay in replying.
We do have the rich vs. poor fight here, but the difference is that most of the country is poor, the rich are very few, the ruling elite is even smaller, and the middle class is slowly getting extinct.
Rather than French Revolution (mostly about Monarchy vs. ordinary citizens) what I would worry about the most would be an authoritarian government, big brother on steroids. A large segment of society the society is now poor, and it changed the political scenario. Disgruntled desperate people that lost their jobs a long time ago and can’t find another one will often make the wrong choice when it comes to vote, specially if properly influenced by the media. Many politicians are counting on this, and this is exactly how dictators get voted into office. Socialist NEED the poor. They need them because without them who would they be “caring” for? This is a dangerous game to play because out of logic it means that socialists need to make sure the majority remains poor if they want to get the votes, and if there's not enough poor they'll have to come from the former middle class! 

Prepare yourself for class hatred in the coming years, more crime, and more senseless violence. The type we see here, where a bad guy shoots a 9 month pregnant woman after he took the money from her, just because.
Its common these days around the world to blame the right for everything. Commie is cool these days. Its cool to wear a “Che” tshirt, almost considered intellectual by the zombie liberals, the type that are so opened of mind that their brains fell off.
Words like redistribution, social welfare and in general terms the government being responsible for every aspect of people’s lives, along with the right to enforce what they believe you can or cant do, is what worries me the most.
When you hear the president of US repeating the same speech Peron once said, you know its not the direction you want things to go. 

The populist, empty speeches, the idolizing of political leaders, more concentrated on the way they look or how politically correct they are instead of understanding what they actually stand for seems to be the norm in today’s socialist, globalize world. Survival, preparedness, life quality and freedom has everything to do with this. Call me crazy but I’d rather have 1000 Americans voting with their heads on the next elections than having 1000 Americans know how to start a fire with a bow drill.



Thanks for the information. I feel like it is quite similar
here. A lot of big companies pay nothing, or even get money back
from the government.
Since I wrote I got your book in the mail from Amazon. I notice you
write near the begining to not homeschool your kids. I actually was
thinking about this. My wife was a teacher in a supposedly very
high level public high school here in Mass. which her younger
sister also attends. Her younger sister is supposed to be one of
the best students.
But I am continually shocked at how little her sister knows. Her
sister didn't know if Jesus was supposed to be a real person, and
whether Zeus or Jesus was around more recently. Since we have been
having economic problems, a lot of schools have been making massive
lay-offs of teachers and cutting various classes and programs. My
wife was laid off last year. One poor city near me laid off half
the entire teaching staff for the city last month. The high school
my wife was substituting at this year also had substantial lay-
After a real economic crisis/collapse wouldn't the schools become
quite bad?
Thanks for the book. I am enjoying it so far.

Hi JM,
I can’t tell people to homeschool or not, really depends on each family, the possibilities they have, even what kind of schools are available to them.
What I said in my book is that in a recession economy where both parents have to get jobs and somehow make money, you often see that they don’t have much of a choice in terms of homeschooling or not.
You might think that since there’s so much unemployment its better to spend that time homeschooling. That’s ok if you can make it on a single income, otherwise the other parent has to do everything he/she can to find a job and make money.
It also depends on the schools you have available. I send my kid to a private bilingual school that is pretty good, 8 AM to 4.30 PM, with an hour for lunch. He definitely learns more than any single parent could teach him, he also learns to be competitive both in sports and academic studies. He also learns to handle problems of kids his age such as friends, bullies, girls, adults, etc.
Regarding schools after an economic collapse, indeed, most of them are quite bad, specially public ones. Even the better private ones like the one I send my son to have violence issues and kids have to learn to defend themselves, which I believe is good for them to a degree. Of course the school policy opposes this 100%, but the schoolyard reality differs. Kids don’t stab of beat each other to near death like it so often occurs in public schools but fist fights are still common. My son is just eight years old and he’s already been in many (some pretty bloody), specially in the school I used to send him last year, which is the reason why I changed him.
This may freak out most parents, and it sure worried us, but we noticed a very positive change in him once he learned how to defend himself against bullies.
Its important for a child to learn how to defend himself from kids his age. The first time he left the class bully crying in the floor he was so happy. He gained a new level of confidence and totally changed his personality. Now he believes in himself more, he’s more cheerful, even has more friends. Even the bully told him if he wanted to be his friend instead of fighting. (what a wise decision :-)  )
If home schooling works for you by all means do it. Some people also hire tutors, specially when it comes to learning a second language.
My wife is a stay at home mom, and she takes care of out youngest son, so we don’t pay for daycare. We decided this mostly because she used to work in a dangerous part of town and we were pushing our luck with that. Her sister got robbed in a bank “saliderea” (robbed after leaving the bank, probably marked from within the building). The guy hit her, pulled her hair, dragged her across the sidewalk and left with the money with an accomplice in a bike.
You now see teachers losing their jobs, but starting an affordable private, nonsense school to where parents that work can send them will be a good business opportunity as the economy worsens and parents start looking for alternatives when they can no longer afford to home school.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Relocating to Uruguay?

