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18 March 2013

All Gooood?!


One movie that I enjoy from both a comedic aspect and a somewhat military aspect is "Inglorious Basterds". Yes, note the spelling and you will know I am referring to the movie from 2009 starring Brad Pitt as opposed to the original from 1978 starring Bo Svenson. I know you are now saying, from a military aspect? Yes. Although it is allegorical and definitely to be considered somewhat satirical, the point was it was all about getting the Nazis. Regardless if you agree or not, it is not the point of this post.

There are several phrases that I say just in a daily routine either to my friends or children. The one used most is when he is addressing the men and he states, "All Goooood?!"

This post is to let you know that my response is yes, I am good. Things are well here but very busy which is why I have been burning the late night candle and some of you get responses from me at strange hours, even the one I sent out the other night at 2:43am. I will continue to work on the blog and several other means of communication, including Google+, which I am still trying to figure out. I can still be found regularly on Twitter, even though I might be slow to respond or respond with a direct answer as opposed to a more friendly comment. I mean nothing by it, but am trying to sort things out on my end.

For those that are keeping tabs on social media interaction from me: Twitter, Facebook, Paper.li, Wordpress are the main communique with Google+ and Glipho bringing up the rear. I don't think I am stretching it thin as one post usually posts to many outlets so it fits your needs.

That being said, I am working on another special guest post from yet another brilliant mind. I gave him a deadline of this coming saturday so I hope to have it posted soon after that. I am trying to write again, so hopefully I will finish this never-ending novel that I am writing and you will be able to read that as well.

What? Glad you asked. It is about a prepper who is a former CIA operative who has been trying to leave his past behind and spend time with his family. Not a far fetched novel but it is something in my brain. I don't know page length or when it will be done but the goal is 2013.

That's it for now. Don't forget to comment below or Tweet me.

Until then,
Use your instincts to survive.

11 March 2013

It's time to go...

For several months I have written my posts on Blogger.com. I am thankful for all of the people that showed me how to work the site and those that encouraged me to write.

It is with only a little sadness that I am leaving Blogspot to move to Wordpress. The reason behind the move is because there are some things that Wordpress offers and Blogspot does not. It is not a bad thing and I will probably double post for a short period of time but then will eventually phase out the Blogspot site.

I would appreciate it if you would continue to follow me on the Wordpress site (Instinctsurvivalist.wordpress.com)

Thank you again and look forward to seeing you there. I think you will like the change. Feel free to comment on this or the other site.

Until then,
Use your instincts to survive

01 March 2013

Advice to Travelers


traveller
I had the luxury of being the last one off the plane the other day and decided to make use of the waiting time by talking to the Flight Attendants. Normally, this would be a short conversation but apparently the topic was intriguing. Preparedness.

It started when one of them mentioned an unintended overnight stay due to a storm front that recently came through. She also mentioned how several of them didn't bring a bag because this was to be a turn around and their last flight of the day. This caused them to dart for the local drug store for contact solutions, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

There were several comments on what would happen to the flip flop wearers if there had to be a water landing. The clencher was how all the attendants got together and decided that it would never happen again and they would each have an EveryDay Carry bag. Genius.

Understand that this comes on the heels of the Carnival Cruise ship, Triumph's, fiasco and people mentioning there are some things you cannot be prepared for.

I kind of disagree.

I carry an EDC almost everywhere, yes, almost everywhere I go. When I travel and I have to take a laptop with me, I rig my bag to fit within regulatory guidelines. Read TSA. I will give you a list of what's in my bag but you will have to read on before I do.

I responded to the cruise line's retort with one of my own: "MRE, toilet paper and purification tablets or straw would have been a great start." To which they replied, "I didn't think of those items".

As for the airline discussion, we discussed what the attendants carry and did a comparison of what I carry. I think we all had things to add to our bag we never thought about. Pretzels and peanuts only go so far. They wanted to hang out after the flight for more notes, but I was ready to get home so I declined.

