Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-28

  • @marenkate Girl you amaze me. in reply to marenkate #
  • [Reactuate] Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-21 http://bit.ly/dyYXO5 #
  • PS Tutorial Video On How To Add Bubbles http://su.pr/3G0mew #
  • "Trust in law is an essential condition of freedom. Distrust skews behavior toward failure." – Philip Howard #
  • Don't think he really gives a solution, but good. RT @cyantist: Philip Howard's TED talk on simplifying law now up http://short.to/18etb #
  • @S1DC You do know the Hitler rule of argument correct? in reply to S1DC #
  • @S1DC In an argument the first person to invoke Hilter loses. in reply to S1DC #
  • @DeslockDarkstar Probably an exception to the rule. in reply to DeslockDarkstar #
  • "Reductio ad Hitlerum" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum #
  • Did you know that one of the things little candy hearts say now is "Tweet me" #
  • "I have been taught that in the worst of times despair is still the work of evil." My favorite line for the Deed of Paksenarrion #
  • @masonworld Yeah its your fault. I knew you were shifty. in reply to masonworld #
  • Getting ready to do taxes. #
  • The Women of Curling. Photography is Horrible, but the idea is unique. http://su.pr/1prCua #
  • I hate the government right now. OK, I hated them before now, but more after computing my taxes. #
  • @richardtallent Man, I hated doing them once, I don't want to do them again. 🙂 in reply to richardtallent #
  • When running from the cops, maybe trying to run security at a military base isn't the best idea. http://su.pr/9qH1dO #
  • Any snowboarders out there? A friend is giving away gear. http://su.pr/23brwU #
  • How Fast Can You Do a Headshot? http://su.pr/2Pi07f #
  • When I started going through my shoot with Jess Robinson I had to create a whole rating for "acting goofy". #
  • Now to learn and practice this RT @freelancer720: Courage is to move from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. #
  • Last Light Review http://su.pr/1w2AUR #
  • OH Ad for horse show "You will see them perform fabulous leaps in the air above the ground." #
  • Playboy model Jess Robinson is coming to HSS for our March Fine Art Nude workshop http://su.pr/3SrBic #
  • I started watching D&D related videos on YouTube and my internet connection stopped working right. #
  • I favorited a YouTube video — Vin Diesel on Dungeons and Dragons http://youtu.be/JQUEQOyIvfk?a #
  • Uploaded images for every day this week and next to the blog of model Zinn Star. #
  • Valerie Whitaker is without a doubt the most photogenic person I know. Retouching images from last year and am amazed. #
  • My wife is doing Tim Ferris' reacquiring a language method that I sent her. She's actually doing one of my weird self-help things. 🙂 #
  • Zinn Star Glamour Headshot http://su.pr/6RmVRR #
  • Back from Gander Mountain where I got my buddy gunned up. #
  • @jasonvo No focused on business but Beyond Fear by Bruce Schneier is a good book on approaching risk rationally. http://bit.ly/93ps63 in reply to jasonvo #
  • TRIVIA: Omaha Steaks is the largest user of dry ice in America, maybe the world. #
  • http://twitpic.com/156l3t watching. #
  • This movie has a great sound track. http://twitpic.com/156wt2 #
  • Ep 38 – Photographer Joe "Yayo" Medina http://su.pr/2tAYVt #
  • Took a friend to the gun store to help him shop. He keeps thanking me. I told him it was like asking me to help at a bikini contest, no prb #
  • Getting ready to do a girls with guns shoot with Shannon Purdy. The Mrs, my assistant is bring the firearms this time. #
  • Q of the day: How long would it take you to walk home from work? Me 18 miles 4-6 hours. #
  • Zinn Star Glamour Headshot 2 http://su.pr/1b7QgG #
  • http://icio.us/i3xmvi #
  • @iamthescarlett That's uncanny. in reply to iamthescarlett #
  • Amazing world we live in. Just help my son in Austin find a bus stop and could look at aerial views of the streets as he walked down them. #
  • Evernote's inability to sync return characters is starting to really mess me up. #
  • It is strange going to church alone, to a diff service, and being early. http://twitpic.com/15vdz3 #
  • Off to the gun show where I won't spend more than $200. Unless they have an mp15-22 for under $400. #
  • Ain't gonna pay $8 to go to the gun show for an hour. #
  • Getting an H1n1 shot #

