Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lentils: Superfood to Stock Up!

Lentils are one of the most nutritious and easy to cook legumes you can find.
Their small, flat round seeds are easy to cook, requiring little water to rehydrate, and less fuel than larger beans to cook. These facts may seem unimportant, but they make a big difference when fuel and water become scarce resources.
Lentils are packed with nutrients. Its close to the caloric value of pasta, but it has  amino acids, iron, vitamin B and C, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber and twice the amount of protein that pasta has.
Lentils taste good and can be fed to small children as one of their first foods. Lentils go well with pasta and rice, or as soups or stews. Its not hard to make a nice stew using some meat leftovers and some vegetables. Lentils can even be sprouted before eating for added vitamins.   

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Eagletac D25C and Leatherman PS4 vs Washing Machine

Compact EDC is nice but sometimes it can be too small for its own good!
My Egletac D25C and Leatherman Squirt PS4 were still in one of the many pockets of my 5.11 Taclite pants when it went into the washing machine. :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Otterbox Defender case & Spigen Ulta Crystal Screen Protector for Note 2

A smart phone is an incredibly useful piece of tech as long as it works. No matter how great a phone is, if it gets ruined just by dropping it, then its fragility becomes the clear weak link when things get a bit tougher.
I’ve been using an Otterbox defender case from the first day I got my iphone a few years ago.  Its been dropped, accidentally kicked and hit countless times and during it all it has kept working thanks to that case. 
When I upgraded and got a Galaxy Note 2, (loving it, review coming up soon!) I ordered the Otterbox Defender case for it that same day.

 Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100 Unlocked GSM International Version White $528.99
 The latest Otterbox Defender case is as tough as its predecessors. The rubber exterior  is harder than in the older models and smart, precise engineering has allowed it to keep the added bulk to a minimum while still providing the desired impact protection.
The clip has been improved as well, now offering better retention. It rotes 360ยบ and can be used as a stand. The clip is just wide enough to fit a shooter or riggers belt snuggly. 

 OtterBox Defender Series Hybrid Case and Holster for Samsung Galaxy Note 2 $34.29
 The only negative side is the built-in screen protector. Unlike previous models, it doesn’t leave any oily or water marks when installed which is fantastic, but the matte finish needed to achieve that reduces the definition in HD screens, looking a bit pixelled  and gritty, and some rainbow effects or lines can be detected when looking up close.

The solution to this problem is to remove the original Otterbox screen protector , just pops right off, and installing a traditional one. I highly recommend the Spigen sgp Ultra Crystal. It looks fantastic, no definition or sharpness lost, no weird lines. It protects the screen as well as the Otterbox built-in screen protector and the Otterbox Defender case can be installed with the Spigen screen protector in place. If you're not too picky, the Defender's built-in screen protector may not bother you, so its probably better to try the Defender case as it is and get the Spigen screen protector if you notice it and it bothers you.
My wife and I both have been using Otterbox Defender cases for years and I do recommend them higly.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Rifles in SHTF‏

I read your excellent book a year ago and was writing an article for my blog about Rifles and SHTF.
I wanted an opinion of something if you have time. :)
What situations would you see viable for a rifle to come out during a SHTF event over a pistol?
I think your argument that people would be killed for their tactical equipment might be true, but then again you also said you are glad you had access to your own rifles... just in case....
Thanks for your expertise and your *Awesome* book

Hi Brian,

I'm glad you liked my book. In it I explain why I believe a rifle has a place in a modern survivalist's battery. 

The handgun is for defending your life, while the rifle is for defending your country. Other than that 90% of the time you’ll use a handgun for defense, not because its better, more powerful or more accurate, but simply because people that do carry on daily basis carry handguns of course, not long arms. The handgun is worse at everything, other than the ability of being there when needed because it can be carried concealed at all times.
A rifle is a great force multiplier in the hands of a skilled operator and it sure does have a place. If needed and if within reach, a rifle will offer more power and accuracy.

I was talking with a reporter today about the survival and preparedness movement. One of the points talked about was how unrealistic preppers and survivalists can be at times, often influenced by Hollywood. We also talked about the influence due to those with a military background. They try to apply what they learned while in the army, maybe even what they experienced in combat overseas. These guys will usually lean strongly towards the rifle as their main weapon give that that’s how they were trained, and only falling back to handguns as a secondary weapon when running out of ammunition or having a gun failure. 

The handgun carried on daily basis should always be considered the main weapon of a modern survivalist. In this case, you don’t generally have  a rifle with you, and you would only go for it if at home,  when you have one within reach.
Because it wont be carried around concealed on your person, the role of the rifle will be more related to home defense. Especially on more isolated houses, the chance of a longer lasting fight increases.  In that case, a rifle would be a force multiplier. If local laws allow, I would also have a rifle in my vehicle as well as a “home away from home” setup.

Another possible scenario could be using the rifle while guarding your home or working along with other neighbors after a disaster strikes your area.
In Argentina, I know of some smaller communities that during some of the worst times after the economic collapse took upon themselves to protect their streets by arming and organizing themselves. This was not common but I know it happened in some smaller communities in the province of Buenos Aires. Its not uncommon for ranchers and farmers to move around armed with carbines or rifles, usually just firing a couple warning shots to scare away trespassers. 