NOTE: I am by no means great, or even good at preparedness and I make no claims to be. I am learning like the rest of you. I look for information and learn where I have gaps. I am amazed at the willingness of others to learn. I like it.

The question that beckons to be asked is: Do you have an EDC and will it be a good start should the need arise?

Let's compare:
  • Multi-tool without knife (can't carry knife on a plane but have a pack I slide into my bag when I am not flying that has a knife, a multi-tool with a knife, and torch lighter)
  • Safety matches (according to TSA a standard set of "bar" or book matches are acceptable)
  • Signaling mirror
  • Monocular - 6ounces lighter than old Simmons Binoculars
  • Bandana
  • Pre-made first-aid kit (Colghan)
  • Clif Bar (2)
  • Water purification tablets
  • Powdered lemonade to add to water
  • Survival playing cards
  • Knot cards
  • Small Silva Compass (going to switch to a button compass)
  • 20' paracord (in addition to the two bracelets of 10' each I wear)
  • Titanium Spork (life's little luxuries)
  • Medicine
  • Ibuprofen
  • Eye drops
  • Eyeglasses (I wear contacts so these are my backup)
  • Cash and a few gold coins
  • Charging cords for electronics
  • Flashlight - Looking for a small Faraday or good crank flashlight to replace this one
  • Extra batteries for flashlight
  • Waterproof case
  • Shemagh
  • Toothbrush
  • Extra underwear
  • Extra socks
  • Extra shirt
  • Extra clothing enclosed in a gallon zip top bag
  • Bottle for water or bottle of water (depends on travel plans)

I'm sure I am missing something but that would at least get someone started. The total additional weight without water is about 4lbs. It is a good trade-off especially since I'm already carrying an 8lb laptop.

I welcome your comments.

Until then,
Use your instincts to survive

22 February 2013

Point: Counter-Point -> Gun Ban Conspiracy Theory?

Some who personally know me, know that I do have some whack-a-doodle conspiracy theories. I don't deny it and many have proven to be true. I recently uncovered what I believe to be another while taking a "How well do you know the 2nd Amendment" quiz.

Below you will see the question asked and the correct answer. I'll admit I didn't know it by the evidence of the big red box.
But wait, there's more. So I did some investigating around Mr. Heller's latest complaint, or rather his second motion. They can be found on the Heller Foundation website.

What I found made my brain spin for a moment because, as the photo shows, Mr Heller wanted to use a Bushmaster XM-15-E2S as his example. I knew because of the police report at Sandy Hook this was the supposed weapon Adam Lanza used. I didn't know about William Spengler in Webster, NY or the specifics around John Allen Mohammed and Lee Boyd Malvo weapons. For the sake of this argument we will eliminate the last two as it occurred in 2002. They may still have bearing in this argument though.

HOWEVER, Mr. Heller, had two appointments regarding the gun ban. One on January 31, 2012 and then the post of June 29, 2012 which you see on the foundation website. Both of these appointments were prior to the December 14th and 24th killings using the same weapon. (You are starting to see where I am going)

The push for the gun ban continued to grow stronger near the election and the strongest just before the inauguration of our current president. There has always been controversy on what Adam Lanza supposedly used for his crime and Spengler set fire to the house where the weapon was supposedly found. How convenient.

I am all about letting people draw their own conclusions but this time, I'm just going to say it. The two incidents listed above had a mighty convenient tie-in to what is trying to push through for a gun ban. The Bushmaster is a good weapon, I won't argue that. There are many like it as well. My next statement/question may make me a target for harassment or something else, but I've got to say it. The question is, am I out of line for saying the two incidents had those weapons planted to push through another agenda?

That's where you have to draw the conclusion. Coincidentally, I scored 80% on the quiz because one was a judgement call and one I didn't see the "All of the above" answer.

