Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hobbit Hole Home

This little house is charming, energy efficient and cost only £3000 (and lots of asking buddies for help) to make according to the owners.

Houses surrounded and covered by earth are pretty energy efficient.
With a good design and smart choice of materials it could be a pretty safe place as well.
Check it out.


Losing Weight

"Even better, use cash instead and write down every single cent you spend on daily basis. I did this and I can’t begin to explain how it puts everything into perspective."

RIGHT ON THE MONEY, as usual.  Having said that, let me make a suggestion for those 100 lb over weight people.  It's actually exactly what you said above.

But -"WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING YOU EAT.  EVERY THING.  Then review it in thirty days."

You know how you had the epiphany about spending money by writing it down.  Try it with FOOD.  You will be shocked at how much JUNK we put into our bodies.  And I don't know about you, but I don't work the fields from sunrise to sunset and therefore DO NOT EAT THREE MEALS A DAY.  I generally just eat ONE meal a day.  Lunch.

Anyway.  Keep up the great work, as usual.

STAY SAFE, my friend.


That’s a good one Jim. Its absolutely true that writing these things down puts them in a new perspective.
Working out and going to the gym helps too. You burn calories and the more muscle you have the more calories get burned on daily basis by your own body. But just doing that alone will do little to get rid of pounds of fat if you’re overweight. You’ll be strong and feel good but the fat is still there.
 Probably the best tip on losing weight  I heard comes from something a famous actress said once, Jessica Biel. Her tip couldn’t be more simple but is effective: She just eats half a plate of food.
If you’re fat, unless you have a medical problem, the most common cause is that you eat too much.
Some people have a metabolism that allows them to do this, most folks don’t.
In today’s world food is cheap and plentiful, its unnatural, and people end up eating out of pleasure rather than true hunger, eating more than what the body needs.

If you’re overweight try just serving yourself half a plate and leaving the rest for another meal. Dieting some will do you good and you will soon see how cutting calories in half reduces your weight.
Another great tip often recommended: Since you’re going to be eating less you wont feel as full, but before sitting down to eat try drinking a big glass of water or two. Your stomach will feel a bit more full and what food you eat afterwards you wont be eating through it like a starving wolf!
Take care folks.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Reply: Home Invasion in USA

Anonymous said...
While I completely agree with your assessment that more Americans need to take home security more seriously, no amount of guns, physical fitness, or defensive training could have prevented this horrific incident. The article describes the man being beaten in his sleep, lapsing in-and-out of consciousness while tied up, and losing a lot of blood. There's no way in hell he (or any man) had a chance of fighting off the attackers or even making it to his gun stash alive.

Insinuating that this tragedy could have been prevented is quite insulting. Shit happens, even to the most logical and prepared.
January 28, 2011 9:52 PM

The idea of home security is to give you time to react. There's nothing you can do that will keep bad guys out of your home 100% of the time. With enough time and resources every single house can be broken into.
But how much time will it take? How much noise will they make? What alarms will it activate? That's the difference.
If you nap calmly with the windows opened so as to feel the nice breeze then yes, nothing you can to about getting hit over the head with a bat with by an intruder. We don’t leave doors or windows unlocked around here, not unless they have burglar bars which will take several minutes (and enough nice) to cut through. We don’t because these things happen all day long so no one even things about leaving doors or windows unlocked or locked with poor locks.
This tragedy could have been prevented with a moderate amount of concern for your home security. If bad guys can break into your home with such ease, then you have a problem you didn’t address.
I'm sure this man never thought this would happen to him. On the other hand I expect this to happen and plan accordingly. Its not an insult, its not his fault that some degenerates were out there looking for an easy victim, I never said otherwise. But don’t fool yourself into saying something as stupid as implying there's nothing you can do to avoid being woken up by intruders already in your home. If that happens then you didn't have an alarm activated, you didn't have dogs, and you sure didn't have a house that was difficult to break into.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Home Invasions in USA

So the horde of zombies, ex-convict raiders and city refugees are nowhere to be found yet things like these happen.
Yet for Dr. William A. Petit Jr. , his tragedy is of epic proportions none the less. Waking up to a terrible pain in the head and something wet dripping down his face, he was surprised in his home by home invaders. The man was tied in the basement, his wife Jennifer and 11-year old daughter Michaela raped. Both of them along with his second 17 year old daughter died when they were left tied to the beds, gasoline poured around them and set on fire.
 Dr. William A. Petit Jr.  barely managed to jump out of the flaming house and save his life.
This happened to a prominent Connecticut doctor, folks. It happened in an high end community, not some ghetto full of junkies.

