Tuesday, April 30, 2013

St. Croix Rods Triumph Product Review

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Are you looking for a quality rod for under $100? That's getting pretty tough to do these days. St. Croix is a name that you can trust and a company that has been in business for a long time. If you are like me, you are hard on your rods.  You fish with a lot of people both in your boat and theirs. You travel a lot. While you do your best to take care of your rods, things happen. Breaking a $250 rod is a tough pill to swallow.

Thankfully, St. Croix has their Triumph line of rods, which is their entry level rod. I have owned 4 of these rods and I can attest that they are well worth the money.

You can find info on their rods here.

St. Croix lists the Specs as:
  • Premium-quality SCII graphite.
  • Outstanding strength, sensitivity and hook-setting power.
  • Finely tuned actions and tapers for superior performance.
  • Hard aluminum-oxide guides with black frames.
  • Fuji® DPS reel seat/frosted silver hoods on spinning models.
  • Fuji® ECS or TCS reel seat/frosted silver hood on casting models.
  • Premium-grade cork handle.
  • Two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish.
  • 5-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service.
  • Designed in Park Falls and handcrafted in Fresnillo, Mexico.
Most every outdoors shop from Dick's Sporting Goods to Gander Mountain to your favorite local bait shop carries these rods. They offer right around 20 different 1-piece spinning rods and 5 casting rods as well as rods for traveling, muskie, and salmon fishing. Naturally, you know which I am most interested in.

I have owned the 6'6'' MH, the 7' M and the 7' MH. The 6'6'' makes a terrific topwater rod, the 7'M makes a fantastic T-and C-rig rod while the 7'MH mkaes a great flipping rod.

  • Price Point of $75-100 is tough to beat
  • Quality construction
  • Great Warranty
  • Widely carried by all kinds of outdoors shops
  • They are commonly put on special. For example, Dick's is offering $20 off any St. Croix if you trade in a rod. They will also offer a free hoody with purchase, many times.
  • I don't care for the full cork grip. After a few years, the cork will deteriorate
  • The rod tips are simply glued instead of glued and wrapped. I have had to reglue several rods
  • Not much selection in casting rods. you have 5 to choose from. They do not make a heavy rod.
  • They do not have any fiberglass rods for crank baits
  • Not very "flashy". I personally don't mind that.
These rods are very comparable to the Wright & McGill Skeet Reese rods, which cost about $20 more, thought the W&M have foam split grips.

However, for the money, I would go with the H2O XPRESS Ethos rods, which you can read my review of here.

Overall, a great quality rod. If you dont' want to spend a lot of money  and you want good quality with a great warranty, look no further. These are especially attractive for people who are either on a budget, just starting out, or rely extra heavy on spinning gear and don't need many specific casting rods.

Monday, April 29, 2013

MFC Club Tournament on Pickwick 4/27/13

Where to begin.....

It's easy to chalk this one up to "lessons learned." Indeed, many lessons were learned during this tournament. Part of me says, "hey, so you didn't win. Don't take it so serious! It's just fishing! Plus, you caught a TON of fish!" but the competitor in me says "boy, did you screw THAT up."

So, let's go back in time a little. Last month (granted...it was a MONTH ago) I was fortunate enough to fish with several great guides during the Alabama Mountain Lakes Media Days.

Now, a week ago, I was telling my club that I WOULD be fishing the dam area. And I WOULD bring a nice sack of smallies. It didn't matter if it took all day, I was going to grind it out.

Then, I was able to prefish this past Monday with my wife. That story is here. Long story short, I spent a little time fishing the dam area without a bite. Went down river to a few largemouth holes that I know and was able to catch quality largemouth.

So, with this very limited data set, I decided that if the small mouth bite wasn't on...I would let the club try and grind out a limit on smallies while I went and caught largemouth. I honestly think I do that very well. When bites are tough, I seem to always do well. I had bragged all week that we would have a good limit by lunch and would enjoy lunch at the River Bottom Grille. Good plan, huh?

A few things that I knew, but didn't consider until it was too late: 1) I needed the sun to be out for my largemouth bite to be on. 2)the worse the weather, the better the smallmouth bite.

The weather was overcast, chilly, and rainy....pretty much all day.

So, we ran down river to a stretch that I caught good fish on last year during this tournament by swimming a PowerTeam Lures Gator through brush in 14 feet of water.

We started out throwing Zell-Pops around brush. Josh caught a short fish on about the first cast. The fish tangled him right in to the brush pile..so we...very excitedly to catch on that quick....buzzed over to the brush....only to find it was a tiny little bass. But, the current ripped us through the stretch that normally holds fish for me. We decided that we would hunt for a current break as that largemouth would almost undoubtedly like that more. So, we ran down river just a stretch to a section of rip rap that was on the main river, but out of the current because of on extended point.

We decided that we would go ahead and downsize in order to try and get a limit. Josh threw a shakey head while I threw a wacky rigged PowerTeam Lures  5" Sick Stick

It didn't take long to start catching fish. We were able to boat 4 keepers on one run down the 100 yard stretch of rip-rap. Things were looking up! Granted, they were all squeakers...but still!

So, we ran back up to the head end. On my first cast, I cast to a nice lay down, let it fall, and when I took up the slack, I hung in to a nice fish. He was already running to open water, so I didn't have time to lean back in to the hook set. Just apply pressure and keep up. It was going to be a decent limit fish. At least something as a starting point. And then it jumped and tossed the worm on to the back deck of the boat. We got a REAL good look at it. It was a solid 3 pound fish.

I reeled it back in, fired the Sick Stick to the same spot, and sure enough, a fish picked it up and ran with it again. I did the exact same thing. Didn't snatch it. The fish spit the worm out.

That was pretty much how the morning went for us.

We caught all the small fish. All of them. We screwed around and lost a lot of quality fish. Some we broke off. Some we didn't set the hook. At one point, we were catching a fish every 3 minutes, according to the GoPro. But, they were all small. So small, that I ended up turning it off until we could start catching quality fish. In fact, I turned the GoPro off at 9am and never turned it back on. So, take the video with a grain of salt.

We worked the same stretch of rip rap 3 times. Each trip, we caught around 5 fish. But, the size stayed small. We decided to move just down river to another stretch of rip rap. The wind picked up, as did the rain. It made it hard to finesse fish, so we started throwing crank baits. I was throwing a Strike King Series 3.

