Saturday, July 27, 2013

Best Defense Value Knife: Cold Steel Vaquero Voyager XL

Cold Steel Voyager XL Vaquero Plain Edge Knife  $52.40

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

DVD Review: “Grow You Own Groceries”.

Marjory Wildcraft is very knowledgeable and her experience shows in her DVD “Grow You Own Groceries”.
I found the DVDs to be easy to comprehend even for beginners and to the point. The set includes 3 discs actually, two video DVDs plus a 3rd CD with bonus resource files.
Marjory speaks clearly, in a simple to understand manner. The DVD explains how to set up a pretty comprehensive food production system, but this same information could be used by someone looking to work on something much smaller too, or focusing only on certain aspects of food production, may that be for example a small backyard orchard, chickens or perennial plants.
Besides growing vegetables she explains how to keep chickens and rabbits as well. These are one of the most simple, limited hassle ways of putting meat on the table for protein.
Her DVD can be found in Amazon. Marjory Wildcraft has a youtube channel (Check out the videos about her trip to Cuba!) and website Growyourowngroceries.org.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Criminal Gangs Targeting Trucks Full of Food

According to this  article in Clarin, an average of four trucks a day are being attacked by the infamous “piratas del asfalto”. 
I’ve written before about the asphalt pirates, gangs that operate by robbing trucks usually on highways when traveling between cities. Road Priates have been around for decades but their activity increased after the crisis just like all other criminal activity. Generally they attack trucks or convoys and they frequently do so disguised as cops or even putting up fake checkpoints. 
Truck Carrying Dog Food got attacked in Berazategui, Buenos Aires this Friday.
It used to be that they looked mostly for expensive cargo such as electronics, but in recent years expensive food such as milk, cheese and other dairy products that keep going up in price due to inflation, are also being targeted by criminals. Due to the amount of robberies, electronics are now being transported in armored Cash in Transit trucks. Food isn’t transported in armored vehicles and besides, dairy has to be transported in refrigerated trucks.  
Another interesting fact seems to be that electronics are just too expensive now and harder to resell, while mass consumption items are easier to “move”. Electronics are now just 8% of the robberies, while food (31%), perfumes (20%) y medicine (11%) are the favored ones. Cigarettes are also valued cargo that is easy to sell.
Diez artículos que se pueden comprar en Argentina con el precio fijado por el gobierno
Many stores have poorly stocked shelves.  Rationing of certain products like flour and sugar is common.
A good hit may land the gang with 300.000 USD in merchandise or more.
The assaults usually happen in the conurbano and the roads around Buenos Aires, especially to the south.  

It is sad to think that a country that produces enough food to feed several times its population has food prices that are more expensive than USA and most European nations.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Argentina: 82% Purchasing Power Lost in 10 Years

Argentina’s inflation keeps soaring. Its worth noticing some of these events because there’s a good chance we’ll see some of these being similarly implemented elsewhere to a degree, if not downright done the exact same way.

One of the many problems with statistics and numbers in Argentina is that its hard to come by reliable data since the government controls the statistics institute known as INDEC and it refuses to publish any numbers or statistics that could be perceived as a failure of the ruling party. That’s how what should be the most accurate agency often shows inflation numbers that are ten times less of what independent agencies come up with. To make matters worse those independent agencies get fined or shut down by the government if they don’t play ball.

Still, there are many ways in which people can ballpark a general idea of how bad its getting. How much of your shopping cart you fill with a given amount of money would be one of them. The price of bread, milk, those are clear indicators of the cost of basic supplies linked to the cost of living.
Another interesting thing to observe is the feeling of irrelevancy of the $100 bill.
You see, a 100USD bill is considered a big bill to break down. Buying say 10c of candy with a 100USD bill may be frowned upon by most store clerks in USA.  A 100 USD bill is still considered “big” money. 100USD buys you stuff. It buys you a pizza or meals for four in most fast food joints. 100USD is respectable money in the world of daily expenses and cash kept in wallets.

As prices keep soaring in Argentina, the 100 peso bill is seen more and used around more up to the point where lots of ordinary things bought on the average day cost 100 pesos. Its not considered “big” money any more. There’s been an increasing demand for a 500 peso bill, and this would no doubt help matters a lot, it sure would be used. But the government considers this a way of acknowledging inflation, so they refuse to make a 500 note.  So what happens? A)You have to walk around with a big fat wallet full of bills. B) The government is printing 100 peso bills like crazy.
Here’s a chart showing in red, how many 100bills are in circulation today in comparison to the last 10 years.

Wacky / Nutty facts about the Argentine Economy

*Argentina has two, hour-based prices for bread. Scratching your head? Lost in translation? Nope. Here’s the deal: A kilo of bread sells for 10 pesos before 10 AM and it doubles in price after that. Insanity? Well, yes, for most people it is. But for the Argentine government it’s a way of saying bread costs only 10 pesos, while on realistic terms the price is at least 20. Good luck finding any bread before 10 am, most bakeries just happen to “run out” and don’t restock until 10 AM, or they have two qualities of bread. The before 10 AM one probably being mostly sawdust mixed with expired flour. 