Until then,
Use your instincts to survive

21 February 2013

Operational Security - Guest Post

I was honored that I was able to feature a great writer for a guest post on the blog. I gave liberty with the understanding that I would review the article. I have to say, there was no disappointment. Great article by Plan and Prep. Enjoy!

Until then, 
Use your instincts to survive

-----


Operational Security
Most preppers love to talk about OpSec, “Operational Security”.  At book signings and prepper events whenever a conversation gets started you can pretty much guarantee that this subject is going to come up.  The surprising thing is just how often people will invalidate their own OpSec, usually when talking about OpSec!

At a recent book signing I was talking to a gentleman and his wife that had come in from central Illinois.  They were there to shop and get a copy of my book signed and hopefully to have a little discussion about prepping.  When I asked where they were from the man said “Central Illinois” and the woman interjected “South of <town name>”.  Well, unlike the majority of Americans I am actually familiar with the area so I said “Really?  I have a friend on Pine Crest Rd there” to which the lady replied, “Oh yeah?  We’re further south, off of highway 3, just north of <town 2>”.

At this point the man broke in with questions about bunkers and stored foods and we talked for a few more minutes.  When the discussion came back around to their available resources the man mentioned that his neighbors were real quiet, “dead quiet” as a matter of fact and he and his wife shared a laugh.
The rest of the day that conversation kept coming up in the back of my mind.  I had a very good idea of the layout of the man’s homestead from his descriptions, I knew what kind of truck he drove because he offered that information to me, and I knew roughly where he lived also from his wife’s descriptions.  When I got home I jumped on Google Maps and zoomed over to their town.  After about 5 minutes of searching the map views I had a real good idea of where this couple lived, right down to the satellite photo of his truck in the driveway.

I knew quite a bit about this man’s preps, I knew a good deal about his security and I knew when he wasn’t normally home because he told me where he worked.

Now this couple was having a simple conversation, and a lot of the information they offered was buried in a pile of words and questions that some people wouldn’t pick up on.  Being an ex-cop I hear these details and they just sort of file themselves away so I can call them up later to rebuild the conversation in my head.  It is a skill that some people have and some don’t.

Generalizations Are Good
When you are discussing your preps be general.  You don’t own a Ford F-150, you own a truck.  The truck isn’t Black its “dark colored”, your car isn’t red it’s “bright colored”.  You don’t live on a two-lane blacktop road; you live on “a county road” or “a country road”.  Don’t tell people what town you live near; give a regional description like “central Indiana” or “western Kentucky”.  You don’t have two rivers on either side of your property; you have “localized freshwater resources”.  You don’t live in a large, two story country home with white painted paneling and blue shutters; you live in “an older home, but it’s comfy”.

Details narrow down searches and can make it very easy to locate you if necessary.  If someone knows you live in a small town they can focus their search for you there.  If they know you drive a late model white Ford F-150 pickup truck you have just narrowed down their search dramatically.  Imagine the difference between staking out a busy intersection for “trucks” versus “late model, white, Ford F-150 trucks”.  If the person knows your race or general appearance they could easily find you and recognize you.

Don’t Discuss Security
So many people at my signings want to tell me about their security setup.  They tell me what type of firearms they have, how many, how much ammo and which members of the family are proficient with them.  I have had people tell me about their early warning systems as well as full descriptions of their fail safe plans.  Usually they do this to get to a question, but they feel that I need to know everything about what they have so that I can narrow down some advice that will be useful to them.  Meanwhile a small crowd standing nearby now knows everything about your home security.  Not only that, you have just told a military trained, ex-police officer exactly what he would need to get past to invade your space.  Not a good idea.

Anonymity Rules
Purchasing bulk supplies or even small amounts at regular intervals gets noticed.  Perhaps not to the point of causing trouble, but if you see the same sales people every month for two years they will remember you, and if asked they’ll offer anyone a theory as to why you need all of the stuff you have been buying.  To counter this you need to locate multiple outlets to purchase supplies and ensure you utilize different carriers for delivery, rotating them regularly.  The guy down at the firearms store that feels the same way you do and happens to be a prepper may not be the best guy to talk to about all of your preparations.  Remember, if the time comes when he needs something he will remember where to get it.