And, as the rain poured down, we poured the fish in the boat. One after the other. But...small. All of them ridiculously right at the 12 inch limit. Don't get me wrong. It was a lot of fun. It's too bad I didn't get it on video....errr...I did...except that motor was pointed down because we were in shallow water...so all you could see was  the back deck! HAHA!

To sum up the day, we were fishing a nice flat at the marina where I have caught fish every time I have been there. Catching a 12 inch fish should be no problem. We caught an 11 and 3/4 large, several whites, and a skip jack. Josh made the remark..."all we need is 1 12 inch fish" and he hooked up on one RIGHT THEN. It was a bass. It was over 12 inches. But it was brown. If you didn't know, the new size limit for smallmouth is 15 inches.

Weigh in came and we watched a 19 pound bag of smallies weighed in for 1st place, followed by a 12 pound mixed bag. Both from the dam. Right where I knew I should have been. Ok, so I admit that 19 pounds is a hoss of a sack that I probably couldn't have matched. Now, I could have made 12 pounds. But, again, I wouldn't get my feelings hurt. After all, I made the decision to go hunting a largemouth limit on a smallmouth lake. What pains me the most is that we missed 3rd my mere ounces....ounces that I lost Personally. Especially that nice kicker fish. I know....things happen. Fishing is all about the fish we didn't get in. I can live with 1 here and there. But Josh broke off 3 fish that we can remember. I missed at least 3 good bites.

So, there it is. What would I have done differently? Well, obviously, I would have fished the dam. I know how. I have caught good fish. And, although my data point from Monday said that the fish weren't biting, I never referenced it again my other data. Monday was high skys and sun. It was post frontal. I didn't fish peak hours.  I didn't even fish the good water.

Really, though, I am not going to fault myself too much for that. I made a call. I went with a largemouth bite. And had I done well, I would have cashed a check. The problem is, we didn't convert when we had the chance. I don't know why. Loosing fish isn't something Josh and I do very often. Really, the story of the day was...after the 2nd pass of catching dinks, we SHOULD have abandoned the small baits in skinny water. We should have tried deeper or tried elsewhere. We spent half a day catching the heck out of small fish that didn't do us any good.

Both of us got in the truck and begrudgingly shook hands and said "hey, it was fun! we caught a lot of fish. It's ok!". But both of us were thinking the same thing. We are too competitive to take home a participation trophy.

Anyways. Mad props to my club members. A 19 pound bag is SOLID! I'm ready for revenge on Pickwick. I was already plotting my return.

OK, so a little laugher here. The best thing to happen to Josh and I was when we lost a bottle of PTL Hog Tonic spray while running down the river. We SOMEHOW managed to find it floating. That was our hightlight!

So, don't take it serious, folks. Catching fish is good! Catching fish is FUN! If you get wrapped up in winning, you will never fully enjoy it!

Furthermore, this was the first tournament I have fished out of the new to me Skeeter. Boy, does it fish out good! And, I got a ton of compliments at the ramp on how hot of a boat it is! Thanks Uncle Jeff!

...And also...when you gut tells you what to do...FREAKIN' LISTEN!

Friday, April 26, 2013

The 5 Stages of Preparedness Part 3.4: Closing Arguements

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We have established the 3 personalities that you will see in any survivor after the 72 hour mark.

In case you missed it, we have covered 2 Stages of Preparedness thus far:
The Immediate
The Short Term

We have identified that life gets a little different at this point. When you look past the first 72 hours and towards the first year, we see the 3 different personalities. Those different routes a person is,  can take,  must take, or fit in to. Sometimes a persons upbringing defines that roll. Sometimes it's situational. After all, being a Jeremiah Mountain Man doesn't do you any good if you are stuck in downtown Detroit. Nor does being a Mad Max scavenger in the foothills of Middle Tennessee.

So, it's important to note that the EOTWAWKI is a dynamic environment that one must adapt quickly to and establish routines. Nor should one think to themselves: "My personality doesn't fit here, I guess I am done for".

It's important to note that surviving for 1 year is possible for anyone, regardless of personality type, as long as they adapt and establish logical routines in almost any environment. Major cities will be scraping the bottom of can goods in a year, but it's possible. A person can find enough food in the wild. And, while I don't recommend it, it is fairly cheap to buy enough prepackaged food for your bunker for a year.

Look at some of the worst situations in history. The first European settlers, while most colonies did die out, managed to routinely live through the first year. Was it painful? Yes. Did they starve? Yes. Did they die starving, cold, and destitute? Sure. But they did live for a year. They just didn't adapt fast enough.

There are plenty of situations very similar to these throughout history. Ship wrecked people in as far reaching conditions as possible from the Caribbean islands to the Arctic circle. Did most of them die? Sure. But many of them lived for a year. Look at other stranded situations like the Donner party. Am I implying that you should eat your friends? No, of course not. But  they survived for a long time. And they are just one of the scarier versions. Plenty of settler were trapped in the Rockies or other mountain ranges over long winters and made it a long time.

The fact is, the human body with it's natural reserves (especial us fat 'Mericans) can survive with meager sustenance for up to a year. It doesn't matter what personality you are, if you are smart and resourceful, you will find a way to get calories and water in most any situation.

It comes down to establsihing those routines, excercising discipline, foreward thinkging, and shrewdness. If you know you cannot survive forever in your current situation with your current skillset, but are limited in what you can do in the Intermediate Stage, then you have to bide your time and durvive, all while being ready to strike when the iron is hot. How many times have we seen this happen in history: a person survives long enough to make a move, but is too weak, too injured, or otherwise incapable of making the required move? All that time. We've all heard stories of people dying in the desert one dune short of the oasis. Or dying in the wilderness hours before help found them. Sure, sometimes there isn't much that could have been done...right?

I contest that there is always a way to do it. When you are dying and think to yourself...if only I would have saved that 1 sip of water from a month ago....or ......If i would have broken down and eaten beetles, maybe I could have stuck it out for just 1 more day....is that justification? Not for me.

With all of these personalities, you must identify that you are on your own and you must take care of yourself (and family, if applicable). You must treat every decision a vitally important and take nothing for granted.

So, while we say that any personality can survive any situation for the first year...it's important to know that fighting against the current is always a loosing battle. You can fight for awhile, but the river always has more energy than you. So, when the time presents itself, you should get out of dodge.

