Another TV Solicitation

Well, another TV solicitation is making the rounds. Here is the email I received this morning.

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Greetings.

I am a casting director at Metal Flowers Media in Los Angeles.

We cast shows like Storage Wars, American Guns, One Man Army, Ice Road Trucker, and Frontiersmen.

We are now casting a new show for a major cable network. This is a show about the real world of family prepping:
We are looking for families who understand the reality of current worldwide pandemics, threats, etc.

We are looking for families who are eagerly and aggressively preparing for the worst, to protect their families.

This show will have a team of experts to help families take their preparations to the next level.

We are searching for families with a minimum of 4 members, and kids over the age of 10.

I was hoping you might be able to pass along my information to anyone who you think might be interested.

Anyone who is interested, can call Sarah Mahoney Furlong at 310-857-8575 or contact us at metalflowersmedia.com.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Sarah Furlong
Casting Producer
Metal Flowers Media
1149 N. Gower St. Ste. 279
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Contact Number: 310-857-8575
Web// www.metalflowersmedia.com
FB// facebook.com/metalflowersmedia
Twitter// @metalflowers

——–

Now, given that at least a couple of people who have appeared on such prepper shows have since run into trouble with the law due to what they talked about on those shows, I’d hesitate to ever get involved.

I also have no clue who their “team of experts” are either. Personally, I’ve often said there could be significant value in a prepper show that actually teaches skills and shares knowledge without resorting to exhibiting preppers as being akin to a circus sideshow act. But, TV being what it is, I doubt something like that would ever happen. Heaven forbid viewers actually learn something, y’know?

Of course, appearing on such shows is also a serious violation of maintaining good OPSEC (operations security). It makes little logical sense to appear on a nationwide TV show detailing all your preps as all that does is tell everyone exactly what you have and where you are. Why not just put all your supplies out on your front lawn with a “FREE” sign and be done with it?

And for those who think there will be some sort of financial windfall sufficient to mitigate the risks of appearing on such a show? Think again. Many of these folks aren’t paid at all or if they are, it is nothing more than a pittance.

Consider yourself warned.

Tornadoes = Flat Tires

One of the many things to be aware of when it comes to severe weather like tornadoes is the impact they can have on transportation.

Look at all the debris left behind in a tornado’s wake. We learn early on in school how incredibly powerful a tornado can be. I still remember the example of a piece of straw being driven into the trunk of a tree. Those are some mighty strong winds. Naturally, the branches, broken glass, and other debris won’t just be confined to yards and fields. It will litter the roads just as much.

Trying to drive through this will inevitably lead to flat tires. You’d be wise to invest in a full size spare tire for each vehicle, as well as the means to quickly repair small holes through using products like Fix-A-Flat or Slime. A small air compressor that will plug into your DC power outlet will be welcome too.

Naturally, in the aftermath of a tornado, the best thing to do is stay home until the debris can be cleared. But, if you’re in a situation where you need to get to a hospital in a hurry, it’ll be tough to do that on a couple flat tires.

Cloud Storage

In our ever more data heavy lives, cloud storage has become more and more popular. The idea is you can store books, music, and just about every other form of digital information offsite while still being able to access it any time through your electronic devices. For example, rather than clutter up your e-reader with hundreds of files, just store them in “the cloud” and download them when you want to read them. Instead of all those media files hogging your computer’s resources, you just download what you need right then, then put it back when you’re done.

Kinda cool, right?

Well, maybe.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of cloud storage. Granted, I do use Dropbox frequently but that’s not pure cloud storage either. With Dropbox, I can save files on my computer and every other computer I own will automatically download the same files, giving me almost immediate access to them on any of my devices. Further, just like traditional cloud storage, I can use any other device to access the same files by going to their website. This allows me to work on my book manuscripts and other projects from pretty much anywhere.

But, I don’t like the idea of using it for valuable/sensitive information, books, music, and some other digital files. Imagine going into Barnes & Noble, buying a couple books, then being told you can access them anytime you want, just call the store and they’ll send you a link to them online. Um, no thanks. If I buy a book, I want to be able to read it any time I want, without having to jump through any hoops.

What if something goes wrong with a server somewhere and I can’t access my data? Right now, the only thing that could really go wrong with me pulling a book out of my personal library might be I can’t find the damn thing on my bookshelves. That’s my problem, no one else’s.

What if a file becomes corrupt? Thus far, I’ve yet to ever pull a book from my shelves and find it suddenly lost a dozen pages in the middle.

What if data gets stolen? I have a list of passwords for all my various frequently visited websites. Someone would have to break into my home, get passed all my security, and find it to be able to access that information. A hacker in Nigeria ain’t gonna get very far in that attempt.

What if the power goes out? It is bad enough that many preppers choose to store hundreds of pages of potentially critical information on their own hard drives, where it I guess theoretically could be recovered if a power source were found. If all that information is on a cloud somewhere, all the rain in the world probably won’t get it to fall during or after an emergency.