Its no secret that survivalism, disguised under its more politically correct term “preparedness” is in vogue these days. Its been several years now since wilderness survival TV shows have caught the attention of the audience, combining entertainment with all important survival information such as how to properly drink elephant urine (or your own for that matter) and how to pretend to jump into a category 5 white water river, pretending to do it using your pants alone when you actually have a flotation device hidden beneath. Even something like pretending to sleep outdoors during extreme cold when the truth is that both survival expert and crew spend the night at the Holiday Inn has caused the death of people already. As the “end of the world” market grows, articles recommending one location or another without any logic to it are more and more common.

Funny enough, Uruguay is rarely mentioned or recommended. While 100% mainland dependant islands or 3rd world hell holes seem to be the favorite destination if SHTF for most freelance writers, this little gem goes unnoticed by many couch commandos. I already knew about Uruguay, have traveled there before an that’s why in my book I recommended it as the best alternative for relocation in South America. Chile is somewhat similar in terms of social stability but its more expensive, and lets not forget the little issue about being steadily sinking into the Pacific.
Last week I traveled to Colonia del Sacramento. I’ve never been there before and I liked it even more than Montevideo and Punta del Este, almost an ideal location for a survivalist.

What does Uruguay have in its favor?

Location is very much ideal if you want to be away from the main world powers. Usually this would be more of a disadvantage, but if you’re worried about powerful countries nuking each other, this is preferred. At the same its just an hour away from Buenos Aires in boat. I took the slower boat from Buenos Aires, the one that takes 3 hours, but the trip is very enjoyable across the River Plate. The Buquebus boat has a bar inside and a shop, kids have a good time in it. Strategically speaking, you’re still 1 hour away from Buenos Aires, the 7th largest city in the planet, and while crime is a problem here as well as every other problem Argentina has, its close enough to take advantage of the larger metropolis in case you need to buy items that are harder to find (or just more expensive) back in Uruguay. At the same time, river Plate being the widest river in the planet creates the perfect natural barrier. Even during colonial times, the rocky shallow shores of Colonia made it hard for invading forces. Buenos Aires can go to hell in a basket, none of that will reach Colonia.
Regarding supplies, ebay makes it easy to buy just about anything you need in terms of specialized gear.
Uruguay has a low population, 3.5 million inhabitants for its 68,037 sq mile territory. The people are 90% white of European ancestry, mostly Catholic, similar to Argentina.
Gun Laws. While nothing like the ones in USA, they are better than in most other South American countries. You need a gun license to purchase guns up to 9mm, and a collectors one for larger calibers. Like in Argentina, detachable mag fed rifles and carbines in calibers other than 22LR are impossible to get. But its not hard to get a Glock 9mm, lever action rifles, pump shotguns and bolt action rifles. Not perfect but you can still be well armed for 90% of the self defense needs. A carry permit is a bit harder but available for the law abiding citizen. Wish Argentina had similar carry permits. 
Water is more than plentiful. The river Plate and the other rivers make it ideal in terms of water availability.
Regarding food, Land is flat and fertile, Uruguay produces more than enough food. Agricultural activity is 10% of the country’s GDP, putting it in line with countries like Brazil and Canada, but with a laughable amount of population in comparison. Uruguay will be exporting 400.000 tons of beef in 2011. http://en.mercopress.com/2010/09/16/usda-forecasts-uruguay-s-beef-exports-will-increase-to-400.000-tons-in-2011
What does all this mean? That because of agricultural production, its rivers and sea, food is incredibly plentiful in Uruguay. This is all too important if you expect interruption in the import/export channels.
According to Transparency International, Uruguay is the least corrupt country in South America, along with Chile. This is also very important, specially for foreigners that don’t know the local codes of how corruption works in a specific country. You don’t want to relocate only to be beaten to near death and thrown in a jail. Happens often enough in Latin America, specially in anti-American countries, and Argentina’s government openly promotes leftist politics and Chavez like hatred towards US citizens. Crime in Uruguay is very low, safer than many American cities and an Utopia compared to crime riddled Argentina. 

Probably one of the most attractive things about Uruguay is how cheap it is to live there. Its among the top 10 cheapest countries to live in (10th posittion) , and according to International Living, it’s the best because of its life quality. “A first world country in Latin America” according to them.  Sure there’s cheaper, but do you want to live in Narau y Turkmenistán? In Uruguay you could even send your kids to a good bilingual school so they can one day go back to US and study in an American University if you wish so… or rent them an apartment in Buenos Aires across the river and send the to the public university almost for free… You simply have those options in Uruguay, and that’s terrific.