Have a Cover Story
Treat your Operational Security like you are a cold war spy.  Develop a secondary personality and identity that you can use when people ask you questions.  Obviously I do NOT mean to get a fake identity or lie to authorities; I am talking about general conversation when people ask you questions.  For instance, I often talk about my family homestead property in Michigan.  Some people at my book signings are from Michigan and ask where it’s at, so I say “Near Mason”.   That will usually quell their curiosity, and I am safe because my homestead is not, “near Mason”.

It’s An “All the Time” Thing
A lot of preppers make their biggest OpSec mistakes outside of their prepping activities.  Telling someone at work about your prepping is as good as advertising it because it becomes a funny story that gets told to spouses over dinner, and then over the phone the next day when the spouse is talking about that “prepper” guy at her husband’s job.  In large cities this isn’t so terrible but in small to mid-size towns that can lead to a lot of people knowing more about you that you would like. 

I am sure most people do this, but please make sure your preps are either put away or hidden when you aren’t actively working with them.  Neighbors stop by, kids bring friends over and sometimes people are just a bit too dang nosey for their own good, so hide those preps and keep them safe.

Another big OpSec fail is when you are practicing your “bug out” procedures.  In order to make it realistic many preppers will wear tactical gear and act in a way that is contrary to the norm.  This gets noticed REAL fast.  Try finding tactical clothing that doesn’t look tactical but still has functionality.  Most of the better tactical clothing companies offer clothing lines that fit these criteria and the prices aren’t too bad.  If you can’t find what you want in the tactical arena try normal work wear; cargo pants, safari shirts, etc.  It isn’t the same as a set of tactical BDU’s but will get you through a bug out drill.  Being un-noticed is a HUGE tactical advantage and will do wonders for your OpSec.  For more info on that, research “Grey Man” tactics and “hiding in plain sight”.  I had an article on my site for a while regarding this, I will repost it later if I can dig it up.

Don’t Be Too Cool
Situations change quickly in life, especially when you are dealing with events that preppers are preparing to weather.  Ensure that you are flexible in all of your planning while still maintaining proper OpSec.  This means having multiple plans, backups and redundancies.  What this also means is that you will probably react much differently than other people around you, which can bring notice onto you.

If the world is reacting in chaotic fashion and you are in the middle of it looking calm and cool then you have a couple of problems.
  1. )      You aren’t worried enough, get your guard up.
  2. )      People will notice your cool head and gravitate to you.

To avoid this you will need to avoid these situations where you are near crowds, which is always a good idea in the first place.  However, if that cannot be avoided then you will need to manufacture a sense of overwhelming fear, on the surface at least, in order to fit in with the crowd.  Keep it in check and make sure that if you have children, they are aware of this and don’t get overly frightened by it.  It shouldn’t be hard to do, just make sure to keep it in check and remember that you are in control of your situation and this is a means to an end.

For more information on this topic and others, please visit my website.
Plan and Prep
“Ready for Anything”

09 February 2013

Survival Instincts and other updates

I did not want a week to go by without giving you some updates including the latest venture and possible futures.

The latest was the decision to create a newspaper. I know, there are a lot of different papers out there and Paper.li makes it easy to create one as a front end portal to all other articles and posts.

However, what makes Survival Instincts different is I am doing most of the work. What does that mean? A lot of papers are doing a good job of gathering information from other sources based on hashtags and pointing to different resources. With Survival Instincts I am doing the reading and researching of articles and posts to determine what I feel is best for the reader. This means that when you look at the paper you will see my name associated to many of the articles posted not for an egotistical boost but I think they serve the purpose which helps you, the reader, use your instincts to survive.

Check it out when you get the chance and let me know your thoughts either on the paper site or here.