Of course, I want to point out that we talked about this in the first two stages...namely, that a prudent person sees the end coming and goes directly to the environment in which he or she is best suited. We haven't talked much about it, but here is the truth:

Of the 3 different personalities listed, Exactly ZERO of them have a long-term chance at survival past 1 year. I know, I know. You are asking yourself..."so why are you writing about each one". Well, simply put, you must adapt to 1 (or a combination of) these 3 for that first year. Then...it's just another evolutionary step.


Scavenging for life over a year isn't feasible. Why? Because it only takes a small injury or dry spell to keep you from eating. That's a bad thing. Plus, the exposure to the elements (both nature and forces of evil) while scavenging pretty much assures that you will eventually meet something meaner than yourself. Hey, if you are outside all day everyday...your gonna get sunburned, right? Jeremiah Mountain Man is very similar. It takes one tree falling on you. Or falling into a hornets nest. And that's it. Anyone who has ever worked on a farm will tell you that an accident is a part of life.  Doomsday dwellers are a little different because they are almost assured  that they will be ok as long as Again, if you are supplies holds out. But, what then? Chances are, they will be out of shape and practice when they emerge from their bunker. What if they have no skills to speak of, other than spending their money on a fancy shelter?

And that's why we said there were 5 Stages of Preparedness. That's right. Just like the other milestones, survival in the next Stage is a different animal. You have done what you needed to do. Now, you most continue to adapt.

Check back soon!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Academy Sports & Outdoors H2O XPRESS™ Rattlin' T 3/8 and 5/8 oz. Lipless Crankbait

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Lipless cranks are a terrific fish finder. They are also a required weapon on Lake Guntersville. That isn't a secret by any stretch and because of that, these baits are deadly. Why? Well, most people throw only a handful of lipless cranks on Guntersville. The original Rat-L-Trap or the XCalibur XR series. And all of these are thrown in either the 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 ounce version and in very specific colors.

Sometimes, subtle differences make all the difference. Enter the H2O XPRESS Rattlin' T 3/8 and 5/8 oz. Lipless Crankbait.

Designed for use with baitcast, spinning and spincast tackle, the H2O XPRESS™ Rattlin' T 3/8 oz. Lipless Crankbait features a hand-painted finish for an authentic look and 2 #6 VMC treble hooks. 3/8 oz. 2-1/2" long.

Features and Benefits

  • For use with baitcast, spinning and spincast tackle
  • Hand-painted finish
  • 2 #6 VMC treble hooks
  • Weighs 3/8 oz.
  • 2-1/2" long
At under $3, its a bargain. But does it work? Absolutely. The fit and finish isn't QUITE what the XCaliber is, but it's as good or better than Rat-L-Trap. I love the different choices in weights. I REALLY like the color combinations.

At under $3, you might even feel froggy enough to cut them, repaint them, or otherwise modify as I did in a tournament on guntersville that made all the difference!

These are definitely worth the cash if you want a multi-rattle bait ,something cheaper and slightly different, or something to modify!

Academy Sports & Outdoors H20 XPRESS Super Lock Single Worm Hooks 25-Pack

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What is the one thing you MUST have every time you go fishing? Yep. Hooks. And these days, there are a lot of hooks out there for a lot of different price points. Like everyone out there, money is important to me....errr...saving money. However possible. MOST times, you get what you pay for. And when you buy a "house brand" item, you sometimes get a lack of finish and quality. That isn't the same for H2O XPRESS. All of their items are fantastic, like the CRD Crankbait, for example. These hooks are no different. There are days where I have gone through literally dozens of hooks. Especially when I am flipping heavy cover. Instead of eating up $40 in hooks, you can buy a 25 pack from H2O XPRESS for $4.79!
Super Lock Single Worm Hooks 25-Pack
These hooks can't be beat for the money. I have never had a problem with strength or sharpness. The finish is excellent.  Excellent hook at a great price!

Academy Sports & Outdoors H2O XPRESS CRD Deep Diving Crankbait Product Review

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Watch the 6XD in Action! 

Chances are, this product review is an exercise in futility. Pretty much any bass fisherman who does any sort of cranking has undoubtedly used a Strike King crankbait. However, the more involved I get into the sport, the more I find that the average fisherman isn't comfortable with fishing water deeper than 10 feet and virtually no one is comfortable in fishing open water. 

A lot of the issue with fishermen (or fisherwomen, such as my wife) in fishing these areas stems from a lack of confidence in throwing a bait into an area that they cannot visualize. When they do take the chance, if they aren't successful, they usually give up quickly. After all, finding success is a multi-faceted process of first locating where the fish are holding. Typically, the fish are holding on a specific type of underwater structure. Through the use of properly dialed in electronics, a fishermen can pinpoint an exact area, but boat position and casting angles once the fish are located becomes key. Then it comes down to selecting the correct bait. 

It isn't as easy as picking up a shakey head, a jig, or a C-rig and tossing it right on the fishes head...unless you are already comfortable knowing exactly where the fish are and you have the confidence of using minutes per cast. While these techniques are abosultely deadly on these bottom-dwelling fish, most fishermen unsure of themselves in this water column will avoid these technique entirely. 

Crankbaits, while already a bait that is a fish favorite, is one of the best ways to catch these fish and build confidence in offshore fishing. The crankbait covers a lot of horizontal water in a quick fashion, allowing a fisherman to fan-cast around and quickly cover the water until they pinpoint the eact location. Most companies carry crankbaits in a wide variety of colors, which you can fine tune to what the fish want. But, your selection of what brand of crankbait is just as important. Why? Because not all crankbaits have the right quality in the unspoken rules of cranking. 

A crankbait needs to be able to:

  • Represent some sort of forage via coloring that would interest the fish
  • Cast far and accurately
  • Get to depth quickly
  • Get to the desired depth
  • Swim true
  • Exhibit effective swim motion despite speed
  • Withstand rigors of grinding on rock
  • Overall effort to retrieve on the fisherman should be reasonable
I am no pro, that's for sure. But deep cranking is one of my loves. I have several different brands that I employ on different occasions, all of which I have selected by reviewing many other brands. If you are interested, you can read some of these review. Of note are:

The two represented above bookend the price ranges. In between these are perhaps my favorite line of crankbaits, which balances quality, productivity, and price. 
This review is for the H20 XPRESS CRD Deep Diving Crank

These days, you can spend just about however much you want to spend on crankbaits. I mean that very literally. You can get bargain bin cranks for under $1 and you can just as easily spend $50 on a hand painted custom crank. I am willing to be that you can spend even more than that!