I liked the small town of Colonia a lot, the views are great the tranquility, the prices in the non-tourist areas. According to my tourist guide in Colonia, an average monthly wage is 300 USD. I found this to be rather low but I’m sure a family can live ok with 1000 USD, and couple could sure live well spending less than that. You’re used to a better lifestyle? You can go as crazy as you want in Uruguay. Punta del Este has beach resorts with homes that cost several million dollars, but you can live well for cheap too. That’s the beauty of it.
Between the ranches, country and beaches there’s lots of fresh air and outdoors activities all across the country.
The one thing I don’t like about Uruguay? Politically, they’ve recently elected a leftist, President “El Pepe” Mujica.
Banking is easy in Uruguay. Considered the Switzerland of Latin America, you can have a numbered account to keep your money safe (or as safe as it can be in the banking system)
Final note, anyone seriously considering visiting Uruguay, and wanting my help, feel free to contact me through email.
Take care guys.


Ironies of living in Argentina

On today’s news: Man gets carjacked, but its ok since he’s got insurances.
He goes to the bank, withdraws the insurance payment and gets robbed in a “salidera”, probably marked from within the bank itself.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fidel Castro on Guns (priceless!)

I Found this jewel in a Cuban, pro Cuban website, “Cuba Debates, Against Media Terrorism” (jejeje..)  But really, this is an original transcript from “El Comandante” Fidel Castro Ruz, January 8, 1959, after violently overthrowing the government.
I could hardly believe it when I read it since I never saw it translated to English, so I took the time to make the translation. This is priceless! I mean, it’s the best evidence for the pro gun case I’ve ever read, and directly from Fidel’s mouth himself. I mean, if you don’t understand why the population SHOULD be properly armed after reading this, there’s something very wrong with you.
Feel free to repost, just remember to link back to give proper credit for the translation. Enjoy!

First, good old Fidel shows a bit of concern about guns in the hands of civilians, after rolling into Havana after defeating Batista’s armed forcee. Remember, this is the original transcript of the speech he made at the time, archived in a Cuban website.

..."And all this I say, because I want to ask the people a question; I want to ask the people a question that I’m much interested in, so that they answer: ¿Why stockpile weapons illegally at this time? Why hide caches of guns in different places of the Capital? ¿Why smuggle guns now? ¿What for?
And I say that there are elements of a certain revolutionary organization that are hiding guns (The crowd cries back:”Lets find them!”) that are storing guns, and are smuggling guns. All the guns that the Rebel Army took are in the military bases, not one has been touched, no one has taken a single one home, nor has anyone hidden them; they are locked in the bases, same in Pinar del Rio, in La Cabaña, Camaguey and Oriente, trucks have not been loaded with guns to hide them anywhere, because those guns should be in the bases.
Y will ask a question, because talking clearly and analizing th e problems is how you resolve them, and I am resolved to do what I can to solve them as they should be solved: UIT reason and intelligence, and the influence of public opinión, that is the one that rules, not the use of force; because if I believed in the use of force, that problems should be solved with the use of force, there would be no need to talk with the population, nor bring up this problem, but go get those guns! (Applause)"...

This is so funny. The guy just took control of the country with the use of force (and those guns) and just hours later he preaches about talking to solve problems rather than using guns! (which he will take and keep locked for safekeeping) What a genius!

But he’s still worried about those “hidden guns” , so after a bit of more communist propaganda he continues:

..."Y will ask you a question: ¿Guns for what? ¿To fight against whom? ¿Against the Revolutionary Government, that has the support of the people?(exclamations of: “No!”) ¿Is it the same the magistrate Urrutia governing the Republic than Batista governing the Republic? (exclamations of: “No!”)
¿Guns for what?, ¿Is there a dictatorship here?(exclamations of: “No!”) Are you going to fight against a free government, that respects the rights of the people? (Exclamations of: “!No”)¿Now that there’s no censorship, and the press is entirely free, more so than ever before, and that it has the assurance that it will continue to be so forever, without censorship ever returning here? (applause) ¿Today, that all the people can gather freely?, ¿Today, that there’s no torture, no political prisoners, no murder or terror? ¿Today that there’s only happiness, that all the traitor leaders in the syndicates have been destroyed, and that there’s going to be elections in every syndicate? (Applauses) When all the rights of the people have been reestablished, when elections will be held as soon as possible, ¿Guns, for what? ¿Hide guns, for what? ¿To blackmail the President of the Republic?, ¿ To threaten to disturb the peace?, ¿To create gangster organizations?, ¿Are we going back to gangsterism? ¿ Are we going back to daily shootings on the streets of the Capital? ¿Guns, what for?"...