I've been busy following, retweeting and mentioning on Twitter as well. Make sure you check out the #preppertalk hashtag. The #bushcraft and #survival hashtags provide great information for you too.

Regarding the future, we will continue going down the same path that we are going now. In addition, I am comparing blog sites to see if I need to move to provide more and better functionality for you, the reader. Another option is to use this as the main site and use the Tumbr account as a "micro-blog" for updates. No decision has been made at this time, so who knows.

Lastly, I want to just say THANK YOU. You are a great community and friends both virtual and physical. You have been great for a laugh and the tips you give are fantastic. I certainly couldn't have done this without you.

Until then, 
Use your instincts to survive

02 February 2013

Do Your Part?



I was going through a checklist several weeks ago and really started to feel overwhelmed. I had to check all the medical supplies, sanitation supplies, food storage and supplies, defense supplies, supply supplies and the list went on. Yes, I have them divided into sections but I decided to take a section and give it to someone else.

What do I mean? I mean, there is more than just me preparing for things. My spouse and children and even a couple of others that we have vowed to “save”. I am but one person and if something happens to me, then what? Until that day, everything would have fallen apart.

Now I have delegated some of the major tasks and asked them to start learning and if they have questions, ask me. Now my medical officer is learning what to store and why and is looking into taking a CPR class as well as Emergency First Aid.

My Security Officer, well second in command, is learning how to shoot efficiently and effectively as well as what to store and why.

The Food Storage officer is learning what else needs to be bought when they go to the store and what we are low on in order to build up the preps.

And again, the list goes on. 

However, this time we are all doing our part and we do cross tasks. No one takes the full weight of the task but they are the “officer” is the one responsible when we need something and it’s not there.

All I am saying is you are not alone. Delegate where you can or at least get someone to help you. It is not you against the world but the world against you and yours.

Short and sweet...kind of.

Until then,
Use your instincts to survive

31 January 2013

Knife Review: CRKT Free Range

I know I discussed doing a review on the Mora knife that I own but I picked up a CRKT (Columbia River Knife & Tool) Free Range Hunter Clip Point Lockback Folder recently that I am really pleased with.  That is a mouthful so we will stick with CRKT Free Range.

As before, I will give you the specs from the site, initial reactions and positives and negatives. You decide whether you like the knife. At least pick one up to get the feel of it and you will see one main reason I bought it.


Specifications:
Dimensions
Open Overall Length 8.875 inches
Closed Length 5.125 inches
Weight 4.4 ounces

Blade
Length 3.75 inches
Thickness 0.12 inches
Material 8Cr13MoV
Blade-HRC 58-59
Finish Satin
Grind Hollow
Style Clip Point
Edge Plain

Handle
Material Double Injection
Liner 2CR13

Lock
Type Lock Back

Carry
Carry System Sheath
Weight 1.1 ounces

My immediate thoughts when I grabbed the knife for the first time was, “I thought I was actually going to hold a knife.” Folks, this thing is lightweight and fits perfectly into my hand. The rubberized grip made it easy to shave wood and get a firm grip to cut through 1/2” sisal rope.

For starters, I have an everyday carry that is a little heavier and spring assisted. However, I wanted one that I could depend on to be a little more durable for the long haul. I like the size and feel of the handle in my hand. It conforms to my fingers nicely so, as mentioned above, was very lightweight and comfortable. I also like the fact that I am not limited to the sheath, but instead it is slim enough that I can slide it into my pocket. The downside is there is no clip and I can’t carry anything of size in the same pocket.

I took it through a few tests:
slicing - It sliced through cordage like butter and sisal rope with a little resistance.
cutting - I used it to cut some slices of wood as well as food, both acted as if they were meat from a crock pot that had been cooking for 10 hours. “Fall off the bone”
chopping - I did not chop with it due to the type of knife and I have one for chopping and batoning, see Gerber Knife Review
carving/whittling - Okay, so it’s an old test, but it passed with flying colors as well
hair off the arm - yet another old test but well, it just works for sharpness. It won’t give a clean shave out of the box but the sharpness does hold well with the CRKT.