If you are like me, you have gone through several phases of tackle buying. You have bought every color out there. You have bought expensive brands. Then you settled on a few specific colors and started buying cheap. Then the cycle repeated.

It's well known to most of my readers that I am a cranker. When you are a cranker, you loose cranks. Even if you have a great plug knocker like the Jewel Bait Hound, you still lose them over time. It just takes 1 here and 1 there. If you are like me, you also break a lot of bills on rocks and engine cowls.

I have settled in to using the Strike Kings, but even then, selections are hard to find in the colors I like and they still cost $7.50.

One thing that makes Academy Sports & Outdoors a little different is that they have their own house brand of baits called H20 XPRESS. This is common knowledge to most, but Huntsville is just now getting their own Academy (4/26). When this new location opens, rest assured that they will have a full selection of types, sizes, and colors. Every Academy I have been to has had shelves loaded.

Having a great selection is one thing, having a great price point on good baits is another.

I was originally skeptical of crankbaits that cost under $3. But, hey, I figured they would make good give away gifts. One day I was out fishing Wilson Lake and we were slaying fish in 18 feet of water. There was a bunch of chunk rock on the bottom. If we were grinding the rock, we were catching the fish. We also were getting caught a lot. Originally, I was throwing a Spro Lil John DD which is an expensive crank. After I broke one off, I didn't think much about it since we were killing the fish. Then I broke the second one off. I went down to the Strike King 6XDs, a cheaper bait but also good. After breaking off all of the specific color, I had to get desperate. In my bag were a few H20 XPRESS CRD+ Cranks.

At $2.99 I had a very preconceived notions of the crank.
  1. It wouldn't get down near as deep
  2. It wouldn't run true
  3. It wouldn't last long
Wrong on most accounts. The bait ran true with very little tuning. It lasted all day while grinding it hard in to rock. However, it doesn't get to the depths it needs to.

Here are the facts from Academy:
The H2O XPRESS™ CRD+ Deep-Diving Crankbait features a weight transfer system and a bill inserted at a 0° plane angle for long casts and dives from 16' to 22'. The crankbait is designed with a hand-painted finish to help draw fish to your line. 3/4 oz. 3-1/8" long. Hook size: 2.

Features and Benefits

  • Compatible with baitcast, spinning and spincast rods
  • Weight transfer system and a bill inserted at a 0° plane angle for long casts and deep dives
  • Hand-painted finish
  • 2 size 2 premium VMC treble hooks
  • Dives from 16' to 22'
  • Weighs 3/4 oz.
  • 3-1/8" long
Here are my thoughts on it: It's fantastic for the price. Cannot be beat. When you are fishing off shore, on the fish, and you hang up...you won't feel bad at just breaking it rather than spooking your fish. The paint is decent. It isn't great, but it's average and on par with Strike King. Now, the downside to this bait is...it's heavier than comparable baits. You also have to work it a LOT harder. I believe they kept the cost down by not over engineering the bill. If you compare the bills on this bait vs other deep divers, you will see how much meatier it is. It also doesn't meet the expected depths.

In conclusion, it's a terrific bait for the money. I would use it in situations where hang ups are concerned or in tournament situations. But, it does work you hard. It comes with quality hooks, something that Strike King doesn't do. It might need some tuning out of the box. This bait is very comparable to the Strike King 6XD and half the price.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Auburn Realist: Auburn A-Day QB Breakdown

Ok, so I have only had two total articles covering Auburn Football. The first has to do with a player who will probably never play another down at Auburn (or anywhere, for that matter). Yes, I am talking about Dyer returning to Auburn...or...Why Auburn Should Take Dyer Back. I did get some feedback on this...which is what I want.

Brandon Marcello, an al.com writer, responded to a blog post saying that a close source at Auburn said he would never play.

People commented on the blog with comments like:

"He had his chance...or should I say "chances" and he blew it. No different than honey badger.. neither one of them should get another shot in my opinion. Dyer had it made! He broke the rookie rushing record, he had Bo Jackson as a mentor, he won a NC as a freshman. GET LOST! "

Anyway...that's not what I want to talk about today. today, I want to revisit the QB conundrum.

 We have Mr. Marcello;'s thoughts on this article on al.com.

"Neither Kiehl Frazier or Jonathan Wallace stood out enough this spring for the Auburn coaches to name a starter Monday, two days following the Tigers' A-Day scrimmage. For now, it's an "either-or deal," Lashlee said."

83,000 people were in attendance. Surely you all have some thoughts. I';d sure like to hear them. Naturally, I have my own.

First things first. The numbers:

Wallace was 18 of 26 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. That's 69%.
Frazier was 10-of-16 passing for 125 yards and a touchdown. That's 62.5%.  Had 1 rushing TD, additionally.

Neither one blew the other out of the water. Even trying to work the stats a bit, we find that, despite not having the attempts, that the Yard Per Completion do favor Frazier. By about a yard. That's not much.

Al.com writer Joel Erickson offered a play-by-play article that really gives depth into the QB game play.
As far as turnovers go, each had 1. Though only Wallace tossed one. I have a feeling that, had he not thrown that one, we wouldn't be debating if this QB Competition was even close. But he did. And it was terrible. Looked like something I would throw in flag football.

Anyway, stats say it was close. Let' take a look at the vid and see what we can see. After all, my main complain with Frazier has always been that he never has looked like an SEC caliber QB in the pocket. I have been watching this video:

Highlights are highlights. It's what is in the middle that really matters. When we start looking at the individual drives, what stands out to me is who moved the chains and who did not. According to Erickson's observations, Frazier had 3 3-and-Outs and two different fumbled exchanges. Wallace accounts for 1 3-and-out. Maybe. Late in the 3rd period.

How about sacks? Frazier leads the way in this category, but I don't put much stock in it. Nor do I put much stock in his running TD.