Getting Hot Out There!

The last couple weeks have been pretty darn hot here in the Upper Midwest as well as other places around the country. Frequently during these first heat waves of the year, we scramble to get outside and enjoy the weather while getting things done in the yard and gardens. However, you need to be careful you don’t overdo it.

While we did have a very mild winter, our bodies still need a little time to get used to 90 degree days. This goes for kids as well as adults. We get so caught up in the work we’re doing, or the games we’re playing, we forget to hydrate and end up feeling sick and dizzy.

Make a point of stopping work regularly to drink water. Make sure you’re wearing sunscreen too as sometimes those first burns of the season will sneak up on you. If you’re working in the yard or garden, consider a wide brimmed hat to keep the sun off your face and head.

If you haven’t done so already, now is also probably a good time to take all the winter gear out of your trunk and store it away until fall. Add a couple more water bottles to your vehicle emergency kit too.

Don’t Be So Defensive!

Preppers and survivalists have been much maligned in the media over the years. Seems like if we’re not being called domestic terrorists, we’re being called utter whack jobs. Even as we’re seeing more and more attention being focused on prepping, through shows like Doomsday Preppers and such, we still feel at times that we’re just being ridiculed.

And, to be honest, after seeing Doomsday Preppers, most of those folks are really not the people I want representing me in the media.

So, it stands to reason that from time to time when the subject comes up, we get a bit touchy. An offhanded comment by a coworker about “those tin foil hat wearing ‘survivalists’ (complete with air quotes)” is enough to set our teeth on edge. Occasionally, we might make a fervent wish that if a comet were to hit Earth, it lands right in our coworkers living room.

For many of us, prepping is just part of who we are. It is almost ingrained in our DNA like hair and eye colors. Sure, we might feel a bit slighted when we hear someone poking fun at survivalists. That’s normal. But, stop being so defensive about it. There’s little to be gained by pointing your finger at them and hollering, “Yeah? Well when the next pandemic rolls around, don’t come knocking on MY door for help!”

Some people just don’t get it. You can play “Facts vs. Volume” all day long with them and they aren’t going to change their minds. Don’t waste your time or energy on it. Just keep on keepin’ on, knowing you’re doing the right thing, the prudent thing, by prepping for come what may.

However, if someone does show some interest in learning more about the subject, do everything you can to encourage them. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people out there who are genuinely curious about prepping. They mean absolutely no harm by asking questions. Take the time to discuss their concerns and give them advice if you can. We were all newbies, once upon a time.

Take a Break

It is important to LIVE your life, rather than just spend every waking moment preparing for what may come later. As preppers and survivalists, sometimes we lose sight of that. We become so involved with prepping that our day-to-day lives sort of slip by unnoticed. Eventually, we come to the realization we’ve missed out on a lot of the present because we were so concerned about the future.

I want each and every one of you to take some time this upcoming holiday weekend to have some fun.

Invite some friends over for a cookout.

Play catch with your kids.

Go see a movie at the budget theater and splurge on the large popcorn with extra butter.

Just sit outside at night and look at the stars.

We’re going to have my in-laws over on Monday for a BBQ. We’ll listen to some tunes and just relax. I’ll be working the grill and we’ll have burgers with all the fixings.

Well, that’s the plan IF I can get our bathroom remodel done before then. By the gods do I HATE working on plumbing! Seriously, if you live in or near southeastern Wisconsin, I’ll give you a signed copy of my upcoming book, Prepper’s Home Defense, when it comes out in October if you can help me get this project done in the next few days.

Remember, life is to be lived. Go out and live it.

Diversifying Your Food Storage

When planning your long-term food storage plan, it is important to not concentrate on any one type of supply and instead spread out. In other words, don’t rely strictly upon canned goods purchased at the grocery store or just have buckets of rice and beans socked away for a rainy day.

Let’s look at the different options available to you.

1) Commercial canned goods: These are the canned food products you can buy at the grocery store. Veggies, fruit, and meat for the most part. Relatively inexpensive, moderate shelf life. The good thing is you can find these pretty much anywhere and picking up just a couple cans every time you go shopping won’t be a huge expense. The bad thing is if you are used to eating fresh food, canned veggies in particular will sometimes taste…off. The food can also get a bit mushy over time. In a crisis, that may not matter a whole lot though.

2) MREs and other pouch foods: Many of these taste great and are full of nutrition. But they are expensive. Buying them online is often cheaper than in the sporting goods department of your local retailer. These are great to have on hand for a short-term emergency but are usually too expensive to stockpile for a long-term solution to food needs.

3) Buckets of beans and rice: Very inexpensive and when stored properly will last years. Mix in a bit of meat and/or vegetables and you have a meal that will keep a belly full for a while. But, for those not accustomed to such meals, rice and beans two or three times a day can get old quick. Sure, you’ll survive but appetite fatigue may set in quickly.

