Saturday, July 29, 2017

Survival Kit Content: Fishing Gear

The chances that you will ever NEED a fishing hook and line...even in an emergency scenario....are so small that it is almost laughable.


If done right a fishing hook/line assemble takes up as much space as the condom in your wallet (you optimist you!) and so not much is lost actually carrying it with you. 

At all times.


So in the off chance that you need to pull some protein out of the water: You are ready.

If not: 15 g of extra weight over the years really was not that hard to carry no?

You can see how to tie a hook on a line in my posts: Fishing Hook Knot No. 1 and
 Fishing Hook Knot No. 2

I prepared a bunch of hooks/lines for a line of survival sets/tins I plan to make.

Coiled up and held in place with cable tiers.

But these hooks are a bit to small for deep sea rods....

...we use in the North Atlantic...

...and the Cod we catch :-)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Hard To Be A God (1989)

I remember that this movie was marketed as "The Russian DUNE"... but apart from the desert setting and the mildly confusing story line: This movie is nothing like mad genius Davis Lynch`s DUNE

The film tells the story of Anton, an agent from future Earth, operating on an alien planet that is inhabited by humans, whose rigid feudal society has not managed to leave the Dark Ages yet.

Anton slowly leaves his role as observer, and cover as sword wielding (rogue) noble man, behind to actively meddle with that societies affairs. (And violates pretty much plotted out to him as observer.)

He does so by rescuing a Da-Vinci-like Renaissance person from prosecution by the all mighty priests and by his participation in a palace coup and elevates himself in to a god like status (thanks to the technology available to him) to promote his agenda.

The film is a lose adaptation of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky` book "Hard To Be God" (Трудно быть богом) and is a co-operation between Soviet and German film makers.

The acting, fighting scenes and sword play is endearingly bad, the set is (for some reason) placed in as stony desert and one can clearly see that most extra`s are locals who never acted before.

So.... why is this movie so great?

Ehrm, if you can see behind all that I just wrote above (and most can) : 

The story holds water and one does get a good idea how it would be to live in an authoritarian, feudal police state, where the religious police prosecutes free thinkers and scientists. 

Now, living in 2017 (with a 20/20 hindsight), with Flat Earthers, anti Vaxxers (*) and a society rapidly falling back in to a state where religious feelings or "meanings" have more importance than facts: This movie more and more appears to be a commentary to present times than a SciFi movie set in the 24. Century. 
Never before has klunky, Soviet-era propaganda been more entertaining! Or close to reality!

 (*) Imagine that! A Soviet era movie manages to look 28 years in to the future and predicts the state of OUR society: 

"The heretic claimed (!) that small, invisible creatures are making us sick. Imagine that! But that would mean that vermin living in our blood would have more power than us! Or god!" One noble man says to another in the beginning of the movie.

Does that ring a bell? 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Fishing Hook Knot No. 2

In Fishing Hook Knot No. 1 we tied a hook with an eye to a line. This knot is for hooks WITHOUT an eye.

Eye? No Eye? 


Let me explain!

Left: Hook with eye. Right: Without eye.

So, knots for hooks without eye have to have a large surface area and give the maximum amount of grip/friction.

I will demonstrate this knot on a tent peg, since it makes iteasier for me to make pictures and tie knots at the same...and easier for you to follow.

Just follow the steps as seen on the pictures. Imagine the hook is to the left:-)

This knot is actually a...

..."heaving line knot" but it serves really as a knot for fishing hooks.

Make as many turns as you need TOWARDS the hook.

Make the turns as tight as possible!

Stick the rest of the line through its own loop.

And pull tight!

And I mean TIGHT!

It looks like this when finished.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Survival Kit Content: The Glow Stick

The glow stick kind of disappeared of the mental radar of most survivalists. The magic chemical light from the 80ies lost some of its appeal in the age of dirt-cheap LED flashlights, that can go on forever on a AAA battery.

Some places of course, glow sticks are still the shit...on a beach on Goa for instance, where they play 24/7 techno DJ`ed by some German hippie. Or for survival kits with contents that are supposed to last forever, and AAA batteries just don`t cut it.

I am about to make my newest Survival Kit wrapped in a  large monkey fist and the good old glow stick made the cut to the list of contents.

Buying a glow stick these days is not hard: You can find them in nearly every supermarkets sport/hiking section and they are cheap as dirt. But for this project I want the very small sticks used for fishing: Even the very cheap ones glow VERY bright (for a glow stick!) for 2 hours, and that`s all I need. A light just bright enough to:

- navigate the contents of a bag (to find a flashlight)

- light a fire

- open a condom (Open Air Festival life is harder than any SERE training !!)

- unwrap the Survival Monkey Fist which I must admit could present a challenge in darkness.

3 mini glow sticks for fishing vs. the garden variety supermarket glow stick.
Just some of the glow sticks I played with to find out which suited me most.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Cobra Verde (1987)

I first seen this movie at the end of the 80ies: I just returned from a summer job as deck hand and had nothing better to do with that (for a 15 year old) extreme amount of money I earned than to buy myself a VCR.

(To my parents grief...they hoped I would grow up and buy a moped, or SAVE!)