So, I think you guys are getting the gist of what I am saying. Despite what the coaches are reporting, all of the reporters themselves said that Wallace looked like a winner. He moved the chains on critical 3rd downs. He maintained drives. He hit check down routes. He made some deep throws. Frazier, on the other hand, didn't ever seem to hit stride. Again, the stats look comparable, but I submit that they really aren't. Over 70 of Frazier's 125 yards came on 2 plays. One was a long deep ball, and it looked good. The other was a check down route that Artis-Payne hit for big yards. Good decisions, good throws. But...we have to keep things in perspective. His throwing TD was a behind the line toss to Reed for 7 yards.

Now, Wallace wasn't without faults. Again, I point to the INT he tossed. He also missed a wide open long gainer wheel route to Louis early in the game.

So, here we are, again....

Who will it be? I agree, to an extent, that the competition that could be bred by NOT naming a starter through the summer could be a good thing. The thing that I don't like is that, from where I sit in Section 39, it doesn't look that close. With Coach Malzahn's intricate and highly precise offense, the lead QB MUST take the bulk of the snaps. Practice makes perfect. And if you try to average out two QBS, you will loose every time.

So, while you could breed some good summer competition during the summer, you could introduce a novel idea....See, what says you can't name a starter right now, then yank him if the other QB comes on hot, or if you starter under performs? It happens every season at TONS of major football schools across the country. QB under performs and gets yanked. Why can't that happen in the summer and fall? Wouldn't you rather see how a backup will react in the spring/summer rather than in the short week he might have to prepare for his first start?

So, there are two possibilities here. 1 of them you already know...and that is that Nick Marshall arrives on campus this summer. Top JuCo QB with a decent resume. Sorta. Except that pesky TD/INT ratio he has...or should I say...INT/TD ratio. I'll say this about Gus. He can inflateTD/INT ratios(Todd, Aplin, Newton). But, I really question the impact that Marshall will have. He will only have fall camp under one of the most precise offenses on the planet.

Nah. I will stick to my original opinion. Frazier is getting a little help from being in Malzahn's system for a year, being a prized recruit, and being from Arkansas. But, again, all the numbers point to Wallace. Especially the one that I haven't talked about. yet.

Perhaps the simplest stat that tells us all what Malzahn thinks of Wallace is staring us all in the face. Wallace was given 26 pass attempts to Frazier's 16. That is what we at NASA call, statistically significant. Both Blue and White teams have fantastic RBs. So it isn't like Wallace was playing on a team with a weaker running game. And since Wallace and Frazier played with both teams, it isn't a function of the offensive line, or skill positions, or the defense faced.

Whether it was faith in the young kid or a desire to see how he would handle that many pass attempts, or just that he needed more work, Wallace performed as I expected and how he needed to perform to prove that he is the next starting QB.

I guess time will tell. I will certainly support any QB of Auburn. But if I were a betting man, I would bet on #12.

Fishing Report for Pickwick 4/22/13

After the awesome trip that I had on Pickwick for the Alabama Mountain Lakes Media Event, I HAD to get back. You can find the full write up here. Long story short, 4 smallies over 6 with 1 over 7. WOW!
Anyway. A lot has changed from then until now, probably the most important being the water temp. I questioned if those pre-spawn smallies would still be there. I somehow doubted it.

But, really, the trip wasn't about fishing. My wife had never been on Pickwick. The scenery is incredible. The fishing is awesome. McFarland is one of the best ramps out there. You have terrific food at the River Bottom Grille right there on the water. Just tie your boat up!

So, somehow, i didn't have much to do at work and Alyse was free. We were dying to get the new Skeeter back on the water. The only issue is....we have 3 kids. Getting them ready for school and dropping them off takes time. We didn't get on the water until after 9 and we had to be back by 4. That makes for a short day. No matter. Both of us were just excited to have time alone on the water!

Here is the vid!

We launched the boat, I let her drive it a little, and we ran to the dam. Well, I couldn't get the smallies to bite, so I ran down to the mouth of McFarland where I ALWAYS catch some dinks. I was throwing the PowerTeam Lures Swinging Hammer. The fish on this lake have loved it so far(granted, limited data set here...the lure just came out and I have only been on Pickwick once with it). But, it did work...then....

Not today. Even throwing around a square bill...the perfect rocky bank spawning ground bait didn't turn up any fish. Did get some good pics though!

Well, I had a little bit of an Ace in my pocket. See, last year, I stumbled on to a pattern during a NASA club tournament that was AWESOME. But, I had SERIOUS doubts it would still work again....

Ok..so I have to admit something. I have a Club tournament. On Pickwick. This weekend. And I really want to catch them. So...I'm not going to let the cat out yet. Cause it is really off the wall and it may not work Saturday.

Anyway. First cast...hung a NICE spot. REAL nice.

The bite was slow, but it was definitely there. ***Props to Alyse who told me to fish more shallow than I had been***.

So, I decided to let it rest for Saturday.it's the exact bait in the exact spot doing the exact thing. I can't believe it still works. Hard to believe it worked the first time!  Meanwhile, I wanted Alyse to catch some fish, so I pulled up to a rock shoal that always holds a mixture of fish. She was able to get into a school of white bass with a Strike King Series 3.

We had a really nice lunch. One trick we have learned, for those that are picky about getting bread crumbs in your boat, is to use soft taco shells and make wraps. We had a nice smoked turkey, avocado, cheese wrap. Makes me hungry thinking about it! Taking a wife with you instead of another dude sure pays off. Sure, I make good jerky, but the wrap could not be beat! And, no mess!

Anyway, we didn't fish too hard and instead we enjoyed each other's company and the gorgeous scenery. We played around with the new boat, learning how to do things. Alyse wanted to learn to drive it....until I made her drive it. Now...I'm not so sure she wants to. Explaining that she has to floor it to get on plane is not working for her. HAHA!

 Before I knew it, it was time to load up and get the kids. Aubree had a softball game and softball waits for no one!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

$35 Dollar Giveaway for the 30,000 post reminder!

Don't forget! I am giving away a TON of free stuff Very Soon! Details are here.

I can't believe its already here! For the 4th month in a row I have had massive increases in hits! We are knocking on the door for 30,000 hits!

Don't forget about all the ways to get drawn for other free prizes! Check my multi media!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sci-Fi Book Review for "The Road" by Cormac McCarthey

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For many of you, this book needs no introduction. Even if you don't know much about the book, you can easily Google your way into a host of knowledge that should scream "READ THIS BOOK." It's on my list of 5 Must Reads.