Dr. William Petit Takes the Stand, Tells of His Family's Slaughter

Pleasant Day Ends With Rapes, Beating, Two Men Setting Conn. Home Ablaze

In dramatic testimony, a prominent Connecticut doctor described how he was beaten in his sleep and woke up face-to-face with two men who sexually assaulted, tortured and killed his wife and two daughters in a brutal home invasion.
Dr. William Petit, who took the stand Tuesday at the trial of one of the men accused of murdering his family, was the sole survivor of the 2007 attack. He told the court for the first time how Steven Hayes, along with co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky, allegedly broke into his Cheshire home, raped his wife and one of his daughters and set the house on fire.
After describing a pleasant Sunday leading up to the murder, Petit then told of a night of horror, beginning with the severe beating he suffered as he slept.
He said that around 3 a.m., "I remember I awoke in a daze thinking or feeling ow, ow, ow. ... Something warm was running down the front of my face. ... I saw two people standing in front of the sofa. ... (a) person who was walking said if he moves put two bullets in him."
Petit said the men bound his wrists and ankles with rope and plastic ties, and covered his face, then took him down to the basement, where they tied him to a pole. He said he went in and out of consciousness.
Upstairs in the house were Petit's wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit and the couple's two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11.
"I heard moaning and thumps. I may have yelled out, 'Hey!' Then he said he heard someone upstairs say, 'You are alright, don't worry it's going to be all over in a couple minutes.' It was a different tone, it was much more sinister," he testified.
Petit said he did not know the fate of his wife and daughters, but said he heard his wife in the kitchen tell one of the attackers she needed to change clothes and get a checkbook. She went to a local bank early that Monday morning and withdrew $15,000.
"I felt a major jolt of adrenaline and thought it's now or never. In my mind, at that moment, I thought they were going to shoot all of us," he said.
He then described his dramatic escape: how he managed to free his hands, and hop up the stairs, falling at least once, then finally making his way out the door.
"My heart felt like it was beating 200 beats per minute," he said, "like it was going to explode out of my chest."
Somehow, he crawled, then rolled to a neighbor's house. Doctors said later Petit had lost as much as seven pints of blood. He said his neighbor didn't even recognize him at first, because he was so bloody.
Then the neighbor called 911.
But it was too late for his wife and daughters.
The dramatic testimony followed the opening statements Monday of State's Attorney Michael Dearington and Public Defender Thomas Ullmann as Hayes' trial began in New Haven Superior Court.
Ullmann noted that Hayes told police that things "got out of control," and that Hayes' co-defendant Komisarjevsky said no one was supposed to get hurt, The Associated Press reported. Komisarjevsky is awaiting trial.
"It has been a very painful process to get to this day," Johanna Petit Chapman, Dr. Petit's sister, said outside court on Monday. "And although the pain will never end, we think of Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela every second of every day."
Petit and Hawke-Petit lived what seemed like a charmed life in an upscale neighborhood. Hayley, who was planning to attend Dartmouth College, was hoping to become a doctor and follow in her father's footsteps. Hawke-Petit had multiple sclerosis and the family was active in efforts to raise money to fight the disease.
In July 2007, authorities said Komisarjevsky followed Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters from a grocery store, returning later with Hayes.
Hayes, 47, was accused of sexually assaulting and strangling Hawke-Petit. Komisarjevsky, 30, is charged with sexually assaulting Michaela. The two allegedly tied Michaela and Hayley to their beds, poured gasoline on and around them and set the house on fire, killing them.
Hayes and Komisarjevsky fled the burning home in the family's car and were caught after ramming several police cruisers, authorities said.
Former New York Supreme Court judge Leslie Crocker Snyder said on "Good Morning America" today that Petit's words could provide the most powerful testimony of the entire trial.
"I've never seen a case like this," she said. "I just can't imagine what he's going to go through."

Both defendants have offered to plead guilty in exchange for life sentences. But prosecutors, seeking the death penalty for both, pushed for trials, defense attorneys said, forcing the state to revisit the unsettling crime and its lone survivor to relive it in the courtroom.
"We've already seen that the defense attorney for this particular defendant has already conceded most of the facts," Snyder said.
In a case like this one, she said, Hayes' attorney will likely seek to separate his client from Komisarjevsky and play up any aspect of his behavior that might garner sympathy from the jurors "to show that his client was less culpable, which is almost inconceivable in this set of facts."
Hayes' trial was delayed significantly after he was put into a medically induced coma following a suicide attempt earlier this year.
After a recent court hearing, Petit said he welcomed hearing the names of his wife and daughters in court.
"Most of the process tends to be one of depersonalization," Petit said. "I was actually pleased to hear their names to show it was personal, they were people, living people. They can't be there to give their side of the events."
Another drama, this one involving the jury, unfolded in the courtroom Tuesday, as Petit completed his trial testimony. One of the jurors complained out loud to the judge that he felt the prosecution was doing a poor job of presenting the evicence.
The juror said he was "confused by the presentation of the state's case and bewildered by what seems to be lack of preparation. ...The evidence being presented to us has no explanation and no contextualization. It's as though the state expects jurors to have prior knowledge of this case."
Superior Court Judge Jon Blue said he had never seen an outburst like that in 21 years on the bench. He compared it to going to the Boston Marathon and at the half-mile marker having someone complain about how the race was being run. Blue granted a prosecution motion to dismiss the juror.
On Monday, two other jurors told the judge they couldn't be fair or bear to see the graphic evidence photos, according to the AP. With today's dismissal, three alternate jurors remain on the panel.
If Hayes is convicted, the same panel will weigh his fate in the penalty phase. Once the Hayes' case is finished, Komisarjevsky's trial will be scheduled.

We live with nightmares such as this one happening here on daily basis. We understand it could happen to any of us any day, no matter how bright the sun shines, no matter how distracted we may be.
You guys are clearly not used to this. Its obvious because you don’t have serious locks in your doors, some don’t even close the door. Americans leave the back door opened, or with a little lock that could easily be broken with a screwdriver.
These incidents will continue to occur and become more and more common until you’re no longer worried about what you read online: You’re scared to death of what happened to your neighbor. Pray, it never happens to you.

This is why this blog concentrates so much on security during “normal” times instead of lala fantasies of shooting bad guys with your neighbor patrol while the wife and kids are safely tucked home. The battleground will be your living room with your wife and small kids spread all over it.
The only way to prepare for this is to take action now. Being serious about how pathetic your house may be security wise. Can your door be kicked down easily? Unless its specifically made not to, it can. Solid wood breaks none the less. As solid as your door may look, unless its reinforced with soldered steel on the inside , the hinges and doorknob along with the lock will fly along with wood chips and splinters when kicked or forced with a prybar.
I’m not even going to get into opened windows and the little weak locks some of them have. 

You’re the only one that can do something about it when these things happen. There’s no 911, no cops, its just you. That’s why you must be armed as part of your normal daily life and be skillful enough in the use of the weapon. Some thieves run when the 17 year old daughter chases them out of the house with a saucepan. You read about that and then “experts” talk for hours about how attitude is enough. Not it isn’t. It may be enough for some scareful pothead looking to make a few bucks for his net fix. The serious criminal will fight, and fight to win. The serious criminal will take the saucepan away from this 17 year old, rape her and kill her along with the rest of the family. You better be well armed, trained and determined. Here’s where training, caliber and ammo capacity comes into play. You’re in enough disadvantage as it is, dealing with multiple armed attackers. You don’t want a little .22 or 5-shot snubby to deal with 3 armed degenerates in your house in a fight to the death for your life and the life of your loved ones. You only have a chance if you are armed. This is why your handgun must be always with you. Make it part of your clothing, up to the point where you feel something’s missing if you put on pants and the gun isn’t there in its holster. You get used to it if you make the effort.
In Argentina we fully understand that these monsters are out there every day, doing this all day long as a way of life. They will chew your life to pieces and spit out what’s left.
Your response must be aggressive and decisive. There’s no negotiating no word-fu with home invaders, you just shoot them and keep shooting until they are no longer a threat. 