Anyhow, since I was under 18 renting videos was a no-go and taping films from the public service channels in Denmark (two at that time!) was as interesting as chewing cardboard.

My favorite place, the library, however allowed me to borrow VHS films for a week. Not really films a 15 year old would go for, but better than nothing.

Generally they exclusively had artsy-fartsy stuff....and I think that the forced consumption of that kind of films shaped my preferences

So "Cobra Verde" was one of the first films I ever seen on my VCR...and again...and again.

The film is based on the Bruce Chatwin novel "The Viceroy of Ouidah" and its protagonist, Francisco Manuel da Silva, is loosely based on Francisco Felix de Sousa. A white Brazilian living during the sugar/rubber boom of Brazil.

Da Silva, forced to leave his ranch due to a drought, toils in a gold mine and ends up killing his boss when he founds out that he is being exploited/cheated.

From then on Da Silva goes on a lam as bandit and calls himself "Cobra Verde" (The green snake).

He ends up as overseer of slaves, working on the sugar cane fields of a wealthy farmer, and swiftly impregnates the farmers three daughters.

First then the farmer finds out that it was THE infamous Cobra Verde living under his roof.

The well connected farmer, advised by the local council, sends Cobra Verde to Dahomey (West Africa) to reactivate the slave trade to Brazil. Slavers were hunted mercilessly by the English Navy and so the council thought so to have gotten rid of the infamous Bandit ("We can not kill him, it would cost the lives of to many men!") for good.

Cobra Verde arrives at Africa to find his outpost, a slaver fort, abandoned...except for crabs and the last surviving soldier who managed to hide when the local tribes made a move to kill all slavers.

From there it goes fast: Verde manages to reestablish the slave trade and becomes wealthy...VERY wealthy.

After several attempts on his life he trains an army of Amazones and topples the local, mad, King and puts his equally mad brother on the skull throne....(what`s there not to like??)

Ups, I did not want to come with to many spoilers.....but the movie is WORTH it.

  And yes, the movie is about a slave trader but manages not to romanticize a person that is despicable. Through and Through.

The acting is sublime: Klaus Kinski as Cobra Verde is watching an earthquake unfold and the publicum of the movie may suspects that only the directors (Werner Herzog) tight reign on Kinski prevented him from actually taking over Africa.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fish Hook Knot No. 1

One of the most basic skills are Survivalist must master, is the tying on of a fishing hook.

There are many (!) different ways of doing so, but I think I will limit myself to the very simple ones. I am demonstrating this knot on my Grapple Hook with a piece of paracord:

It is easier for you to follow what I am doing and easier for me to tie knots and make pictures simultaneously.

Let`s start with a very simple one: It is a blood knot tied around its own part.

I do not have to explain I?

Right, what you have now is a loop and the beginning of a running knot.

Make one overhand knot.

And another one...

Now the running knot is done.


And voila: You have tied your hook on.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Vertical Farming: The Barrel Garden, update

In my article Vertical Farming: The Barrel Garden I showed how to prepare a barrel to grow tomatoes on its sides and top.

This is the same barrel garden 2 month later. As you can see a full success....well apart from the fact that I had to replace the seedlings from the barrels side because my youngest thought it was funny to pull them (the seedlings) out. So this is why the plants on the sides are smaller than the ones on top.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Cutthroat Currency

Remember the "Duct Tape Challenge" where young idiots tape each other to objects with duct tape and the victim has to struggle him/her self free?

Well, we did this a few weeks ago during a you don`t have to be young to be an idiot: Middle age works just fine, thank you...

Anyhow, one of my oldest friends just DANCED out of his duct tape constraints (attaching him firmly to a car port door) and no matter how many rolls we used on him: It was impossible to constrain him for longer than 80 seconds.

One of the present strippers pointed out the obvious: He carried a knife or a pair of scissors.

Drunken logic: Lets take of his clothes and try again....and again he danced out of the duct tape.

It turned out that he was hiding it under his wrist watch and could "spring" it with a twist of his wrist.

He is a fellow survivalist so I was of course intrigued and asked a lot of questions: And sharpened my own set of coins.

A knife for 5 Danish Crowns.

Spare some change man?
I like the edge of these things.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Survival Kit Content: The Snack Ball

I decided to make another Monkey Fist Survival Set and was looking for a new, round container. It has to be a lot more robust than the balls I used so far and preferably made out of food grade plastic.

I discovered the snack ball from BOON: A snack container that doubles as toy. So that means that it is:

a) robust
b) made out of food grade plastic.


I immediately ordered one and went straight to testing it: AWESOME STUFF! :-)

The snack ball, unbreakable and watertight. 

Perfect for short term food/water storage.

It can be opened by a lid on top or taken apart at the balls equator.

It will look a bit like this after I filled it with survival goodies
and wrapped it in to a Monkey Fist knot.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Bowline - Danish Style No. 2

This method of tying a bowline is called: "Bowline laid in hand" its the fastest way possible to tie that knot and is best for thin lines ... or when it is dark...or whenever. As far as I know this method is not taught outside of Scandinavia.

You can not pass basic Sailors training if you are not able to tie this one behind your back.

So yet again; We dominate all that maritime stuff....HARD!

It looks complicated and takes some time to learn,  but if you first got a hang of it you will never forget how its done!