I can attest that it's the only Oprah Book Club book that I have read. It's also a Pulitzer Prize winner. But, the accolades are far more reaching than that. It has been labeled as one of the most environmentally influential works of fiction. Why? Well, I will hint at it a little. To me, it is THE most eye opening pieces of literature I have ever read. Why? Well, as many of you know, I am a simplistic prepper. I believe that we are on the precipice of an economical, social, and perhaps environmental collapse. But, in my mind, I would thrive in such a situation...easily providing for myself and my family. Sure, there will be hardships, but none that serious. This book defines how wrong I could be.

You can find the Wikipedia info on it here.

What's really amazing about this book is that it was almost immediately adapted to movie form. The book was published in 2006 and the movie was out in 2009 staring Viggo Mortensen.

Plot Summery:
An unnamed father and his young son journey across a grim post-apocalyptic landscape, some years after a major unexplained cataclysm has destroyed civilization and most life on Earth. The land is filled with ash and devoid of living animals and vegetation. Many of the remaining human survivors have resorted to cannibalism, scavenging the detritus of city and country alike for flesh. The boy's mother, pregnant with him at the time of the disaster, gave up hope and committed suicide some time before the story began, despite the father's pleas. Much of the book is written in the third person, with references to "the father" and "the son" or to "the man" and "the boy."

Realizing that they cannot survive the oncoming winter where they are, the father takes the boy south, along empty roads towards the sea, carrying their meager possessions in their knapsacks and in a supermarket cart. The man coughs blood from time to time and eventually realizes he is dying, yet still struggles to protect his son from the constant threats of attack, exposure, and starvation.

Pros: This book is well written from start to end. The author sets the scene vividly. More importantly, he sets the mood. Many of my friends find that they cannot read this book, as its tale is too chilling, to dark, and depressing for them to read. I admit that reading this book has caused me to really rethink a lot of what I think of my strength of parenting. The father in this book displays courage and strength that are both needed in the situation but almost impossible to fathom to me. His resolve in doing right to the end is almost boundless and untenable, but provides hope to readers that they, too, could have such resolve.

From a socio-economic impact, critics are right on. Again, we have in our mind what a post-apocalyptic world would be like, look like, and behave like. Yet, chances are, we would be entirely incorrect. The scene painted for readers in this novel is a paradigm shift in thinking that may be more accurate, all together, than anything we have assumed. Is it possible that the entire eco system could just die? Absolutely. We see human made impacts on  smaller scale every day. Would humans resort to cannibalism on a wide scale? Sure. Its happened numerous times throughout history. This novel has simply proven that our understanding and expectations are narrowly drawn from a few models that are all very similar and possibly very incorrect. It opens our minds to many new possibilities, showing us just how bad things may be.

This novel shows more than just what could be. It also lays out the the choices we would have to make and the impact. It is eye opening to the fact that survival sometimes isn't the best thing. Take the conversations between the mother and father. Ultimately, who was right? Were they both right? Or were they both wrong. What was best for the child, in the end? We will never know.

Cons: To me, there are very few cons regarding this novel. It is depressing. It shows the limits of both ends of humanity. It proves that most of us will never be the parents or providers we think we could be. I promise that you will not read this book and come away without a tear in your eye and some hard questions in your head.

Summary: This book is on mine, and everyone else's, list of "must reads", Very few books have caused me to "feel" with the characters. I encourage you all to buy it.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why Auburn Should Take Dyer Back

Alright folks. First things first.

Get. Off. Your. High. Horse.

Next thing: I am not a win at all costs guy. Not in the slightest. I am a "Show Class" kind of Auburn fan. If you have ever been to a game with me, watched a game with me, talked football, etc...you will see that I am a realist and a firm believer in the University before winning.

Rumor has it that Dyer wants back in the Big Show. Rightfully so! If you would have told me in the fall of 2009 that we would be talking about Dyer begging to make it in to a program....ANY program.....just to have the slightest chance at an NFL career, I (And Scout. And Rivals. And anyone else who saw him play ) would have politely L-O-L'd at you.

This kid was a forgo his senior year guy out of the box, and we all knew it. The only question in our mind was, would he get enough carries to show that he was better than Lattimore in order to be the first RB taken in the draft (oh how times have changed, huh?).

And what did he do? Well, only break the freshman record set by Mr. Vincent Bo Jackson on the way to National Championship.

There were bumps along the way, for sure. I had a very good friend who was working on the team in this period of time. All he could say about Dyer was that he was just as talented as we all knew him to be. And he knew it. And he knew the team couldn't be without him, which was leading to internal strife.

That seemed to be verified as rumors swirled in late December that Dyer wasn't playing in the NC....and  he didn't even see the field until the 2nd quarter. Sure, he made all of us forget that and made all of us run to the closest sports apparel retailer for a Under Armour #5 jersey after his absolutely phenomenal 4th Quarter run that broke the Duck's back.

Then the "hold up" happened. 4 teammates, a month after winning a National Championship, were in jail for a robbery at gunpoint, supposedly over drug money. IN JAIL! FOR ROBBERY WITH A GUN! Again, the rumor mill spun out a web that caught Dyer up in the middle of it, specifically that he provided the hand gun. But, it was squashed pretty well....even as the 2011 season got under way.

Despite a lack-luster, but expected, 2011 8-5 season, Dyer churned out 1200 yards behind a team that couldn't really do much of anything. Though he was not at the Bowl Game.....

After the season, word got out from the official trial of the Auburn robbers that Dyer had supplied a gun and had testified that he had habitually smoked spice. Facepalm. Right? Well, any lawyer will tell you that we shouldn't judge too harshly. Owning a gun isn't illegal, and neither was smoking spice. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it wasn't even against team policy at the time.  But, hey, everyone can judge. Me included. Just because it wasn't illegal doesn't make it right.

And off he went. MVP of the 2010 NC game. MVP of the 2011 season. NFL talent. Ousted from Running Back U.

But here is where I want you to think a LITTLE differently. Malzahn initially took him in at Arkansas State. So, despite what Gus' loud mouth wife says, he obviously had faith that Dyer could give him something to benefit from at minimal expense. Dyer went through spring ball, even played in the spring game.

Short time later, Dyer was back on the bus home after a policeman pulled him over and found a gun and something that resembled weed.

