Monday, April 23, 2018

Stress tests and public restrooms

So you’re getting ready for a trip. Maybe it’s a 4 hour trip across the state, or maybe its a 13 hour drive for a business trip.  You have your Get Home Bag, a few extra car supplies and a new audio book to pass the time. 

Are you as prepared as your think you are?

When we plan our BOB or GHBs most of us have the basics covered.   Water, warmth, food and first aid.  Many also throw a weapon in there as well. 

What more could you need?

Have you put your bag to stress test?   

This weekend I went on a hike in a new location. Well, new to me, the location has been there since forces greater than I formed it anywhere form 6,000 to 100 billion years ago.  Most of my hikes have been in the same area because it is close and easy to get to after work.  Especially during the winter when it get dark around 3:30 in the afternoon.  

So I hit the road.  Not a long trip, but enough to get out of my comfort zone. A friend went along and we looked forward to new scenery and hiking what was to us the unknown.

The first test of our bags came at the trail head.  My friend, lets call him “Frank”, mentioned that he had been having a gastrointestinal issue. “No Problem.” I thought, and I reached for my first aid kit.  I would offer him some Imodium and problem solved. 

It is at this time I find that I have no Imodium in my bag.  I have aspirin, Tylenol,  ibuprofen, bandages, butterfly strips, tampons, burn gel, blister covers and tape.  But not one Imodium. 

Now I purchased Imodium.  I bought A LOT of Imodium.  I went to Sam’s club and bought thousands of these little pills.  I did this after I saw that the FDA wanted retailers to limit the amount of Imodium you could by because people were taking hundreds of them at a time to combat opiate withdrawal.   So I got while I could, in the amounts I wanted while I could.
I am sure this put me on a list. Some where there is a computer with my name flagged as a very possible Imodium abuser.  Possibly as an opiate abuser, possibly as someone who has an unreasonable fear of having a bowel movement. Either way, I am sure someone some day will scrutinize my large purchase of this product. BUT I HAD NOT ADDED IT TO MY BAG! Which is doubly sad since I had them on had and they are really small and easy to fit in the bag. 

So “Frank” says he will stop by the restroom at the trail head and attempt to take care of business so it does not become emergency business on the trail.  

This really reinforced my belief that Imodium is important if not a necessity.   

This restroom was one of those simple vault style restrooms that require little upkeep.  This particular one as like many others, had been decorated in what can only be referred to as “Excreta applied by fire hose”.  If this gives you any sense of revulsion, congratulations, you’re normal.  If you read that and think, “Ah ha! They have seen my work!”, please get help now. Mental and physical, the rest of us are ready to vote you on to an island all by yourself. 

As an aside, how does this happen?  What is wrong with you when you can’t even hover over the appropriate receptacle? How does it get everywhere?  Sometimes not even on or in said receptacle?   

But I digress.  Imodium not only can save a life (look up statics for dysentery), it can also provide you with the ability to choose when and where to go.  When it comes to public restrooms I am very prochoice. 

Now “Frank” is smart guy.  I give him props for bringing his own toilet paper and afterwards he pointed out various plants that from experience he knew could step in to fill the void so to speak if you ran out of TP. 

To sum this up, once again a gap in my plan was exposed by getting out and using the pack that I keep to possibly save my life in the worst case scenario.  It also can help out in a scenario of just bad timing. You never know when you are on the road how new food or water will effect you.  That truck stop you grabbed the chicken fried steak at my only employ people who have no idea what proper hygiene is, or simply not care.

So get that pack out and use it.  Go for hike, go camping, go for trip where it is your first go to before stopping at the gas station, drug store or big box retailer.  Even in a hotel room, you can depend on it first. 

Stress test your plans.  That is where the cracks show.  Doctors stress test heart patients because that is where the weaknesses become very apparent.  Your BOB / GHB is the heart of your on the road survival plans and it needs stress tested.  Until you do, you really don’t know the health of your plans.  