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Last Light Review

This is my first survival literature review and is for Terri Blackstock’s Last Light, the first in her Restoration Series.

In my intro to reviewing survival literature I talked about two kinds of survival stories. This book is a regular people story.

The Survival Scenario: EMP

The book starts with what appears to be an EMP attack. Everything electronic stops working, planes fall out of the sky, phones don’t work, cars don’t work.

But this is an EMP attack on steroids. Even when you turn on something electronic that wasn’t effected they break. Including things like generators.

The story centers around one family, the Bannings, in Birmingham Alabama. They are an upper middle class suburban family with 3 kids. The oldest Dani, has just graduated college and landed a job as a reporter in Washington DC. Her and her father have just landed back in Birmingham when the lights go out.

The Book as a Book

The book is well written. Once I started reading it I couldn’t stop, which to me is the sole arbiter of how good a book is. The characters are well formed, if stupid on a number of levels, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

The plot has some interesting a subtle twists and turns. This is very much about a suburban neighborhood. There are no external threats in this book, but a very interesting murder mystery from the beginning.

If you go looking for the book, look in the Christian fiction section. I don’t think the book is all that Christian – yes the main characters are Christian and at one point in the book they decided to allow their faith to guide their post-apocalyptic lifestyle. Patriots characters are just as Christian, but since the book didn’t have a Christian publisher it doesn’t end up in the getto.

I don’t know if this is a mark of good writing, that is can evoke such a strong reaction, or bad, because I hated the character so. I hated one of the characters so much by the end of the book, I probably won’t read anymore in the series. About 3/4 of the way through the book I was hoping Dani would just get herself killed and put us out of our misery.

There is also very good social understanding in this book. Terri deals well with how people interact with their suburban neighbors, whom they hardly know. She deals with teenage rebellion which is a luxury we can afford in an affluent society. Issues of race were also well done with people on both sides understanding their own prejudices and trying to deal with them correctly.

Survival Lessons

This book taught me a couple of things.

Water

The suburb the Bannings live has its own lake, so they have a source of water. They don’t talk about purifying it much, but it is a source. This means that even though they didn’t prepare, they did have water.

But they didn’t have a way to transport and store it. They had to make daily trips to the lake and at first had nothing to put water in. Water is heavy and you need some kind of cart to carry it.

I live in a suburb called the livable forest and there are a number of streams within walking distance, but I wouldn’t want to have carry even 5 gallons – which I consider the amount one person needs for one day in the Houston heat – back to my house. I need a wheeled something, even a kids wagon would help. I’m thinking a gardening cart with 4 wheels. And of course I need something to hold that water in to put in the cart.

Bicycles

There is quite a bit of travel that happens in the book. There are often discussions of horses in a post-apocalyptic worlds, but the thing that fascinated me was how incredibly useful a bicycle could be. People could get most places in Birmingham on a bike. At one point someone road from Washington DC to Birmingham on a bike (over 700 miles).

If you think about it bikes are a great multiplier.

I generally think the average person could walk 20 miles a day. Maybe more. A runner can run a marathon in 4 hours, so a person should be able to walk one in 8-12 hours.

But a bike will multiply that by at least 3. The equivalent for bicycles of a marathon is a century, which is 100 miles. This guy did 2465 miles across America in 45 days. Avg 55 miles/day, longest day 126 miles.

Most people have bicycles, few have horses.