Ok. Just the facts here, folks. A handgun. OH NO! Perfectly legal, unless it had a scrubbed ID or was stolen.  It was neither. Should an NFL talent have a handgun? Survey says? No. Plexico can attest. Ray Lewis' friend can attest. Rolando McClain can attest. Weed like substance? Come now. I don't know about yall, but any time a cop has suspected me of having an out of date dental insurance card, I have gotten the courtesy search. I find it awfully hard to believe that a cop who finds a suspect gun AND weed like substance lets anyone walk. Furthermore, the cop was fired after the incident. I still haven't heard the real reason why, though I had read about how the cop tried to give Dyer a life lesson.

What should Ark State do? Bad publicity from a known troublemaker? Yeah. Can't fault them for sending him packing. Right? It's hard to take the side of a kid who has a questionable past and hasn't really done anything for you other than sell some tickets. Was there more to the story? Possibly.  Must be. Right? People don't jump to conclusions over reporting (SARCASM!). Regardless, Arkansas State had little invested in him and surely didn't want that kind of publicity.

So, here we are. I have heard the rumors. I have read the blurbs and tweets culminating with the SaturdayDownSouth article I read just a little while ago.

And while everyone is saying "DON'T YOU BRING THAT TROUBLE MAKER HERE!" Everyone also thinks about how good their backfield would look with that kid taking hand offs. Especially me.

I think Auburn could and should give him a chance, though Auburn beat reporters have Tweeted me and said that Auburn is not interested despite very real and personal outreach by Dyer's family.

Ok. Follow me here, folks. He has, realistically, 1 chance left. The NFL...if you didn't know...isn't about pure talent. Not in the slightest. The NFL wants intelligence and character. The NFL wants a body of work. They also want someone who is field ready. This REALLY puts Dyer up against the wall here. His character has lacked in the past, otherwise we wouldn't be talking. His body of work was .....ok.....but he really needs a showcase season. But these aren't the REAL reasons he wants back on a team. He could accomplish this by going to any mid-tier team.

Dyer is seeking any top tier program right now, but not for the reasons you might think. Sure, he needs the exposure, but in this day and age, players are getting found at small schools constantly. What he needs are top training facilities and trainers. I can guarantee you he wasn't getting that at Arkansas Babtist. Probably not at Ark State, either. He needs a coach and coordinator who is devoted to the power run. That rules out the entirety of the Pac-12 and Big East. Realistically, it also rules out the ACC. In fact....it really comes down to the Big 12 and the SEC. I don't really think the Big 12 will get him into the NFL, and I bet he agrees. Texas is the team of teams in there, and they are down. I don't think they come back this year. That leaves the SEC. Arkansas seems to be a great fit for him initially because Bielema is there...who loves a between the tackles, one cut back. But, they are pretty deep at RB and pretty thin every else. That's not a good combo for a 1-and-Done player. He needs to step on to campus and be a starter. Furthermore, he has no preexisting relationships with Bielema.

No offense to Tre Mason. Love watching the kid play. I know he works hard. But, he is a square peg in a round hole. He isn't quite the #1-Position back that Auburn needs. Artis-Payne more closely resembles that. He isn't fast enough to be a #3-Position back. Grant is faster. And, while he went over 1,000 yards last year, it took him until the very last play of an atrocious season to make it. He only had 3 100yard plus games all year. Clemson was a great game to open, but New Mexico State and Alabama A&M were his other 2. So, ZERO 100 yard games against SEC opponents.  Eh.

Tre is a change of pace back. Or, a 3rd and long back. Always has been.

Auburn needs Dyer. Believe it or not, but he is either worshipped and missed by fans, or scorned outwardly while they praise him in their closest. Ok, for realz. Auburn needs a 1 cut back with enough speed to break the corner once a game. I am not sure Artis-Payne has that. If he did, he would be elsewhere right now. Auburn must have a super star at RB to be successful. Period. Anyone that says differently doesn't know Auburn football. Quick. Name the starting backs at Auburn over the last 20 years. No peeking. Ok. I'll give it a try. Here we go.....


There are only 2 guys on this list that are or were questionable NFL talents. One never had the right coordinator and 1 just isn't an NFL talent. I will let you pick which is which. The rest? Yep. NFL Baby. Name another team that can boast that.

It's a fact. Auburn doesn't have the heritage, nor can recruit and coach, QBs that can win games with their arms. Name one QB who could! And don't say Sullivan to Beasley. Even the winningest QB in Brandon Cox ALWAYS had a RB to lean on. Campbell had a stable of terrific receivers and 3 different early rounder NFL RBs. Cam ran over people. Craig ran around them. Leard...eh......

Another fact. Auburn doesn't currently have a QB on the roster that can win. No reflection of them, solely. It's the receivers too. They can say what they want, but they aren't the best group Auburn has seen. They might be the best group never to perform to expected levels of their so-called talent levels.

Now, why should Auburn take Dyer back? Well, the obvious reason is to give Under Armour the chance to take those #5 off the clearance rack. AMIRITE?

The great thing about the situation is this: I believe, with my whole heart, that Auburn could tell him to pay for his own school, room and board, and his family would put up the money. Auburn wouldn't even burn a scholarship. Next best thing...this is the end of the line. If he blows it, and he very well could, he will never realize his NFL dream. Auburn can play it however they like. First time he gets in trouble....POOF. Gone. And he can't enroll and play elsewhere.

What's the worst that could possibly happen? Sure, he could do something absolutely stupid and embarrass the University. But, let me tell ya, they are all one party away from that at all times. Auburn can play the high road card and say that it wanted to give him the opportunity to do right....but shucks if he didn't. Honestly, I would rather take a chance with a 22 year old man that's made mistakes and knows what he MUST do to get in the NFL than with an 18 year old kid who thinks he is the next NFL great.

What's the upside? There is all kinds of upside here. Dyer is a kid that you can gain yards with even when they know it's coming. Something that couldn't be done last year...period. Sure, he is 1-and-Done. That's ok. That's usually the Auburn way.

Lastly, it comes down to numbers. We can scratch and fight over high school recruits that could do anything or nothing. Or, we can give a second...third...whatever...chance to a kid that WANTS to be at Auburn. Wants to go to the NFL. And has the ability to actually do it.

The 5 Stages of Preparednes Part 3:3 The Mad Max Scavenger

Don't forget to check out ALL of my Last Man On Earth Studies posts!