Your home security and self defense capabilities must be cemented together with an always on state of awareness. This is something you gain like it or not when living in a dangerous society. My 86 year old grandma isn’t armed, but she minimizes risks as much as possible. There’s lot of people here that utterly fail at being able to defend themselves but are very cautious when entering and exiting their homes, either through the front door or when parking in the garage, improving their general home security, installing alarms, burglar bars and security reinforced doors. Never opening the door to strangers, not hanging around the front door where they could be easily forced inside quickly by intruders. The constant state or awareness, being conscious of your surroundings, the people within your immediate perimeter and being on the lookout for potential threats is the only effective way to turn the surprise factor against these scumbags. If that day ever comes, you should come upon them like a lion. For that you must be armed at all times, trained and determined to unleash aggressive retaliation. 
Sounds crazy, right? Who wants to live like that? Well, in a few years you either learn to live this way or increase your chances tenfold of becoming another tragic crime story posted online. Its time to decide.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Economic Collapse Preparedness: What to do?

It was during that conversation with Ray a few days ago that he nailed me with that question.
We had been talking for about an hour about how things went down here in Argentina, the similarities, inflation, how “shopping carts” keep getting more and more expensive, how crime affects your lifestyle. But what to do? The person now gets it, the person not only understands the wisdom in preparing for disasters large and small but comprehends that due to the current economic situation, life in general is going to change from now on, unemployment, inflation, loss of life quality in general, crime. But now what?

Step One: Mental preparation

Anyone that knows a thing or two about survival will tell you that survival is 90% mindset. While I agree with that survival is about embracing a certain mindset, I know there’s certain basic “always” gear that you must have to get through some situations, and that no matter how much mindset you have a person with 100 pounds overweight and no physical conditioning whatsoever is not going to walk 50 miles cross-country during extreme cold weather. Mindset doesn’t change the material reality.
Yet I agree, mindset is the most important part and its your first step towards dealing with the “What to do?” question.
1)Accepting there is an economic crisis to being with.
My grandma says it to me sometimes “ Look Fernando, all these people in restaurants, going out for dinner. And then they say there’s poverty.” The false hope is evident in her voice. A couple blocks worth of restaurants and busy bars does not compensate the square miles all around it of poverty and shanty towns. A small number of people do well (there’s always that) but the ever increasing number of poor accepts no debate. If every year there’s more poor, if every year shanty towns or Hoovervilles grow, then things are not getting better.
This is step one for you my friend. Accepting there is a problem and you should do something about it.
2)Accepting that things are different from now on and acting accordingly.
This will influence every aspect of your life. From understanding that you may lose your job at any time to knowing you can’t foretell how much your salary will be worth (its purchasing power) 6 months from now. There’s no “normal” any more. You don’t graduate, get a job and live happily ever after. You study a career which you enjoy because you know you’ll have to be very good at it, maybe create your own source of income. You understand that from now on you will have jobs, lose them, get fired no matter how good you are, and at time be unemployed for long periods of time. You have to be mentally tough so that this doesn’t get to you, getting depressed makes everything much worse. Its understanding your kids aren’t safe anymore. You know you can no longer just trust them and let them make their own mistakes. Mistakes get teens killed here. You can no longer afford to be adventurous, get off the main roads you know. There’s places here in Buenos Aires where you simply will be attacked, lose your car, your clothes or your life. The GPS wont tell you this, you have to know the areas and the risks they represent yourself.
Getting mentally ready for tough times involves all this and much more. The way you spend money. Can I afford to go on holydays? Can I afford to leave my house alone, or trust the neighbor to keep an eye on it for me? Its like Homers lion repelling stone he bought from Lisa. Your neighbor “keeping an eye on your house” has worked so far because there was no real threat to begin with. Your neighbor can’t watch over your place all day and criminals aren’t stupid, they’re just evil…
Ask yourself what would you do if you lost your job NOW. What would you do for money? What kind of home business would you start? Who would you call? You should check now if that person can or is even willing to help. What expenses would you cut? All these things, people are much better off if they plan ahead. If you review your expenses its not hard to cut it down a hundred bucks or two at he very least. There’s people that pay for cell phones they don’t use, subscriptions to magazines they never read. Go over your bank and credit card statement and see which are needless expenses. Even better, use cash instead and write down every single cent you spend on daily basis. I did this and I can’t begin to explain how it puts everything into perspective.
Start saving money. Yes, in spite of the crisis. If you can’t save 5-10% of your income then seriously review your lifestyle and expenses, maybe your job isn’t paying as much as it should. What would you do if your bank closed today, if ATMs have no money? Let me answer that for you. You are screwed. Exactly. Have a at least a months worth of expenses in cash at home. This is what you use when banks close their doors and everyone is running around looking for cash, going to the next town to see if they find an ATM with money. As of today, I’d say that you should put 25% of your savings into precious metals. More if you don’t have physical investments. Understand that as you read this, the purchasing power of the money in your bank is going down. Gold and silver aren’t going up in price. It’s the dollar that is slowly sliding down. Don’t panic but understand this. That’s why commodities in general are going up. Its not gold, silver, coffee and soy becoming expensive. It’s the fiat currency losing value.
Every rational decision made from now on will go through this mindset filter. From parking on certain areas of the parking lot (close as possible for a quick exit) to the groceries you buy (nutritious, easy to cook, long shelf life) Your goal is to achieve to do this without even thinking. There’s also another factor that comes into play: Commitment. Talking is easy, even spending money isn’t that hard if you have it, but if it comes along with a time consuming and even worse, physical effort, that’s where the line is drawn between those that do and those that don’t. Will you have the willpower to start going to the gym and lose that extra weight? Both for your physical health as well as strength for self defense training? Working out will build up your immune system, improve your health in general, sure it will save you thousands worth of medical problems that come along with a sedentary life style. The benefits are too numerous. Dropping the junk food saves money and helps you lose weight, can you restrain yourself next time you go to the supermarket or stop for gas?
Survival mindset wont cost you a single buck, but it’s the hardest thing to achieve. Not just thinking a certain way, but actually reflecting that with your actions and change of lifestyle.
That’s step one folks.