*A liter of gasoline in Argentina costs as much as a litter of the milk, about 1.49 per liter. This is for the cheapest milk you can find. Other than being white, it tastes just like water.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hultafors Heavy Duty Knife

Hultafors Craftmans Knife Heavy-Duty Gk  $15.95

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Reply: New Cold Steel Bowie Machete: First look and how to Sharpen it

Anonymous said...
Hey, I took your advice and bought one of these, it's nasty. I thought if used for self defense you would have sharpened the false edge on top of the blade, any thoughts?

Hi! I used the new Cold Steel Bowie Machete to cut down a medium size palm tre. The Bowie went through it like butter!
I think that one of the advantages of the bowie design over the classic Latin machete tip is that with that narrow clip point the bowie has its well suited for defense too if sharpened well.
I wouldnt touch up the false edge. Its good enough as it is. Try stabbing some water bottles or some other material and you'll see how easily it pokes into anything standing in front of it. Besides, in some places it might be illegal to have double edged knives, and at the very least, if you use it for defense it might cause you problems explaining why you did such modification. Other than sharpening, leave ti as it is, especially when you dont really gain anything by modifying it.
Take care!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New Cold Steel Bowie Machete: First look and how to Sharpen it

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Women and SHTF: Dressing Code and Defense

As a woman who likes to look cute, I am curious about how your wife changed her dressed after SHTF. Yourbook talks about your dress code of jeans & tee, but did your wife change her manner of dress as well? What was her "uniform," if so? (Besides the obvious pants instead of a skirt, such as, did she still wear a skirt if it was cool enough for leggings underneath?) Thanks :)

Hello R,
My wife used to joke, saying that if it wasn’t for her I’d live in a dark and damp cave full of skulls, bones and weapons littered all over the place, maybe lit by a couple burning torches. While I don’t think I’m that much of a weirdo my wife does have a point. She does balance me making me more “normal”, which is something I appreciate.
Her dressing code is pretty normal too. She likes dressing nice and that never changed even when things got tough. She used to work in one of the most dangerous parts of the Buenos Aires, an industrial district close to the docks. You have all sorts of factories and shops, among and all around them its mostly poor, very low income houses and shanty towns, and crime is rampant in this area. I’m talking about criminals walking around on broad daylight with their guns openly carried Mexican style (in spite of it being illegal), the kind of place were police officers move around in their patrol vehicles with caution, them not being the ones that are at the top of the food chain in the location. Any drug raid or crack down of known safe houses, would usually involve over a hundred police officers from different departments.  My wife was at work when criminals broke in during a robbery, again, on broad daylight. 

In spite of all this my wife never dressed down and always looked nice.  For her it was mostly jeans with some shirt or top, blouse and jacket or coat.  Skirts she didn’t like so much. Besides its not a good idea to sit on a dirty bus seat wearing a skirt. Sometimes she would wear sandals or some other kind of open shoe, but in winter and especially when going to work she would use ankle or mid women’s boots.  She would walk around a lot running errands and taking the bus, and the sidewalks are mostly in terrible condition. If you add to that that broken glass and all kind of junk that is littered all over the streets it makes sense to have something that covers your feet better.

While dressing very revealing sure is a bad idea, I would say that rather than dressing a specific way its more about being careful and aware of your surroundings. You don’t have to dress with a dirty blue overall looking as if you just crawled from under a truck to avoid getting targeted by criminals. Sometimes its more about walking with confidence and noticing the people around you. If something looks out of place or a suspicious person is moving towards you, then hurrying away, or even run in the other direction. My wife did avoid wearing any fancy jewelry, especially highly prized gold which criminals are drawn towards like flies to honey. Instead she would wear some cheap yet tasteful jewelry and accessories that you could tell weren’t expensive.
Regarding weapons and such, my wife never carried a firearm. She did have a purple Spyderco Delica with her at all times and carried a can of OC Spray. This she kept not only at hand, but in her hand when walking from the bus stop to her workplace. If you can carry a gun, by all means do it and get used to doing so safely and practice drawing and shooting from your normal carry layout. 

So, in a nutshell: Nice hair, make up, dressing nice and feminine doesn’t go away when SHTF. Of course a more informal outfit like jeans allows you more freedom of movement if you can get away with it and don’t need to stick to a more uptight office dressing etiquette. For footwear, getting shoes that you can actually walk with is common sense, but if its comfortable women shoes or boots that you go for as long as you can walk comfortably on them that’s fine. As long as the clothing you go for isn’t unusually revealing, its more about self-confidence, body language, keeping an eye on whats happening around you and a firm grip on your purse.
Take care people,