Monday, April 16, 2018

Best of list!

Sometimes when I am bored, I Google myself. Granted I have to be really bored, but it happens. So imagine my surprise this weekend when I found that the J2cast podcast has made a best of List!

Over at  they put together a list of, “The Best Prepper, Survival, and Self-Reliance Podcasts Worth Listening To”, and we are number 6!

We would like to thank them for the ranking and ask that you, our listeners and readers head over and check them out. They have a nice blog that is full of information and looks great.

Jesse and I have been doing this for a bit under 2 years. We have met some great people and had the opportunity to expand our knowledge while hopefully entertaining you our listeners.We understand that our approach is not the normal approach to prepping / survival podcasts.  We try to keep it upbeat and entertaining. There are others that take a more serious approach and we appreciate their point of view. For the most part this is my fault,  I for one can’t do doom and gloom in large doses.  We tell what are hopefully entertaining and humorous stories, while sometimes getting serious when the circumstance calls for it. If you find this entertaining and enjoy it that's great.  If you find it the wrong tone for the subject, we understand, but please blame me not Jesse. 

To all of you who have been with us, from the beginning or since the last month, thank you.  You have let us keep doing something that let's us embrace a passion, and we hope it brings you something as well. 

It is our hope that you enjoy the podcast and keep listening. Head over to and check them out! Thanks again for listening and giving us this chance to reach out to you. For now keep those emails , Facebook posts and phone calls coming!

find the podcast on iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Facebook and Washington

So Mr. Zuckerberg went to Washington, and the meme creators kicked into high gear.

I did not watch his testimony, and I don't plan to.

Is this really about Cambridge Analytica?  I don't think so.  

If you use or have used Facebook, did you really think you were getting a secure private place to hangout with your friends?  Did you really believe that changes, updates and features are rolled out one after the other for free have no downside?

A few days a week I stop into a local coffee shop called The Brew.  I have a cup of coffee (black) and I sit and type these blogs, answer emails, read the news etc.  The barista is a nice lady who knows what coffee I like and sometimes has it waiting for me by the time I get to the counter.

I have given up a small bit of money and privacy for this.  I pay for the coffee along with a tip, plus I have given her information that she has stored (Jeff = Black Large Coffee).   Now I paid for the coffee and tip for the service.  However, she could start a VIP or frequent customer program where I give her my email and phone number.   Now she is able to send me coupons, notices of entertainment nights, or other incentives for me to come in more often than I already do.  When I do then I spend money and use the VIP card.  This information can be stored, tracked and used to send me more targeted advertisements.   I have know exchanged information to save money.  Or I hope I have.  Now let's say someone comes to the coffee shop and offers her money for her customer data.  She says, "no thanks".

Then they offer her more, and then another offer. Eventually she gives in and some marketing company in Europe knows what kind of coffee I like, maybe what kind of snacks or food.   They know how often I like these things, they know my average amount spent.  Is this worth the money I possibly saved?

Many stores do this.  Best Buy Rewards, hotel rewards, Khols bucks... etc. Why do they do this? Just to show they like you?  No, they want your information, data, statistics.  Your preferences, for demands.  They can figure out a lot.  Your probably income per year, wether your married, have kids, conservative or liberal.  Think of all the information Amazon has on you from you orders, from your shopping even when you don't purchase.

Now let's say they offer free coffee.  Free coffee, good coffee, as much coffee as I want 24 hours a day , 7 days a week.  But they want my email and text message passwords?  Is it worth it?  No person will ever read it themselves, but program will log in and store the data so more coffee, food and activity adds can be sent to me.  Is this worth free coffee everyday, all day?

This is what Facebook does.  Ever notice when you shop online the ads for that product start appearing in you feed? I recently had a Facebook Messenger conversation, not a timeline entry a "private" communication, where I made a joke about one of my dogs needing a doggy CPAP.  When I opened Facebook back up, CPAP adds.