Step Two: Physical Preparation.

1) Your Body: Your body is in essence your most important physical tool. Buying guns wont change your ability to defend yourself bare handed. Buying a fancy “bug out” vehicle wont change your running speed or for how long you can walk. When was the last time you walked until you dropped? Do you have an idea of how long can you walk carrying a bag (+ a baby?) until you can’t go any further? This is strongly linked to your willpower capability, but all the willpower in the world wont help you overcome years of sedentary life, lack of strength and cardio endurance. There’s no other option but training, going to the gym, running, spinning, and working on that which you wish to improve.
I know people feel tired just by thinking of doing all this. The key here is associating these things with pleasure. If you think of spending a couple hours in the gym as a torture session you simply will try to avoid it. That’s the most natural thing. Instead if you associate it with pleasure, and working out does release endorphins, you will look forward to it. Its no longer a torture or unpleasant time, and you look forward to it and try to make time for it instead of coming up with excuses not to do it.
Your Gear: For anyone getting started into preparedness of any kind, some basic gear is needed. My advice is to do LOTS of research, this blog has countless reviews and posts about it, just click GEAR on the topic list on the left column. After looking at what you need, buy quality, cry once and don’t make the all too common mistake of buying junk. There’s affordable quality, you don’t have to spend a fortune.
For the person just getting started into this, the best way to go about is categorizing your items. EDC (everyday carry) will be what you keep with you at all times (again, check EDC on the Topics list) Your home kit is what you keep at home, and it may include a “bug out bag” in case you have to abandon your home (which you do only when you must) another survival kit should be kept in your vehicle and work place.
My quick shopping list for someone that is just getting started would go like this:
Buy a Glock 17/19 and learn how to use it. If you’re not a “gun person” and plan on not learning other than the basic safety rules, (I don’t recommend this attitude) get a 38 Special revolver for last resource self defense. You wont know much, but at least when you have an attacker closing in on you and wishing you had got better training and a better weapon, at least you’ll instinctively point the gun in the bad guys general direction and pull the trigger.
Stock up on food and water: 6 months minimum worth of food, two weeks worth of stored water (gallon per person per day) , more is better. I didn’t make it top of the list because people are more likely to buy food anyway than a firearm. Man, just trust me you need both. I’ve needed both at a time.
Camping gear: This will include a tent and sleeping bags for emergency shelter in case you have nothing else. A stove and cooking kit for preparing food (stock up on fuel as well, even if its just fuel tablets or fire gel) a water filter (very important) backpack, big knife, Swiss army knife, Leatherman Wave mutlitool. Also LED flashlights, get at least three of these, can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be able to see. Research disasters and you quickly understand the importance.
EDC: At all times on you. A folding knife, capable of being used for defense as well. Make sure you at least get one class on how to use such knife if you have to. An LED light and a multitool. I strongly encourage you to carry a bag at all times which allows you to have a bit more gear. Maybe you already carry a backpack in school or college, or a briefcase or laptop case. Include a small bottle of water and be mindful of keeping it full, a shemagh or large handkerchief (many uses), flat roll of duct tape. A couple energy bars ( not those sissy diet bars but ones that have calories in it), A small first aid kit, including a face shield, collapsible respirator and roll of Celox gauze. Hope you never need to use it but may save you if you suffer severe hemorrhage. These items don’t take much space in your bag. If you don’t carry one everyday you might want to start.
Gear isn’t just about having, you must know how to use all of this as well.

Step Three: Gaining the Basic Skills.

If you truly understood the need to be self reliant as a matter of principle you’ll soon want to be able to know how to do things for yourself. There’s people out there that can’t change a tire, let alone fix a leaking faucet, know basic first aid, what to do with different types of penetrating wounds and hemorrhages. What’s a sucking chest wound? What’s happening in the victim’s body, on the inside? Is there something you can do, other than wait as someone dies in front of you, with simple things you carry such as a small first aid kit, some duct tape, a plastic bag and a pocket knife? How about defending yourself with your bare hands and the weapons you carry? Do you even have the mindset to carry a weapon or do you still think that is over reacting? Perfectly normal people carry a gun every single day and there’s nothing wrong with it. In fact, with the crime levels already becoming common in USA, it’s the smart thing to do. The bare bone basic skills you should cover are first aid, self defense and defensive/evasive driving. Take basic or beginners course on each and specialize as money and time allows. There’s of course lots of information on line, but its no replacement for face to face instruction and hands-on practice. First aid classes provided by the red cross are free, though you want to learn how to treat more serious wounds, hemorrhages, penetrating wounds and fractures, this will cover gun shot wounds as well. As for firearms, again, you can’t learn to do it just by reading, it’s a skill that must be acquired through instruction and repetition. Occasionally there’s free classes by some well recognized schools. Even if you have to pay for it, its one of those things you just have to do and its well worth the money. Defensive driving is a bit more difficult to come by since its not as common, but you must know what to do and how to react when chased, attacked by carjackers or dealing with an angry mob.

Quick list:
1) Sit down and read this once again.
2) Go out now, or as soon as possible and buy the essential basics I mentioned, start with the gun and a couple boxes of ammo. Cross your fingers and hope you never need it. Don’t worry, if you buy a Glock you might as well buy gold, its not going down in value any time soon. Stop coming up with excuses for not having one. If that’s a concern for you, a gun vault or gun safe is still affordable and no one will have access to the firearm.
3) Go buy food, canned, long shelf life. If you want to start a garden knock yourself out but the thing to do right now is to have a supply of food. You’re not throwing a single cent away with this, you’ll end up eating it anyway. In fact the same canned food you buy now and eat 6 months later is likely to be more expensive.
4) Don’t forget the basic emergency supplies, including a stove and fuel, tent and sleeping bags, first aid kit, water filter, LED lights and lots of batteries.
5) Get some money out of the bank and keep a cash stash, put 25-50% (your call) into gold and silver. This %, is the only thing I can guarantee you’ll be saving if the economy collapses. Silver is a good alternative if you don’t have enough money for gold.
Once you have these basics covered you can relax. At the very least you’re better off than 99% of the population and you can start working on other long term goals.
Take care everyone,


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Interview with Ray Gano

Hi Guys,  110ºF in Buenos Aires and I had to run some errands today.
As usual, there was a small amount of anti riot police close to Puente Pueyrredon in case there was trouble. The first time I passed by they where all carrying their shields and helmets. At least the second time I passed by they had left them in the truck and were under shadow. 