While I see the handgun being the modern survivors main weapon, the one he should be the most proficient with because it’s the one he’s most likely to use when facing danger, a semi auto big bore carbine is also a must and can prove to be invaluable in some cases.
About tactical gear, I don’t remember saying that tactical gear makes you more of a target. I do think its unrealistic to think that a rifle and full tactical gear setup, with body armor and mag carriers wont be of practical use on a day to day basis. While I do believe in having body armor, you just don’t walk around all day dressed up like you may have done during a tour in Iraq. For the criminal going after you when you park in a strip mall or make a late night rush to the nearest gas station, that’s when the rifle and load bearing vest does you no good and you better have your CCW and the training so as to be proficient with it. 


Monday, June 17, 2013

What Really happened during the Argentine Economic Collapse of 2001

You were way ahead of the curve in what you perceived in the coming collapse of Argentina‏. I just read this and you came to mind. I thought I would share the article.

Hi, I’ve been receiving lots of email about this article.
Remember that scene from the movie “Braveheart”, where Mel Gibson says he’s William Wallace and one of the guys says that cant be because William Wallace is seven feet tall and has arms as wide as tree trunks or something along those lines? This somewhat reminds me of that. I’m sure that the person that wrote it didn’t mean anything by it but there are several inaccuracies that I’d like to address. We all make mistakes of course and as time goes by memories tend to blur a bit, happens to me all the time. But I believe its important to stay as accurate as possible so that any lessons gained from these events are also truthful. 
First, about the people doing battle with the police. Anyone doing battle with the police at any time before or after the fall of President Fernando DelaRua’s government was either rioting or looting. The original “cacerolazo” of December 19th in Plaza de Mayo was a peaceful demonstration against a president that had lost touch with reality, but that had nothing to do with those destroying private property and looting. It is true that some innocent people died, caught between the looters and the police, and that cop got “trigger happy”, yet its hard to believe that everyone that got shot right in the middle of a mass looting in a supermarket just happened to be there looking for his son, his uncle or the neighbor’s dog. If you are in the middle of a violent looting and cops trying to stop it bad things can happen to you.  Normal, by this I mean law abiding citizens didn’t do battle with the police. The country was falling apart, and the last thing we needed was another roadblock, another “imperialist” McDonald being trashed or another looted supermarket. 

While bank accounts where frozen, you could still use credit and debit cards. The problem was that many stores, especially smaller ones, didn’t accept them any more in Argentina. For some time it was only big chain store accepting them in the country. Still, if you were abroad, say in the United States, you could use your credit card without a problem.  I know this well because we went Aspen, Colorado, for a week on January  2002, a couple months before I got married. My folks had invited us all and there was no point in canceling the holidays. The “corralito” was an attempt to stop the flight of capital from the banking system, money leaving banks and going either abroad or under people’s mattresses. In fact,  as an incentive for people to do this, they would give you back 5% from taxes if you paid with debit cards. I remember this well too because I would deposit the money I would use for making the monthly grocery purchases just the day before going to the store, so as to take advantage of the discount yet not leave money sitting there given the obvious instability. That plus another 15% discount you got from the store when paying with debit or credit card which the big chains were still accepting made for a much appreciated 20% discount.

While it is true that electricity went off often, its not true that stores run low on food. Sometimes there wasn’t quick resupply of certain products. Sometimes rationing was imposed so as to avoid hoarding and you could take maybe 1 pack of sugar per day or 3liters of milk per day per family group, and even this you could avoid by going to another store and buying there too. But other than the supermarket itself being closed because of recent looting, as long as you had the money, cash or money in the bank for some of the big stores that accepted credit cards, you could buy as much food as you wanted. Don’t get me wrong, people did starve to death and they still do, but because they cant afford the food, not because there isn’t any.
An important point,  food never became a medium of exchange. This simply never happened. This I want to clarify because if not people may be lead to believe that it could be a possible scenario. At least during the economic collapse that took place in Argentina I can assure you that food never replaced currency. The closest to that was coupons used in some of the various barter clubs, Clubs del Trueque, which did become popular but never did it replace the local defaulted peso, even less, a much sought after shiny US dollar bill.  Even gold, which became sought after for selling in some of the “We buy Gold” stores that sprouted everywhere within days, even then it didn’t become an alternative currency used by people.

People did accept the local currency, the peso, but they would do so at whatever exchange rate it had that day with the US dollar, so within days the peso had devaluated to one third of its value. Still, in spite of that, if you have the cash and enough of it, you bought as much food, gas, or any other goods and service as you wanted.
About leaving the country with cash, back in those days it wasn’t nearly as hard as it is now, at least hard when doing it legally. Especially if the cash you had could be fitted in your pants, it was really not a problem at all to just keep it there, walk through customs and security and board a plane that would take you abroad.  The crazy restrictions and extra control regarding ordinary people traveling maybe with a bit too much cash started after the reelection of Cristina Kirchner in 2011, not in 2001.
The more accurate the accounts, the better the lessons we learn from these events. Again, I’m not saying any of this to discredit anyone and I know that as time goes by  many of these details are harder to remember.
If anyone has any questions or would like to add anything feel free to comment below or send me an email.
Take care people.