4) Freeze-dried foods: These last darn near forever when stored properly and will provide quite a bit of variety for meals. But, they can be sort of pricey and for those not used to eating them, there may be a bit of a learning curve until the system gets used to the new food.

If you are planning for an extreme long-term event, you also need to look toward producing your own food through gardening and such. While even as long as a year or two is doable when it comes to food storage, stocking enough to provide for a family of four beyond that length of time may be a bit tough. Not impossible, just not a piece of cake.

As with any other aspect of prepping, I shy away from putting all my eggs in one basket. For food storage, diversify your preps. Have some canned goods and pouch foods for short-term emergencies as well as buckets of beans, rice, and freeze-dried goods for long-term use. Add heirloom seeds and other necessities for providing your own food further down the road.

Reducing Debt is a Survival Strategy

Most of us probably have more credit card debt than we’d like, right? Not only are we paying through the nose with the interest, keeping up with the payments really puts a ding in our monthly budget.

Reducing debt will give you additional purchasing power for your preps as well as give you some breathing room every month. Here is a proven strategy to get out from under the debt umbrella.

Make a list of all your credit accounts, including the balance currently owed as well as the minimum payment due. Place them in order, from the lowest balance to the highest. Starting this month, pay as much as you possibly can afford toward the lowest balance, while still making at least the minimum payments on the others. Continue doing this until that lowest balance reaches zero. Then, take the money you were paying on that debt and put it toward the next lowest balance, adding it to whatever you were paying for the minimum due.

Important — don’t shortchange that next payment plan! For example, let’s say you were paying $75 a month toward your lowest balance. At the same time, you were paying the minimum payment (say, $25) on the next lowest balance. When that first one is paid in full, you’ll then pay $100 a month toward the next one ($75 you were paying previously + $25 minimum monthly due).

Once accounts are paid in full, don’t use them anymore but don’t close them out either. The reason for that is two fold. First, closing accounts negatively impacts your credit rating (I know, sounds stupid, but it is true). Second, you just might need that extra purchasing power due to an impending disaster.

I also don’t advocate declaring bankruptcy unless it is truly your only viable option. I realize for some folks there is just no other way. But for lots of people, it is nothing more than an easy out. BK has a tremendous impact on your credit rating and it is a long, arduous process to get out from under it.

Logic Exercises — Answers

Here are the answers to yesterday’s logic exercises.

1) Barney Dribble left the Soul-Ace Hotel and walked toward the parking lot. Without the benefit of moonlight or any artificial light source, he was able to spot his black car 100 yards away. How was this possible?

Barney could see the car quite easily as it was the middle of the day.

2) Shadow discovered Sandy lying on her side in a puddle of water and broken glass. When the doctor arrived he pronounced her dead. Since Sandy had no cuts on her body, how did she die?

Sandy is a goldfish and the doctor was her owner.

3) Scheming Sally stood before her teacher and said, “I was on my way to school and I cut through the park like I always do. Since I was early, I sat down on a bench to rest. I put my essay in my lunch bag, and set it beside me. Just then I noticed a black squirrel run past and scamper up a nearby tree. He was halfway up the tree when he suddenly froze and slowly backed down the tree trunk before taking off. I was curious to see what had frightened him so I looked up the tree and saw a red scarf. I climbed up to get it and just then a big dog grabbed my lunch bag with my essay in it and ran off.” How does the teacher know Sally is lying?

You ever see a squirrel BACK down a tree before?

Puzzles and riddles like these are great ways to exercise your brain. In an emergency, the ability to think quickly and logically are tremendous assets. I encourage you to spend a bit of time every single day exercising that lump that resides between your ears. That “muscle” more than any other in the body is the one that will likely save your life.

Logic Exercises

Being able to think logically and use observation skills are key elements to survival, whether we’re talking about walking down a street in a dodgy neighborhood or working through a post-collapse scenario.

Some years ago, I bought a board game called Mindtrap. The entire game consists of logic puzzles. To solve them properly, one needs to think things through carefully and consider all the angles. I thought I’d share a few of these puzzles with you today. Feel free to post your answers in the comments below. I’ll share the correct responses tomorrow.

1) Barney Dribble left the Soul-Ace Hotel and walked toward the parking lot. Without the benefit of moonlight or any artificial light source, he was able to spot his black car 100 yards away. How was this possible?

2) Shadow discovered Sandy lying on her side in a puddle of water and broken glass. When the doctor arrived he pronounced her dead. Since Sandy had no cuts on her body, how did she die?

3) Scheming Sally stood before her teacher and said, “I was on my way to school and I cut through the park like I always do. Since I was early, I sat down on a bench to rest. I put my essay in my lunch bag, and set it beside me. Just then I noticed a black squirrel run past and scamper up a nearby tree. He was halfway up the tree when he suddenly froze and slowly backed down the tree trunk before taking off. I was curious to see what had frightened him so I looked up the tree and saw a red scarf. I climbed up to get it and just then a big dog grabbed my lunch bag with my essay in it and ran off.” How does the teacher know Sally is lying?