A few days ago I was interviewed by Ray Gano for his website Prophezine, and we talked about survival and preparedness for over two hours. Very nice conversation, lots of topics covered and I just know you guys will enjoy it.
Take care folks.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Review: The Original SOE Gear Cobra Rigger’s Belt

Since I started pistol self defense shooting I learned to appreciate a good belt.
The belt is an essential part of your system, the connection between you and your holster should be as solid as possible. If your holster is good but the belt isn’t then the gun will be nicely tucked in it but the holster along with the gun will move around, print, and a quick and clean draw will be impossible to achieve. This happens to people sometimes and they think the problem is the holster, but it’s the belt they should be paying more attention to.
For most of this year I’ve been using a rigger’s belt like other instructors do and learned to appreciate them. 

Riggers belt also have a V ring attachment point which can be used for emergencies where you need to be rescued. Anyone saw that woman during the floods in Brazil, jumping into the water and handing to a rope? Something like this can save your life and simplify the rescue operation. Is this likely to happen to you? Not really, but the way I see it why have something less capable when you can chose something better. Versatility is inherent to survival and preparedness and a belt that can be used to pull a vehicle out of the mud or used as an attachment point for rescue is nice to have.
While I liked the tan riggers belt that I have, I also understood why its called a “piss your pants belt” too. Such an embarrassing situation isn’t likely, but it does take some time to get it off, specially through the loops in the pants with the velco, and it also makes a lot of noise. Kind of embarrassing when people look your way in a restroom as you unbuckle. :-)

The Cobra belt solves this beautifully while keeping the benefits of the Rigger’s belt, so that’s why I contacted John Willis when I saw it on his Original SOE Gear website www.SOEtacticalgear.com

Original SOE Cobra Rigger's Belt

Cobra Rigger's Belt compared to ordinary Rigger's Belt

The belt was everything I hoped for and I just can't be happier. Now my “save your ass” belt is also a “quick and quiet” belt as well. Before anyone asks, yes, it fits most common jean belt loops and it is adjustable.
The belt is covered with the shirt when concealed carrying as this is also part of the “gray man” approach, not showing a “gun belt”. Still, among firearms enthusiasts and people you trust there’s a small bonus: Everyone concurs, the belt just looks awesome too. :-)
Contact John Willis at Original SOE Gear if you want a Cobra belt like the one pictured. Send him a tight fitting measure of your waist, the belt is still adjustable and you can adjust a few inches to fit your CCW weapon.


Defensive Shooting Considerations.

Your post on firing from inside a jacket pocket reminded of three points on shooting I rarely see mentioned.
First, warm climate shooters should occasionally practice shooting with winter gloves on.  Even balmy parts of the country get the occasional two weeks at 40 degrees, causing the unaccustomed to don heavy jackets and gloves.  It’s a shock to put on a pair of winter gloves and shoot for the first time.  Because you do not get the feedback to which you are accustomed it’s deadly easy to shoot yourself or someone else while your finger is still wondering “am I on the trigger yet?”
Second, many windbreakers and jackets have hoods with drawstrings.  I have personally witnessed two accidental discharges stemming from the drawstring getting into the trigger guard, and then discharging the weapon when the user shoved weapon into the holster.  Be aware of your clothing.
Third, very many people are myopic and wear glasses.  Yet, it is foreseeable that in a confrontation you may find your glasses knocked off before you can shoot, or before you really understand that you’re that deep in trouble. Rarely, however, do they shoot WITHOUT their corrective lenses.  A simple test:  take off your glasses and in low light look for the front sight.  If you can’t see it, there are two options.  One, to train with your non-dominate eye (assuming like many that you have one eye stronger than the other).  Two, train frequently to shoot without your glasses.

Hi Joe, excellent points, thanks for your email.
Your third point is something that concerned me a lot and I got surgery to fix it. As you say, fighting (that includes gun fighting) doesn’t go along well with glasses. I had +-3  in one eye and something similar in the other and let me tell you, you simply can’t perform safe enough or accurate enough with that kind of myopia. I know a lot of people that have much worse than that.
To this serious problem, I noticed also that glasses are perceived as a sing of weakness by predators. It may not be politically correct to say so but it’s the way it is. That’s the way the thug’s brain works. Give him two similar persons and he will go after the guy with glasses, at an instinctive/subconscious level he understands that individual has a small disadvantage.
Then there’s the entire can of worms of being caught in the middle of a disaster and having to depend on glasses (and not breaking them or losing them) so as to see.
I say it all the time, getting LASIK was the best money I ever spent regarding preparedness.



Thank you for your book!

Your experienced perspectives are meaningful to all of us.

I am especially mindful of your multiple exhortations to get certain things bought/stored NOW, rather than later.

You did something that few authors have the guts to do--you take a stand and you are absolutely unapologetic about it. I'm thinking particularly of your preference for Glock 9mm pistols. Surely, you were thinking of the vast majority of new preppers who waste time dithering around over the pluses and minuses of this manufacturer of handgun versus another one. And then, there is the dithering over what caliber ammunition to get.

The section that focused on bug out bags, fanny packs, etc. was especially useful, too. I'll be reviewing that at some length to double check what I have and what I may have missed. I know that one book cannot possibly cover all things of note--and that is why I have found your blog so helpful as well.

I did think of one modification that would probably be appreciated by the prepper community: Please consider an annual update for your terrific book. One model of a successful book that does this is the "What Color Is Your Parachute?" jobhunting book. With all of the new innovations that are introduced each year, it would be good to have your perspective on which new/improved products have value and which ought to be dismissed.