Conclusion

It was a good well written book about normal people and what they did after the grid went down. I came away thankful that my kids were not as big a brats as the Bannings were. 🙂 And I know it is true because after Hurricane Ike we spend a week grid down, and my boys never complained or snuck off.

There are some good ideas about how you can deal with grid down situations even if you didn’t prepare, and you can see how somethings you could do now would make a big difference.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-21

  • [Reactuate] Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-14 http://bit.ly/9NdFFU #
  • This ain't right. Snuggie for people is bad enough. http://twitpic.com/13gj9m #
  • I've decided I don't like being a blood elf after a quest requiring me to assassinate a dwarf. I'm back to being alliance. Dark Elf Druid. #
  • Guy #1 Yo, why haven't you followed me on Twitter yet?Guy #2 Man, I don't even pay attention to you when you talk! #
  • Via the Mrs. This site is hilarious. Overheard in NYC. http://bit.ly/17oMkX #
  • Just thought about a model "Dang she's pretty. I may not like her, but she's pretty." #
  • Tonight getting some stuff done and NOT playing WOW it it is. #
  • Just spent an hour making a Screenflow video and when I went to save at the end I wouldn't. Should have done that update first. #
  • Luckily I could do an export, so I have the finished video, just not the SC project. #
  • I figured out which clip wasn't Qualtizied correctly and deleted it. Then it saved. So I have the project. #
  • @richardtallent Panels aren't really the issue, they last forever. If better come out, buy more. Its the batteries that have to be replaced. in reply to richardtallent #
  • Digging through backed up P&M email. Have given feed back on two new model/photog networking site today. One looks really good. #
  • All P&M email handled. #
  • Is it still bubble tea if it doesn't have tapioca in it? Having a little afternoon cream tea. #
  • I think I like Bing maps better than google maps. #
  • Rereading greatest work of high fantasy ever, the Deed of Paksenarrion. New book in that world is coming out March 16. http://bit.ly/9FBDII #
  • @emoontx U R welcome. DofP got paladins and God's relationship 2 man so right. Stared with Book 2 this time. Its a great book to return to. in reply to emoontx #
  • Life is sometimes frustrating. #
  • Just watched the movie Moon. A very original SF movie. Sam Rockwell awesome as ever. #
  • Update top Podcast Fav list. With @Model_Melissa entering at #3 http://bit.ly/9yy90d #
  • Off to shoot commedian and actor Evan King's headshot. http://bit.ly/d7dpjQ #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-14

  • Watching Barbarella. Which all kinds of cheeky awesome. #
  • Creepy woman eating dolls with metal teeth. Controlled by creepy twins. #
  • Blue rabbits!!! #
  • "A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming" – Barbarella #
  • Niece Blue Shower Headshot http://su.pr/4eEE71 #
  • Niece Pull In Bikini http://su.pr/2zsggZ #
  • Planning a trip to NV for a rifle course. #
  • Video player developers. Let me pause while you are buffering. Some times I'd just wait till you have the whole thing. #
  • Some times you just pause perfect by accident. http://tweetphoto.com/10791597 #
  • Do you think they intended these ads to be scary? Green Police Commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq58zS4_jvM #
  • The Best Is The One You Have With You http://su.pr/1uy7Uc #
  • [Reactuate] The Best Is The One You Have With You http://bit.ly/a4pdUy #
  • Online quote of the day. "If your run you'll only die tired" #
  • Tips for being in front of the camera http://su.pr/9fqrAt #
  • @richardtallent What do you like about Aperture 3? To me it seems a catch up release. in reply to richardtallent #
  • Logged into Internet Business Mastery Academy for the first time since Dec 31. #
  • Niece Blue Shower Dress http://su.pr/ASY2XH #
  • Niece Doing Pull Her Way http://su.pr/2clJd2 #
  • 8 Naked Models in the same pose. Diff measurements, but you can't tell in the photographs. http://su.pr/AXwzXa #
  • Am I the only one who can't log into Clickbank and get a security message when submitting the login? #
  • @ClickBank @beaublackwell Seems to be working now. Thanks #
  • We had 3 models scheduled tonight for interviews. 1 showed. #
  • I'm having dizziness this morning and I'm staying home. #
  • Another Niece Bikini Pull http://su.pr/2EKPgs #
  • I have slept 6 hours today since I got up at 8:30 and I'm ready to go back to bed. Arg. I hate being sick. #
  • Ep 36 – Valentine's Day Special http://su.pr/2mcawV #
  • Dropped the Mrs off at the airport and am now back at work. Yeah.. #
  • We had 12 models scheduled for interviews this week. 3 showed up. But they were good ones. #
  • Cold. #
  • [Reactuate] Reviewing Survival Literature http://bit.ly/a2coZE #
  • I'm updating World of Warcraft. 🙂 #
  • Getting ready to start learning about solar power. #
  • Been productive today. Started a compost pile. Got a new grill. Cleaned up yard and garbage cans. Now for some quality time in Azeroth. #