Any thought you had of privacy on Facebook is a delusion.  However,  Facebook has never hid the fact that they sell access.  Access to your eyes.  It is the evolution of advertising. Each person sees the ads that their data says they want to see.  It is the business plan.  Why else do you think it is free? Getting upset at Facebook for mining your data is like getting mad a dog for sniffing another dog's butt.  It may be unpleasant to watch,  but it's all part of owning a dog.  You might as well convince yourself that they are exchanging recipes.  It makes as much sense as pretending Facebook exists to let you have your privacy.

So why the big deal in Washington?

I think its all part of the game.  They don't want us thinking about the $1/3 trillion dollar spending bill that was just passed.  They don't want you thinking of the real cost of a missile war in Syria. Teachers are on strike, Obama care continues to be less effective at keeping medical costs down.  Opioids are killing people, and those that don't die and forced off what they are now addicted to with little or no idea how to proceed without breaking the law.  Slight of hand on a national level.  Get everyone is an uproar about Facebook with one hand so they don't see what the other hand is doing.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Blaming the lion for the easy kill

A lot of news is being made this week about teacher pay in Oklahoma.

Let me start off with these admissions:

1:  I am not, nor will ever be a teacher.  Not on your life.  Hitler and Stalin will be riding sleds and having snowball fights in hell before that happens.

2: I do not now, nor have ever lived in Oklahoma

3: I do not have Bachelor Degree, Masters Degree or a PHD.  I dropped out of college after two years with no student debt.

Some of the most influential people in my life were teachers.

I owe some teacher more than I could ever repay (especially to the ones that are dead).

However.  I think we are overlooking an issue here.

How have we let college students graduate with bachelors, masters and phd's when they have no idea of how to shop or or negotiate a job?

Seriously,  who spends the amount of money that it costs to get a degree and then accepts a $24,000 a year job, with your only hope for a raise being a politician's promise?

Where does this make any financial sense?
  • A bachelor's degree program in education typically ranges from $25,000 at state universities to$100,000 or more at private universities. According to a 2010 report by College Board[3] , the average tuition and fees were $7,605 per year for in-state tuition or $19,595 for out-of-state tuition at public colleges and universities. This equals an average cost of $30,400 (resident) or $78,400 (non-resident) for a four-year bachelor's degree, not including room and board, which averages an extra $8,545 per year.
An average of $30,400 for instate, bachelors degree.  So you are in debt more than you make a year. This does not sound like a good deal to me.  But I'm a libertarian capitalist.  

I understand that some do this out of altruism.  Except once you demand pay isn't is less that altruistic?

If someone offers you a bad deal and you take the bad deal, are you not partially to blame?  Do you blame the lion when a gazelle slathers itself its self in steak sauce and climbs into the lions mouth?

I see it like predatory lenders.  If I am offered a short term loan at 50% interest, and I take it, then I am partially at fault.

Now don't get me wrong,  I think we should pay teachers.  They want to do a job that I don't want to do, much like plumbers.  I don't want to be one, but I'm glad they are there when I need them. 

But why are we OK under-educating our college graduates in the way of negotiating?  In negotiating you have got to be ready to walk away if the deal is not right. 

We have done these teachers and disservice twice.  First in college and second in the work place.
However, I was just informed today (if true) that the teachers have not received a raise in 10 years.  What took them so long to walk? Really?  10 years and you continued to think, "this year the promise the reneged on last year will work."? 

Not only do I think they should have walked earlier, they should have never taken the job in the first place! These are supposed to be intelligent people.  Why are we ok with them making emotional pie in the sky decisions? Should'nt we want more from our educators?  Should not we demand logic and reason? If they can't use it in their own finances then how can we expect it in the classroom?

Once again, I think they are right to walk, but they should have walked away from signing the first contract. They really should have walked away after year 4, 5 or 6 after promises of raises fell flat.

Stress tests and public restrooms

So you’re getting ready for a trip. Maybe it’s a 4 hour trip across the state, or maybe its a 13 hour drive for a business trip.  ...