Thanks Hal for your kind email.
The Glock is the standard by which all defensive/combat pistols are measured. Does it have as much capacity as the Glock?(some do) Is it as durable/resistant to abuse? (none has been as expensively torture tested as the Glock) Is it accurate? (very) Is the gun as popular as the Glock, are parts, magazines, holsters and accessories as easily available? (not  many, the Glock is extremely popular) Is it as simple to operate? Is it as light? Maintenance? Ease of repair? Take all of these into account and the Glock simply wins. 

Add to that that most new shooters do very well with it, and they come in every common pistol caliber, the Glock is just impossible to beat as of today.
I don’t beat around the bush because I don’t want people to make the all too common mistake: They want a Glock but end up buying something cheaper. After 3 or 4 “cheaper”
guns they could have bought two Glocks with the money spent by then, and they still don’t have a gun as good as the Glock. This happens a lot these days because there are so many Glock look alikes, its easy to find something that is advertised “as good as” for a little less money. Do yourself a favor and go straight for the gun everyone in the industry is trying to imitate. 

Another common mistake is buying anything but 9mm as your first big bore handgun. You must have at least one 9mm (so that’s the first caliber you buy for your first pistol) because the price difference between 9mm and everything else is huge, and this matters a lot when you start training more and going to classes.
Revolvers are nice but ammo is expensive unless you reaload (and no new shooter reloads) and it takes only one handgun defensive shooting class to see the difference of capacity, speed and general firepower compared to autos.
That’s why I recommend the Glock 17 (or Glock 19 if you have small hands) as the best firearm for the new shooter interested in self defense.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dogo Argentino Rescue

 I've been reading your book and came across the part on dogs..I have a fairly large dog now and have been thinking about getting a new large dog. I've been looking for a breeder that does not charge an arm and a leg so to speak...the prices I've seen are about 2000.00 USD is there anywhere to find a dog for a more fair price that you might know of?

I got this message over Facebook but though other people may be in this same situation. The economic problem is a central topic of this blog, so saving money is an important part. At the same time, there’s lots of Dogo Argentino out there that need a home and are up for adoption or on the kill list in shelters, so you save money and help an animal as well.

These adoptions usually require a fee, but its not as expensive as buying from a breeder.
Be completely honest about your intentions when dealing with the shelter or person giving it up for adoption. Also, look for signs of abuse. Unfortunately a lot of scumbags use Dogo Argentinos for fighting and that was never the intention of the creator of the breed, Dr. Antonio Nores Martinez. If you have little experience with large dogs, and specially if you have small children, avoid adopting a Dogo that has been used in fights, shows signs of aggression and distrust. The Dogo Argentino is a hunting Dog as well as a family dog, so it shouldn’t show aggression to other dogs of the hunting pack let alone towards family members.

One more thing. If a Dogo Argentino is what you’re looking for make sure that’s what you’re getting. Seems that every white dog in America is a Dogo Argentino. Dogos aren’t white Pitbulls, they are not white Great Danes or white bull terriers. Dogos are completely white, the only (rare) exception being a black eye patch sometimes. That’s it. They also aren’t as big as great Danes, so that’s a tell as well. Research the breed and know what to look for. Once you see a couple dozen real Dogo pics you know how they should look. This is important because Dogos are extremely courageous. A Dogo simply wont cower away from a fight, even when stabbed or shot at, that’s why they often get killed when hunting, it just doesn’t back down. This is important if the animal is expected to fulfill a security role in your family. Any other dog that looks like one but isn’t really a pure Dogo Argentino may not have this temperament or drive. 

This is a working dog, not a toy for the kids. If you’re the kind of person that treats dogs as humans, this type of dog will be stressed, turn aggressive and probably try to replace you as the alpha dog.
If you are in need of a new dog, you can find a home for one of them and at the same time get yourself what in my opinion is the best, most noble dog breed.
These are the places you can start looking for one:

Please, call the cops on anyone using these animals for fighting and help preserve the legacy of this fabulous animal. Animal cruelty is bad enough, but its even worse when in doing so these idiots destroy what Dr. Nores Martinez spent his entire life creating.


Friday, January 21, 2011

"The Take" Documentary

Hello Fernando,

Been checking your blog with interest from time to time & recently picked up a couple of copies of your book on your Thanksgiving sale, one of which I gave to my daughter & son-in-law for Christmas.  Have enjoyed the good, practical information on both fronts.  I reviewed the book on Amazon under "xxxxxxxx".  So just a note of thanks.

As well, some time back as I was just starting to check out your site, I picked up a video at the library on the situation in Argentina, called "The Take", where workers took over closed factories & reopened them.  Admittedly, it was done by some Canadian filmmakers that tend to be on the pink side, but it was a rather interesting look at the way some Argentinians dealt with both corrupt govt. and business owners who seemed intent on shutting everything down.  I am a firm believer in the rights of the personal property owner, however from any perspective, the collapse was not a time for "business as usual". 

I'd be interested in your take on "The Take".  It would also be interesting to know what has happened to some of those companies in the ensuing years.



Moscow , Idaho

Hi O, thank you for your support and glad you liked my book.
I specially appreciate your Amazon review, thanks. For those of you that bought my book and liked it, a 5 star review at Amazon does help a great deal.
About “The Take” documentary, while I have recommended it and still do so as people have a better idea of what has happened here, and how ex president Carlos Menem’s  (also a Peronist like Kirchner ) helped destroy the local economy, I don’t support in any way the new age socialist/communist approach by the creator, Naomi Klein and her husband.
You can watch it on Youtube
"The Take":

Even in their website, http://www.thetake.org/, they refer to readers as “Dear Comrades”…
 I don’t support communism or any of if modern revivals and off spins. I think these folks would find it enlightening to live in Cuba for a few years, on a Cuban salary.  

Regarding your question. These companies don’t do well an sooner or later end up failing.
Particularly disappointing is what happened with the once famous Mahely air rifle and gun company. As a kid, having a Mahely .22 air rifle was the best thing that could happen to you. I plinked and shot countless birds with mine. Darn, that was a sweet air rifle, powerful an accurate. Mahely went bankrupt and became Cooperative Reno, run by the workers. The quality of the product went downhill fast after that. The lack of professional management is usually what causes the failure of these enterprises. Even if a capable person is managing things, communist philosophies don’t do well in business. 