Positives:
Lightweight
Slim-design
Comfortable Grip
Smooth Opening
Thumb Post for Quicker Opening
Clip Point blade
Sturdy Locking Mechanism
Thumb Ridge along 1” of back of blade
Durable Sheath (plastic insert. can hang vertical or horizontal with belt)
Not a serrated blade (I didn’t want one on this knife)

Negatives:
Not spring assisted opening
No pocket clip

What modifications I might make:
To the knife itself, I may add that pocket clip
To the sheath, I might drill two holes in bottom for water drainage and run braided paracord pace-counter through it

That’s about it. I am pleased with my purchase from the North Georgia Mountains

Until then,
Use your instincts to survive

21 January 2013

"The DOOMSDay Prepper"

"The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" - This quote, made famous by the short film, Chicken Little in 1943 and then again with the movie of the same name in 2005, is an indication that people expect a Doomsday scenario to play out before the end of their lives. Many of you may remember reading Henny Penny and Chicken Little when you were little.

For decades people have had a hidden fear of what may be considered the "end of days" or armageddon type event where there is total destruction or annihilation of the earth. Recently, people have started bringing it to the forefront of their discussions and mass media has added to the fear machine with movies such as "Armageddon", "Deep Impact" and various Zombie classics.

Many have considered, National Geographic's Doomsday Preppers, as a relief for them to discuss what might have originally been taboo. I use it as a launchpad for many conversations around prepping and the reasons why to prep.

For this post, I want to set the record straight on something that has been weighing on my mind; The Doomsday scenario. If you watch the aforementioned show, you will notice that no one and I mean no one, has stated they were preparing for doomsday but instead something that would change the course of how they live their day to day lives.

I have heard about an EMP (electromagnetic pulse), tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruptions and even hurricane scenarios but none talk about the total destruction of the earth.

If that is the case, then why do we prep? Someone mentioned on Twitter around the Mayan Event (12.21.2012), the preppers will be sorry after the date passes because they will look foolish. To some I retorted and said many are not preparing for the Mayan Prophecy and went on to explain what I was preparing for when the question returned to me. I found this to be the case with many others as well.

I have created a friendship, albeit mostly virtual, with many in the prepping communities and credit a lot of that to the Twitter hashtag #preppertalk. Many of the discussions that go on are around great subjects such as food storage, reuse of old materials and general self-reliance. Yes, including gardening and permaculture. I was amused at the number of folks that poked fun and even gave me a "ROFL" when I asked if they were ready for the Mayan Prophecy to come to pass.

Please understand, there may be someone out there that they do fear an "end of the world" doomsday event where the moon and sun collide with the earth and the big blue marble no longer exists. It is for each person to decide why they prepare without judgement because it doesn't affect you. But please understand, many of us are just normal folks, looking to ensure the safety, security and well being of our families, now and in the future.

As for me, I just want to make sure that if I ever lose my job or if cold weather turns the power off, we have food and warmth until all things are restored. Sure there may be some other things, but really, Zombies? I use that as another launchpad for discussions and it works REALLY well.

By the way, thanks to all who watched my first video post. I hope to have more in the future.

Until then,
Use your instincts to survive

13 January 2013

Battery Firestarter


  In an attempt to try something a little more modern than still photography, I have added a video to my latest post as a supplement for my topic.

Many people have seen the 9v Battery and Steel Wool Firestarting method. Some have even used a car battery. 

But what if you only have a cellphone and steel wool. Now the debate comes as to the practicality of carrying steel wool on a normal basis, but we are testing unusual circumstances or something that might be understood as SHTF or TEOTWAWKI. 

So without further ado... here is the short two minute video. 



video


Enjoy.
Until then,
Use your instincts to survive

Special thanks to my son for video and production.