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Reviewing Survival Literature

I’ve been reading a bunch of survivalist literature lately and I thought I should write some reviews. But as I got ready to write my first ones I thought about some over arching things that need to be talked about first.

Fiction vs. How To

There are two kinds of books I’ve been reading. One are fictional stories about survival situations, the other are how to survive non-fiction books. Probably the best example of this are two books by the same author. Both by James Wesley Rawles Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse and How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It.

While Rawles, the man behind the very good Survival Blog, says Patriots is a poorly disguised survival manual, it really isn’t a manual. Hence his creation of How To Survive TEOTWAWKI. Other examples of how to books are Neil Strauss’ Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life(I’ve already reviewed Emergency) , and Fernando Ferfal Aguirre’s The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse. When reviewing how to books I have talk about how the information is presented, how applicable it is, what kind of disaster it is talking about and how accurate I think it is.

When it comes to fiction like, Patriots and books like Terri Blackstock’s Last Light and William R. Forstchen’s One Second After, you give some leaway for the how to aspects of it, and also have talk about how believable the scenario is. Plus the kind of characters that are in the books make a difference.

Prepared Vs Unprepared

When looking at fiction works, you have to take into account what kind of characters are in the book. Are they, like Patriots, hard core suvivalists? Or are they average middle class suburbanites taken completely by surprise, like in Last Light? Or is a small town in the middle of now where Kansas like Jericho?

Survivalists – while I’ll admit to considering myself – are often very hard to stuff that happens in non-survivalist literature. Hence why I wrote my article “In Defense of Jericho“. Non-survivalist will act differently than those prepared.

Also in general survivalist have an idea of how things will go that non-survivalist may not have. Which needs to be talked about.

Realism

Talking about how I think things would have gone. What I think is realistic is a bit of an exercise in futility. Not because I don’t have ideas, just like the authors of the books, but because no one really knows. Every situation is different, every place is different, and people are different. So saying something won’t happen like this is really just opinion. Its opinion when the authors say it and its opinion when I disagree with them. But we can all learn from each other’s perspective.

That’s where I’ll be coming from as I review first Rawles books and Blackstock’s Last Light over the coming weeks.

The Best Is The One You Have With You

I’ve heard this phrase used for everything from guns to cameras. Over the years I’ve slowly added a number of things to my pockets. Every one I thought I’d be fine without, and learned after carrying it for a few days how great it was to have them.

Here’s the best gear I’ve got, ie, the ones I carry daily.

Gun

“The best gun to carry is the one you will have with you when you need it.” I have a CHL in Texas and carry from the time I get dressed until I go to bed. If I have my pants on, I’ve got a gun on my hip.
I carry a Springfield XD 45 “Compact”. This works for me even though it is a pretty big gun. I carry in an Inside the Waistband holster from Houston’s own Comp-Tac. Luckily right now fashion for men makes wearing your shirt untucked fashionable, though the IWB allows me to tuck in my shirt if I have to.