Its thanks to capitalism that we progress, the ability to do better for ourselves, to capitalize on our intelligence and creativity. If we can’t do that and we’re all just part of a machinery we’re no better than ants or bees. Communism is the most unnatural philosophy a rational being can embrace. Its no wonder that it fails so miserably every time. It has its uses though, the silly mass sometimes falls for it and ends up placing in positions of power people that amass great fortunes. Funny to see these authoritarian socialists, wearing expensive designer clothes, gold Rolex and thousands in gold jewelry contrasting so pathetically with their quasi communist speech.

The takeover of companies is also dangerous because of what it represents. Blur the line of what’s right and wrong and you end up with the problems we have here. People think they have the right to claim over property they don’t own. Look the other way when that happens and soon enough they are squattering in private property, demanding homes, welfare, etc.
Survival related? Of course it is, these are the problems we’re all dealing with world wide.

Watch the documentary (free on youtube) , know that its made by neo-commies, but most of all, understand what happened in Argentina. Capitalism didn’t destroy Argentina, Corruption did. And these leftist/liberal/socialists (whatever you like to call them)  in the government right now are the most corrupt thieves we’ve ever seen. 


Reply: Matches in your Emergency kit

  I enjoyed your book, and also like your blog.
  Regarding match cases-- I've bought and used the long brass match cases made by K&M, and recommend them. They're topped with a good compass, and also make a formidable "fist load". Oh, yeah-- they also look great while keeping matches (or medications) dry.

Hi, those look nice. The ones I really like are the Exotac Cases, specially the one in gun metal.They look very good and I've read about them in EDCforums (good place for reading about gear before buying). It does cost $20 bucks and a plastic one worth $3 dollars or less achieves the same thing, though I understand spoling yourself a bit if you want something that is top of the line. I like that they fit the extra large matches and have two stiking surfaces, one on the outside and another one protected on the inside in case it gets wet. They also make a small matching ferrocerim rod called nanoStriker. There are the fanciest fire starting tools I've seen so far.
Exotac MatchCap Match Case/Safe Gun Metal Grey
nanoSTRIKER Ultra-portable Ferrocerium Fire Starter


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Matches in your Emergency kit

Today while reading some threads on a Bushcraft forum I came by a thread titled “Why Even Carry Matches?”.
In these type of forums you’ll often find lots of good info, but you quickly notice that sometimes nostalgia outweights practicality. This is something the person interested in practical survival cannot afford. Its understandable that there’s a certain allure in carrying a “tinder box”, a small leather bag made of bull’s scrotum with dried mushrooms and hitting flint and steel to start fire. Now, do these vintage fire starting tools have a place in your survival kit? Maybe in your home or car kit, or smaller every day carry emergency kit? Not really. You have better fire starting options than charcloth, and while firedrills work, during a real emergency you don’t care about looking like Bear Grylls, you just want a fire started as quick as possible. Yes, ferrocerium rods works (Swedish Firesteel), but a match or lighter is faster.

Emergencies are by definition inconvenient, unplanned, and potentially life threatening. You don’t have controlled, ideal conditions. You may be wet, cold, under shock, crying, bleeding, wounded. You may have dead or wounded loved ones around you, and you may be running out of time. Its just not the moment to play Man vs Wild.
Lighters, specially storm lighters that reach extremely high temperatures, are very effective but they are also more prone to breaking, running out of fuel, or not working when wet. Because of this you don’t want them to be your only option during an emergency.
Lighters and ferrocerium rods should be carried as well for redundancy, but don’t forget about matches for a real emergency kit!
While writing all this I can’t help but to remember the Pomar family. The Pomars weren’t lost in a deserted Island, they didn’t go trekking along Antartica, or venture into the Amazon rain forest. They simply had bad luck when visiting one of their relatives nearby.
After being missing for over two weeks and one of the largest manhunts I remember in this county, the Pomar family, husband, wife and two daughters were found dead not 20 miles away from their house, 20 yards away from the highway. While traveling to visit a relative in the next town, they had a car accident with bad enough luck that the car went flying off the road and crashed into a small grove of trees. Plantations and plains all around them as far as the eye can see, but they had bad enough luck to be thrown in there so the vehicles and choppers looking for them never saw them in the bush. It was later found that the wife survived the crash. Wounded and probably expecting help to arrive soon, she dragged herself next to her husband’s corpse, and survived there three days before dieing due to the wounds and exposure to the elements.
If you are wounded, barely able to move, and starting a quick fire could probably save your life like in this case, both for signaling and heat, a plastic case full of matches is your safest, easiest and quickest way to start a fire.

The case pictured is bombproof, has a rubber seal to keep it watertight and even includes a mirror and small piece of ferrocerium in the bottom.
The plastic case where the NATO stormproof matches come in isn’t nearly as study. The old film plastic cases pop open too easily. I tried the Marble’s metal match box but the plastic ones are better. The green one I own looks nice (Bushcrafty :-)  ), but the orange ones are better because they are more visible if dropped in the ground. This one also includes a whistle and compass. The piece of ferrocerium is almost useless but at 
least its there. 
G.I. Style Match Tube Holder 
5 in 1 Survival Whistle, Emergency Zone® Brand 
In my match boxes I keep several stormproof maches and a few large, strike anywhere matches. I also keep a striking strip (cut out of an ordinary box of matches) and a piece of cotton to keep everything from moving and making noise. This could also be used in an emergency along with the little piece of ferrocerium.
Yes folks, matches do have a place even in the most basic kit. They don’t look nearly as cool as firesteel on camera but when needing to start a fire after falling in icy water, barely able to control your fingers, practicality beats cool by a long shot.
Take care,

3 Pack: Diamond Strike Anywhere Matches 250 Count 
3 Pack: Diamond Strike Anywhere Matches 250 Count 
Survival Matches Bulk Tube 
Survival Matches Bulk Tube 
Swedish Firesteel - Army Model, Black Handle 
Swedish Firesteel - Army Model, Black Handle 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Post Collapse Society and “Citizen Formation”

I often mention that society in general (along with everything else) has changed since 2001 and it keeps changing as time goes by. In most cases, it changes for worse.

