Cogitation – The Woosification Of American Men

A buddy turned me onto the Creek Stewart survivalist show called Fat Guys In The Woods on the Weather Channel.  It’s not exciting, it’s not fancy, it’s not high drama but it is a great show to learn about bushcraft and the woosification of American men.

Each episode revolves around three couch potatoes who are stuck in a rut of some form and need to make a change in their life.  Creek’s goal is to help his rotund padawans build self confidence to move forward in their lives outside the woods.  Creek’s approach is similar to that used by Outward Bound but revolves primarily around primitive wilderness skills.  The guys enter the woods and Stewart walks them through shelter building, food acquisition as well as water acquisition and purification.  By the end of their week in the woods the fat guys have developed some basic bushcraft skills which they get to put to the test by striking out on their own for the final day and night.

For thousands of years, man lived wild and our triumph over mother nature defined who we were. We were rugged; we were strong and as we evolved our ingenuity led to towering achievements. We secured our place at the top of the food chain and now we have the waistline to prove it… Get off the couch and come out to the woods. Creek Stewart

The show seems to go out of their way to pick guys that haven’t spent a lot of time outside or in primitive environments and most of the fat guys seem to rise to the occasion and learn important life lessons but what amazes me is how many of these grown men fall to pieces when it comes time to kill game to eat.  Whatever happened to Dad and Grandpa taking their young men into the woods and teaching them where their food really comes from?

Before your steak hits the grill it had a face and that’s OK…that’s the way the food chain works, the way God intended it and it is a very good thing to be at the top of the chain.  There’s no reason to be squeamish about taking a more active part in dispatching and butchering game and livestock…in my opinion it’s not just a good set of skills (dispatching & butchering animals) to have but is also is a more honest approach than believing that your protein comes from cellophane and Styrofoam.  Preparedness goals aside…shying away from taking part in the acquisition and preparation of one’s protein is just another symptom of the woosification of American men.

Fat Guys In The WoodsThat said, check out Fat Guys In The Woods, it’s a much better show than the majority of what passes for entertainment these days…oh and check out the incredible bug out vehicle that Creek pulls up in at the beginning of most episodes…a lot of us followed him making this truck on his Willow Haven Outdoor website over the past couple of years.

Survival Library Review – Pole Shift Survival Information

Pole Shift Survival Information – Survival Library Review

This review is about a very interesting web-site that one internet denizen described as a “survival library on crack”.  We here at Prepography have to agree.

Pole Shift Survival Information bills itself as being for “for those who wish to improve their chances for survival after the coming pending pole shift. ”  Don’t let that description fool you though.  The site is much more than that.  This site presents the online reader with a survival library that is a treasure trove of useful information.  Even if you aren’t worried about the potential for a pole shift the information presented would come in handy for any survival or TEOTWAWKI situation.

Pole Shift Survival Information is a bare bones site with over 4,000 files available.  The content list covers a multitude of subjects from A to Z.  Actually, the last subject currently listed is  “Worms”, so that would be A-W.  Each topic links to a page listing PDFs on that subject.  The PDFs range from practical “How-To’s” to more in-depth articles with subjects including rebuilding infrastructure, family planning and more.  The PDFs are mostly scans from a variety of sources including government and educational handouts as well as trade magazines and self sufficiency/homestead magazines like Back Woods Home and Mother Earth News.  The PDFs are also downloadable, so the reader could transfer them to an off-line source for future reference.  This is a fantastic survival library for the Prepper or self-sufficiency minded to use.

I highly recommends visiting the site, as it  hasn’t been updated since Jul 2013. This site could sit unchanged for years to come, or it could disappear tomorrow.  Use it while you can

Conflicted-The Survival Card Game Review

Recently, a friend said, “Hey I’ve got this new card game that looks like it would be a hoot.”  He handed me the deck, and briefly gave an explanation of the idea behind the game.  I thumbed through the deck, and replied, “Looks interesting, we’ll have to play some time.”  Several weeks later, we decided to do a cook out and give the game a try.  I purposefully did not look the game up online so as not to taint my view of it by reading promotional material or other reviews.  All I knew going in was that it was a called Conflicted-The Survival Card Game and that it presented moral dilemmas for the players to discuss.  Game night finally arrived, and Mrs. Grumpy G, or as I more affectionately call her “She Who Must Be Obeyed” arrived on target.  The ladies made small talk, while our host and I sat on the deck watching dinner cook.  After dinner and a few drinks, we retired to the front room and commenced the night’s journey.

Conflicted-The Survival Card Game Review – What you get:

The publisher describes the game as:

Conflicted: The Survival Card Game is a brand new way for survivalists to share their philosophies about prepping. It’s a game that can be a serious conversation between established prepper groups, or it can be a fun way to introduce someone to the concept of prepping.  Conflicted helps you show other preppers why you are prepping, why your reason for prepping matters, and what your survival philosophy is when choosing life vs your morals. 