It may seem crazy to talk about fashion in a blog about survival. But the fact is I’m much more likely to be in a social situation where looking like Joe tactical isn’t the best thing for my success, which impacts my survival long term. Business guru Dan Kennedy has an interesting maxim when told that you shouldn’t be judged based on how you dress. He agrees to the idea and then says, “Would you rather be right, or rich?” Wearing a suit, or fashionable shirt will make people react to you differently. Isn’t that worth changing your behavior in an ethical way?

I learned the carry all the time philosophy from Ignatius Piazza of Front Sight. He once discussed the idea some people have to hide guns all over their house or place of business so one would be at hand wherever you needed it. But there are problems with having guns hidden all over the place.

1. They are hidden. You have remember where they are in a crisis situation.

2. They aren’t necessarily really at hand. Even being 4 feet from where you are standing means you have to move to get them.

3. Someone else can find them too. It could be a bad guy who duck behind you desk in a confrontation and discovers the gun you hid there. It could be a visiting 5 year old playing hide and seek.

The easiest way to have a firearm at your finger tips is to have it on your hip. This also allows you to practice your draw and know it is going to be in exactly that place any time you need it.

In discussions with co-workers I have found other people change clothes when they get home, generally into very comfortable pants – like sweat pants or pajama pants – that don’t have a belt to handle the weight of a pistol. It is something to consider.

At first it was a little strange to have that weight there when doing things like watching TV, or laying down reading a book, but you get used to it quickly.

Knife

It is amazing how much you will use something when it is readily to hand. I started carrying a pocket knife years ago. First I had tiny pen knife on my key chain. I’d use it to open packages, and cut things with the tiny scissors.

Then the TSA confiscated this highly dangerous piece of hardware and I was in the market for a new knife.

I started carrying a “real” pocket knife, a Kershaw with one handed opening. This made it even easier to get the knife out and use it, so I did. The little locking piece of plastic on the back the knife that is suppose to hold it closed in your pocket kept breaking off – they fixed it for free, but I still had the fear of the blade coming open in my pocket and slicing into the artery that runs down the front of my leg.

When I decided to get a new knife my friend and fellow preparedness person Hsoi suggested the Leatherman Wave. I bought it and always carry it now. It is a little big, but oh so useful. I’ve used the knife often, plus having pliers and scissors has been priceless. I don’t clip it to my belt because I don’t like stuff on my belt, but I clip it to the top of my pocket so I don’t have to dig for it. Takes a little experience to remember how to twist it in your hand to get the standard blade, but you can open it one handed.

Flashlight

Again my friend Hsoi recommended carrying a flash light, and my training at Frontsight also said you needed one with the button on the back if you get in a gunfight at night. But again I don’t like carrying stuff on my belt. Shopping for lights was also confusing and expensive and I always wondered if I was getting the right thing.
Last November we were looking for something a dark car when my wife pulls a tiny flashlight out of her purse. It was a little over 3 inches long, made of metal, fit into her hand and came on with a click of the button on the bottom. And it was bright, filled the car and blinded me if I looked directly at it.

“Where’d you get that? How much did it cost?” were my first questions.

“At the auto parts store. About $10.”

“I know what I want from the boys for Christmas. Buy 3.” Which is exactly what she did. These may not be the best lights out there, but they were cheap enough I have multiples.

And it fits in my pocket. Which means it is much better than a bigger, more rugged light because it is with me all the time.

The only thing I have against it is black. I don’t like gear that is black because if you drop it in the dark it is nigh impossible to find. When I opened the pack she had already wrapped the center in white electrical tape. We do this often with black gear.