This is the case of children pregnancy. Several factors should be taken into account, including a loss of traditional values, child prostitution, corruption in all levels, including the core of society, the family. A lack of hope for a better future, general misery and the search for quick, instant pleasure and gratification perhaps has affected our children even. Its not strange to see a child breathing into a plastic bag full of glue and just the other day I saw a kid, perhaps 8 years old, as old as my son, searching through a trash bag close to where I live. It’s a common enough scene unfortunately, but what surprised me was that the kid found a spray of some sort and quickly placed his mouth on it and started breathing in the spray. Then he passed it over to a child even younger, maybe six, who did the same thing. Sad times.

The political stances doesn’t help things one bit. Drugs are slowly being legalized and politicians wink an eye in approval when asked their stance on drugs. Perhaps the most ironic “progress” was made with the more explicit sex and reproductive education at an alarming early age, and “Citizen Formation” which drills sexual and communist social concepts into the minds of children to young to understand. These two have been included by the left wing government after 2002.
This is of course done for the well being of the children, so they are both informed and tolerant citizens in the future. Doesn’t seem to be working very well though: The amount of pregnancies among girls younger than 13 years has tripled since 2001.
Very convenient for these socialist authoritarians, to have such “well informed” mothers and huge masses of poor. Hey, they can be grandmas by the time they are 26! Go social and reproductive education, its clearly getting the results they want!

The Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Hector Aguer, referred to the mandatory “Citizen Formation” assignment (2 hours per week) as “neoMarxist brainwashing of the Argentine youth”. But he’s probably one of those evil Catholics, right?
Take care folks.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Introduction to Knives: Sharpening (Part 4)

Hi everyone, this Part 4 of the Introduction to Knives videos. Hope you enjoy it.
This is just one method of sharpening but it does work. A knife may need some more work if its too dull, you may need more time (specially in the dark, thicker grit side) but the technique is the same. Remember to keep the right angle at all times and apply some pressure so as to remove enough steel.
Take care.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Introduction to Knives Video

One thing I've been meaning to ask, could you do an article on sharpening and maintaining knives & blades? I've seen lots of gadgets & techniques for sharpening, and I'd love to get your take on this. Thanks again. Eric

Hi everyone. These are a series of videos explaining basic knife concepts people interested in the subject should know. Very little can be covered in about an hour but a few basics are discussed (including how to sharpen a knife) so as to layer a foundation for further discussion about knives.
This first part covers the basics of knife manipulation, what to look for when handling a knife and knife geometry.
What makes a good knife:
1)Good knife general design (appropriate blade shape, comfortable handle, good balance)
2)Sound blade Geometry
3)Proper choice of Steel AND Heat treatment for the knife's intended use.
4)Most important of all: An experienced and skillful operator on the other side of the blade.

Handling knives:Ask before touching the knife (basic manners ) be careful not to cut yourself, don't leave fingerprints on the blade. Don't juggle, flip, or do any sort of trick with the knife. No matter how good (or bad usually) you are, you wont impress anyone.


Reply: Winter concealed carry‏

Ferfal, even people I know who carry concealed all the time for a long time don't take winter carry seriously enough. Excellent video. Having been robbed at gunpoint 3 times in Philadelphia and carrying in my winter pocket, I have a few observations on the subject. I agree with PPMazzini - walking with your hands (or at least your gun hand) in your coat pocket looks completely natural and allows you to keep a firing grip on the gun at all times. This is a big advantage. On my second robbery my assailant came up behind me and began his draw before I did. Still I drew my Glock 27 from my pocket as I had trained and put him down with one quick shot from 8 yards. At that time I only carried one gun in the winter: I transferred it from holster on hip to jacket pocket, and back. I was not so lucky on my 3rd robbery, still carrying my then favorite Glock 27 in my winter coat pocket.
I saw the first guy in front of me carrying a pipe. I missed the guy behind me with a semiauto. #2 was 8 feet away pointed at my face: too far for a disarm move and too close for him to miss. While #1 approached and prepared to club me, I considered firing through my pocket at #2, but hadn't trained on that and was sure I'd have a malfunction.

Snow was falling and had reached 12", making my ability to get away while surrounded very doubtful. I got 5 stitches in the scalp and lost $45 and my favorite gun but gained experience and new tactics/ hardware. After this experience, I went to the range and fired my new G27 in that pocket at a target 9 ft away. I got a decent (not great) torso hit. But I also got a new stoppage I've never seen before. The ejecting case stovepiped and the round feeding into the chamber got stuck on the feed ramp!! What a mess. I did not get any burns on the ruined jacket and couldn't care less if my jacket caught fire if I had to do that to save my life. As a result I made the following changes:

1. I now carry 2 guns in the winter, as you illustrated.
2. The gun I carry in my winter pocket is a S&W Model 640-1: .357 mag, stainless, 2" barrel, hammerless.
3. I train firing this gun simulating the position it would be in if fired from my jacket (I don't want to ruin anymore jackets, except in actual combat).
4. Even in winter I don't wear anything that interferes with my peripheral vision and hearing (I was wearing a hood over my head and didn't see or hear the guy with gun until it was too late). It's been 10 years since I was robbed, so I can't tell you how the revolver works. Oddly, maybe not having a hood on has been my most important upgrade. Maybe it has kept predators at bay because they can see I can see them.


Hi, Excellent letter and interesting accounts.
Yes, hands in your pocket holding your gun during winter attracts zero attention and makes for the fastest draw, BIG + for winter pocket carry.
As you saw, a semi auto fired from a pocket is a big no-no, a revolver will be more forgiving (as long as its spurless, otherwise the hammer spur may get tangled with the pocket frabic) Shooting with a semi auto inside the pocket will practically guarantee a single shot out followed by a failure. As you saw, most of the time these predators operate in groups, always expect accomplices nearby, usually attacking from the opposite direction as it happened to you.
As you put it, VERY cheap price paid for some very valuable lessons there my friend.
Other than the winter carry method, I think its important to yet again mention the huge importance of awareness. If you see these bad guys coming with enough time, they see you acknowledge them, move away while looking in their direction, cross the street to the other sidewalk while drawing getting your gun ready for the fight, more often than not they will go looking for an easier target. The key moment is detecting (and making clear you’ve detected them) before they close in, before you fall in their ambush. Do that and they play dumb while walking away looking for another victim.
Thanks for your email, take care.