The quality of the cards is good.  They are nice and thick.  On one side is the game’s logo and deck number (there are two decks currently out).  The other side contains a short blurb describing the moral dilemma you face.  The scenarios range from mundane to “who’s the sick puppy that came up with that one?”  The mundane would be something like, “You have advanced warning of a coming disaster, and only $200.  What would you purchase, before the panic buying of the masses kicks in.”  On the other end of the spectrum would be “A witch doctor shows up at your compound offering gold and ammo for the livers of the dead littering the landscape.  You are short on both.  Would you risk disease, and potential death collecting livers for him?”  For the record, that was probably my favorite card of the night, because the answer was so simple, at least to me.  I won the card by stating without hesitation that I would put a bullet between his eyes and feed him to the pigs.  That kind of evil can’t be dealt with in a civil manner.

The lettering and the scenario side of the cards is white, on a black background.  Font size is a little small so those with weaker eyes should bring reading glasses.  In fact, this is where my only complaint about the card deck itself comes in.  There are a pair of rules card in the deck as well.  Rules are quite simple.  Basically, one player draws a card, and reads the scenario to the player on their left.  The other players then grade the answer and award the reading player from 0 to 3 points, giving them a score for that round.  Play passes around the group, until everyone has had a turn; ending the current round.   Scores are tallied for each player, and after the end of 12 rounds the player with the highest score wins.  There are currently 2 decks available, the basic deck, and an add-on with more scenarios.  I gather from the publisher’s web site that more are in the works.  They even have a scenario submission link on their home page.

The Players:

Our group of players consisted of a mixed bag of personalities.  There were two men, and three women.  I and the other gent are both versed in survivalism/preparedness, even if we have slightly different approaches on the subject and are both military vets.  The women had all been exposed to the prepper world, even if they don’t have 100% buy in.  All three fall into the mamma bear category but they each brought their own world view to the table.  Mrs. Grumpy G is a bit conservative, even if she can’t quite express it at times and occasionally gets tripped up by the liberal media.  By the end of the night I realized that Mrs. Host was what I good naturedly calling a ‘stealth hippy’.  Her answers were just as often guided by her heart and need to be “good” as they were by reason.  Don’t interpret that as necessarily a bad thing (more on that later).   The last person, Auntie D could be considered a compassionate pragmatist giving equal weight to doing the “right” thing as what’s called for by the ‘reality’ of the scenarios.   After we all got settled, drinks were topped off, and the game started.

Conflicted Card GameThe Game:

We quickly modified the rules to have the active player pick a card and read the scenario to the group.  Everyone, in turn, explains how they would handle that particular situation.  The reader then decides who gave the best answer, in their eyes, and hands the card to that player.  Like I said, the scenarios run the gamut.  Some are straight up moral questions.  Some with easy answers, like the witch doctor one mentioned while others engender a more philosophical approach.  Others, are nuts and bolts questions like “What would you buy, and why?”  After a couple of revolutions around the table, it became apparent that each player’s outlook on life flavored their answers.  The men in our group tended to lean more towards swift justice, prudence, and violence of action when necessary.  When it came to matters of honor, we tended to value it more than safety.  When presented with enough evidence to suggest our sacrifice wouldn’t be in vain we were willing.  The women tended to answer more with their hearts; some more than others .  The only exception seemed to be with scenarios that involved children at which point the women became a vicious cut-throat bunch.   Also… apparently, neither Mr. Host or I have enough feminine hygiene products on hand for the end of the world.  We agreed to work on that.

Surprisingly…or maybe not… the women took an early lead in the game.  I honestly think they thought we were a couple of blood thirsty nut jobs at one point.  Mrs. Grumpy G, even after being exposed to me for 22 years gave me a couple of sideways looks as I answered questions.  That’s OK… she generated a couple of WTF moments for me as well.  As the game went on and we explained our answers more the men began to win more cards.  Some of the cards have a theological bent; like “Would you deny God, just to live?”  Interestingly, these cards created a lot of sidebar discussion.  It gave us a chance to discuss how Christians are supposed to deal with these questions compared to how we actually do it.  About midway through the game it dawned on me that what we were seeing was a rough psychological profile of each person developing.  It also demonstrated how the different personalities in a group can complement or contrast with each other.  I made a comment about that fact and Mr. Host said Conflicted was absolutely a tool that could be used in that manner.  As the game went on, I decided that if we were thrown into an cataclysmic end of the world situation, the group playing the game would probably work well.  Mr. Host and I would be the hammers when the problems were nails, and the women would be there to ensure that we didn’t decide that every problem was a nail.  They were compassionate but Mr. Host and I were able to get them to admit that sometimes… in trying times… very unsavory things must be done and that doing them doesn’t necessarily forfeit one’s humanity.