Camera

“The best camera is the one you have with you when you want to get the shot.” Is a camera a piece of survival gear? I don’t know, but once everyone started having them in their phones pictures proliferated.
I use my camera phone to remember all kinds of things now, books I want to come back to, people I just met, places I have been. At the last gun show I went to I took pictures of ammo prices and the banner over the booth so I could compare them and know where to come back to later.

Matter of fact there is an iPhone app from photographer Chase Jarvis called Best Camera because for most photographers the camera you have with you is the one in your phone. I’m a professional photographer with thousands of dollar worth of camera equipment, but more than likely the camera I’ll have when I need to take a picture of something important will be my iPhone.

The one thing you don’t have on most camera phones is any kind of optical zoom. If you want to reach out and take an image that’s what you need – and it is an improvised telescope/binocular. You can find optical zooms on most compact digital cameras. Something the size of a pack of cards will fit in your pocket is something you will carry, and hence the best camera.

Conclusion

If you carry the four things I talked about you will find you use them a lot. Even if you don’t everyday, when you do need them they will seem the greatest thing ever. Try carrying any of these for 30 days and see if wonder how you did without them before.
Lastly, remember the best gun, flashlight, knife, camera, you’ve got are the ones you have with you when you need them. So think about carriablilty when purchasing equipment. Especially stuff you may use on a day by day basis.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-07

  • [Reactuate] Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-01-31 http://bit.ly/aexZCp #
  • Gosh, then was the last time it tweeted? Did anyone miss me? #
  • Good news for me, my office moving back to Kingwood – 10 min from my house – is back on. Put off a month, but back on. #
  • Everyday I hear the Bee Gees in the hall at work. 🙁 #
  • Going to Austin this weekend. Woot. #
  • "Your're Scottish Koren" http://su.pr/3qOvXZ #
  • Big City Docs confront a new reality working in Haiti. "I was in traffic carrying dead bodies. That makes you human." http://su.pr/4lcuXl #
  • RT @chrisdenbow: I need to have @rondavis007 teach me photography. Until then, I simply have to rely on viewing his posts/portfolio #
  • Just discovered a weakness to having your bookmarks in the cloud. Delicious is down. #
  • Niece Red Shower http://su.pr/9RbsZY #
  • Niece Red Shower Bikini http://su.pr/1oknZg #
  • Amazing what pop culture references are in the intro to the 6 Million Dollar Man. http://bit.ly/3eP5gV #
  • "She's breaking up. I can't holder her. She's Breaking up." #
  • "We can rebuild him. We have the technology." #
  • "Better. Stronger. Faster." #
  • @digphotobyfrank Me too. Too bad rights issues are keeping if from coming out on home video in the US. in reply to digphotobyfrank #
  • Just signed up for a class on Solar Living at Houston's Leisure Learning Unlimited. #
  • "We don't dial 911. We dial .357" #
  • Am I the only one who looks through their Netflix que and wonders why that movie is in there? #
  • @marenkate Finally an awesome avatar! in reply to marenkate #
  • Ep 35 – Photographer LB http://su.pr/2KOcgU #
  • Niece Red Shower Bikini From Behind http://su.pr/2pYiPj #
  • Imagining The Fate Of Data After The Apocalypse: http://digg.com/d31HiKL?t #
  • Talked to my eldest on the phone. Neither he nor his roomate knew how to get their mail. Will see him tomorrow. #
  • Just called my wife & told her to pinch a loaf and set it to rise. 🙂 Having pan fried chicken and fresh bread tonight. http://bit.ly/cjls #
  • Having two thermometers means you can't trust either. They are 100 degrees apart. #
  • I think that was the juiciest chicken I've ever had. Crust was a little over done. #
  • After paying bills I'm going to watch the undoubtedly cheery "American Experience: Influenza 1918" #
  • Yep it was depressing. It killed 50,000 Americans in 11 months. More than all the wars of the 20th century combined. #
  • Almost back home. Had fun but I'm feeling kind of crappy. I think Austin made me sick. #

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