He's really worried about those scary guns!. :-) There a couple little pearls in the speech too:

...”We never needed the use of force, because we have the people, and besides because the day that the people just looks at us with a sour face, just makes a sour face alone, we shall leave. (Applauses)"...

After joke after joke on freedom of speak and how they would leave immediately if the people didn’t want them any more; there’s more anti gun propaganda. 

 ...“Guns must be kept in military bases, no one here has the right to have his own army”...

I think his speech explains beautifully why the people SHOULD be armed, to precisely avoid tyrants and dictators such as himself.

My next post will be about Uruguay and why it’s an interesting alternative for expats and as a plan B or C location. People have been emailing me about this and I’ll try to write a good post about it.
I liked Uruguay a lot during my visit and the more I read about Uruguay the better it looks.
Take care folks.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Gear when on the Go

As I mentioned before I'm in Colonia, Uruguay, right now. I'm packing to get back home and thought it would be interesting to show what I have in my bag.
The bag is a Saddleback briefcase.

Left to right, top to bottom:
Milka Chocolate.
Klean Kanteen
Tissue paper cleanex type
Safety Shades (a bit too dark for my taste, so I'm looking for a good alternative)
Iphone with Otterbox Defender
Asus eee 1005HA
Battery Charger
All in One Plug Adapter
First Aid Kit
Mora Knife 860 MG (stainless)
Leatherman bit Kit
Elite Tissues
Moleskine Pocket Sketchbook
Pencil (mechanic)
Fisher Bullet Space Pen
Sweedish Firesteel
Orange bag with survival/emergency kit
Mini Prybar
Emergency Cash
Spare 1xAAA LED flashlight (Fenix LD01 Clone )
Cold Steel Voyager Tanto (wasnt sure about local knife laws, so I left my bigger Vaquero behind)
Flat roll of Duct tape
Quark Mini123 LED
Eneloop AAx2
Case with AAAx4
Casio G-Shock Black X Solar Atomic Spare 123 batteries
Leatherman Wave (black oxide with clip)
IMCO Triplex Super
Eastpak Wallet

My keychain with Fenix LD01, SAK Minichap and peanut lighter was left in my jacket.
Gt to go, have fun people.

Oh, view of Rio de la Plata from the shore of Colonia:
 And FerFAL and mini FerFAL relaxing. :-)


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cash when SHTF, and other considerations.

Anonymous said...

    Now you're getting into some interesting territory.

    Many are calling for the USD to lose value, and yet there's this theme that having actual dollars in your hand will be a godsend in a panic. Kind of a dichotomy, at least on the surface. I'm thinking that it means that regardless of the bigger picture and what the USD will buy in International goods, in a SHTF situation people will go with what they know.

    And the fact is (like it or not) is that people are familiar with USD. So if electronic, virtual 'paper' money isn't available (hey, I just made a huge joke.... 'paper' money), real dollars bills in ones hand will be especially valuable.

    And yes, I am quite familiar with the argument for Precious Metals, in fact I am a proponent... however I can see a case being made that implementing a Gold/Silver backed system will take time, and in the heat of a panic real,dollar bills will be in demand for transactions person to person.

    September 15, 2010 10:21 PM

Indeed. Dont doubt it for a second. The first couple weeks or months, cash will be king. How long it be of use will depend on the type of crisis, but even in a fast devaluation collapse the fist week or so when banks close and everything is clearly going to hell, people emptying the AMTs and such, cash will be a godsend. I recommend one or two months worth of expenses in cash stashed in your house as a minimum.
If you combine cash with a strategic location to go to when times are uncertain, your toolbox of opportunities gets even more interesting.

I often recommended Uruguay as a plan B or C location. I happen to be in Uruguay right now.
With 1000 bucks you can rent a 200 USD/month condo in Colonia, and use the othe 300 to live ok. That means your 1000 USD gets 2 months wort of time if you have a go to bag ready, a pasport, and another 1000 bucks or so for a last minute plane ticket. Other locations may be closer to your country and offer similar bnag per buck. The important thing is at least knowing they exist and preferably visitng them once or twice to see how its like.

This brings us back to the Nomad,2nd theory that says you can work your way out of most problems if you have a gun, a bottle of water and 1000 bucks. 2000-5000 looks even better, and it doesn´t hurt to throw a credit card in that little stash, but the point is valid if you ask me.
I”d add to that the holy triad of EDC; a mutlitool, a good LED flashlight and a lighter.
If you have those six elements with you, you can face a broad specture of emergencies, and the money and credit card will probably be the most useful ones.