Conclusion:

The game was enjoyable and not solely based on the company.  The moral scenarios are thought provoking, and if you enjoy discussing ethics, you’ll get that in spades.  The nuts and bolts questions give a good opportunity to educate and pass on knowledge to the less seasoned members of the group.  Used as a tool for exploring group dynamics, I think the developers hit it out of the ball park.  I learned some stuff about others in the group that kind of surprised me, and I know I surprised a couple of the other players.  In the end, if you are inclined to this sort of thing, Conflicted is a game that lends itself to an enjoyable evening.  I’m not sure about the replay ability of it.  If you played with the same group more than a couple of times you would need to purchase the add-on decks, or bring new bodies in to the mix to keep it fresh.  There were some discussion in our gaming group about inviting a couple that are decidedly NOT of the survivalist strain to join a future game night.  One member thought it wouldn’t be a good idea, while I just think it would be a hoot to see how they handled it.   In the digital age, I think another great way to play this game would be hosted on-line.  All in all, I think I am going to invest in Conflicted-The Survival Card Game as I enjoyed it and would like to see how other friends would answer and react.

Addendum:

You may have noticed me mentioning drinks a couple of times.  In all honesty, the reviewable portion of our game ended about half way through.  As more drinks were poured certain members of the group (Mrs. Grumpy G and Mrs. Host) became more affected by the alcohol and their answers became a bit less inhibited and a great deal more hilarious.  By the end of the evening I think I could have convinced both of them that we needed to start our own head hunting mercenary group and rid the world of left handed midgets.  The suggestion was even made at some point that maybe we needed to larder up more alcohol, should TEOTWAWKI come.  I am not advocating drinking in excess.  I will say that if your group does drink, the dynamics of the game will change as the night wears on and the ‘dead soldiers’ stack up.  If you have some happy drunks in your midst, then Conflicted-The Survival Card Game can also be very funny.

Andrew’s Note:  Conflicted is a Prepography advertiser.

Foyle’s War – A Review

I recently finished watching the first six seasons of the British television series, Foyle’s War.

IMDB (the Internet Movie Database describes Foyle’s War like this:

It is 1940 and Britain stands almost alone against the might of Nazi Germany across the continent. The terrors of nightly bombing raids are only matched by the fear and hysteria of the population at the prospect of the seemingly inevitable German invasion. It is in this environment that Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle, of the Hastings Police on the south coast of England, works. Denied a transfer to the war effort, Foyle is nonetheless forced to confront the darkest acts of humanity on a daily basis. With his official driver, Sam, and his subordinate, Paul Milner, Foyle investigates murders, looting and theft, crimes of opportunism, crimes of war, crimes of passion and crimes of greed, because crime isn’t stopped because of warfare.

Foyle’s War follows the exploits of Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle on the southern coast of England during World War II.  Foyle is a veteran of the ‘Great War’ who tries unsuccessfully to rejoin the military.  Instead he contributes to the war effort through his police work.  Foyle is masterfully played by veteran actor Michael Kitchen in an understated fashion that’s a joy to watch.  In addition to being a great show, this is a wonderful study of how a society responds to ‘the end of the world as we know it’ (TEOTWAWKI)…if our society was faced with the same threats and deprivations as Hastings, England was in the early war years, I’m afraid there might be rioting in the streets.

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Top 10 Preparedness Uses of Diatomaceous Earth

What is Diatomaceous Earth:

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is the fossilized remains of waterborne diatoms and algae.  DE is mined product…wonder if the job description is “fossil miner?”  DE has the consistency of and looks like an off-white version of baby or talcum powder.  DE is non-toxic and is sold in both food and non-food grades (see warning below about pool filter DE).  While DE is mammal safe (even to eat if food grade) wear a mask while handling it as you wouldn’t want DE to get into your lungs.  WARNING:  Don’t use DE sold as pool filter media for any other purpose as the silica count is too high and breathing this DE in particular could create health issues).

DE’s primary use is for organic, non-toxic pest control.  I discovered DE years ago as a heaven sent solution to keep my wife happy…you see she went back and forth on whether she hated the ants invading our house or the poisons I sprayed to keep the ants out more.  The product works by scratching up the exoskeleton of insects so that they dehydrate and die.  Here are the Top 10 ways to use (food grade and only food grade) DE:

  1. Grain Storage:  Food grade DE has been used for centuries to keep stored grain pest free.  According to Diatomite Canada the proper mix is 1 cup of food grade DE to 50 lbs of grain.  It can even be ground with the grain into meal or flour and you’ll never notice it in the final product (bread, muffins, cereal, etc.).
  1. Construction:  Any time I build a wall I spread a good amount of DE along the 2×4 base before closing up the drywall for permanent, non-toxic pest control.  If I have to open up a wall or repair drywall I dump in a few scoops as well.  We’re fortunate that we’ve never had a cockroach infestation…and I intend to keep it that way.
  2. Ant Barrier:  My favorite use is as an ant barrier because it keeps my wife happy…and if the wife is happy, everybody’s happy.  Simply sprinkle your DE around the foundation where you see the ants trooping in and your ant problems are over.  You will need to refresh the DE periodically…I just wait until I see the little ant scouts inside the house again.
  3. Gardening:  Keep pests away from your garden plants.  You can dust your garden plants and spread food grade DE around the plant bases to keep bugs and slugs off. (more…)

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