It's been MONTHS since I had an LMOE (Elmo, as I call it...for Last Man on Earth) post.  No particular reason. Just been busy.

Last time we talked, we were discussing the Jeremiah Johnson Mountain Man. The man who stands alone and survives with essentially nothing but the clothes on his back and his skills alone. Shortly before that, we covered the Doomsday Bunker Dweller. Those would be the people striving to live the easy life after the forthcoming apocalypse by spending their hard earned time and sweat on decked out bunkers.

We discussed the pros and cons of each, in depth. Essentially what we have seen is that these lifestyles are much more dynamic than their label. Not only that no one will fit squarely in any of these, nor that these lifestyles are discrete in the basic definition. What do we mean? it isn't realistic to build a bunker and to live in it for the rest of your life...or even years at a time. It isn't realistic to escape to the mountains and forge a living on your own. It isn't realistic to be the person that we are talking about in this post. Fact is, most people will be a combination of these, though ultimately, aligning more with one than the other. It's the law of averages, I guess. But, still makes good reading and thinking fodder.

So far, we have identified these 3 lifestyles: Those that prep way ahead and sit back, those that don't prep but have the skills to live by the sweat of their brow, and those that don't prep and don't have the skills or situation to survive other than to scavenge, steal, and kill. We have discussed the two formers but not the later. That's why we are here, right?

Who is Mad Max? If you really have to ask, I am very disappointed. Only the most famous of all the post-apocalypse heroes! It was the jumping off point for Mel Gibson.

 I won't go into the movies that much. You can goggle it easy enough. Heck, you can buy the movies off Amazon for next to nothing.

Who was Mad Max, you ask? Ok. The short and simple answer? He was a survivor of the apocalypse who gave up a home life when his wife and child were killed in exchange for living on the road. He scavenged food, gas, and weapons. Sometimes he stole. Sometimes he killed. A true mercenary to the bone who would deal with anyone for the right price. He is one of the first bad good guy types in cinema.

So, why use him as an example? Well, he demonstrated the required lifestyle and attitude required to make a living when a home life wasn't presented. That doesn't mean that he couldn't have. In fact, in the movies, he had ample opportunities to settle down. Whether or not we really know if he was able to make a living (we assume so, as per Mad Max) we know that he preferred this lifestyle.

Who does this lifestyle suit? Those that don't or can't prep. That's pretty much everyone. Those that can't or don't live in the wild without human made pre-apocalypse goods. That's also pretty much everyone as well.

Let's get a little more in depth to that last paragraph. Not everyone has the ability to prep for the time needed to let things settle down. Most people who survive the whatever-it-may-be will have a mighty powerful urge to eat and drink pretty quick. As in, within a few days. Weeks at the most, if you scraped out your entire pantry of stewed tomatoes and cream of chicken. Being able to prep comes down to a lot of factors, money being the key, but space to store is a large one. If you live in an apartment in the city, or even a cracker box house in the suburbs of a major city, that ain't you. Fact is, 80% of all people live in or adjacent major city. You could have all the money in the world, but getting a zoning permit for a bunker probably isn't going to happen. So, being a Doomsday Dweller is almost entirely out of the question if you live near a major city. Also, being able to be a Jeremiah Johnson Mountain man is awfully hard to do in a city. If you are one, getting out of the city may prove to be a pretty tall order. It goes back to our much earlier conversations about knowing when to get out. for the sake of argument though, let's say you live in NYC and you survive. Where you going to go to scratch out a living that doesn't depend on human made foodstuffs? Central Park? Yeah. You and everyone else for the first few months. Besides, being around other humans isn't really your style. And, when things get tough, they get dangerous. When the tigers and lions of Central Park Zoo run out, what do you think is next on the menu? Check that. That door swings both ways.

Does that mean that mostly everyone would be a Mad Max Scavenger? No. Let's not get it twisted. Just because most people, by default, would be scavengers because of location and ability, doesn't make them Mad Max. Mad Max was successful. He thrived when others perished. Slowly, the mortality rate of everyone who survives the cataclysm will grind to zero. Only the witty, strong and the ruthless survive this lifestyle.

So, we mentioned a few adjectives that describe Mad Max. Being this man requires you to be witty and quick. You don't have to be intellectual gifted. You do have to have common sense and you must be an alert and rational person. I guess I need to explain that a little more. Mad Max doesn't have to know how to build an automated water reclamation and filtration system. Mad Max does need to know how to set up a plastic tarp and funnel the early morning dew into a funnel. Mad Max doesn't need to know how to set a snare to catch a meal. He does need to know how to avoid traps set to catch unsuspecting victims like himself. He doesn't need to know the finer points of how to grow okra. He does need to get past eating rats. He doesn't need to know the eating habits and fall patterns of deer. He does need to know how to identify probable locations for other humans and their habits. He doesn't need a bunker full of foodstuffs. He does need to know where to look where others have not. He doesn't have to know how to entertain himself for weeks and months on end while in his bunker. He does need to know how to keep himself sharp to watch around every corner and to know the subtleties of escape and evasion inside the city.

That's a long paragraph full of differences. I hope you can see the similarities and dissimilarities.

Most importantly, Mad Max must be cut throat and ruthless. When he spots someone he doesn't know, he pulls the trigger first. Better them than him. He doesn't share. He steals when he has to, violently if needed. After all, when only the scraps are left, the meanest dog is the one who eats.

I think that should give a pretty good understanding of who we are talking about. Let's talk Pros and Cons.

  • Little work
    • Yep. It doesn't take back breaking work to be a scavenger. That makes it particularly attractive to most everyone. Find the food, eat the food.
  • No previous training needed
    • Anyone can be a scavenger. And you will see it. All walks of life from Hollywood starlet to a gutter snipe. All need to eat. All need a dry place to sleep. Only some will be able to become the person who has to, and almost known will know they have it in them until that day. You don't need the money of a prepper. You don't need a life time in the woods on a farm of a Mountain man. You just need to be breathing. And mean. And wily.
  • Not locked in to any one area
    • Not hard to understand. When the supplies dry up, you pick a direction and start humping it. Unlike Mad Max whose success was based on driving automobiles, this will come down to making the right choices for where to go. That doesn't mean the geographical direction, or even the city, but even down to the routes chosen every day. There is nowhere to defend as the other lifestyle choices have. Someone moving in on you? No problem. Pack and move out.
  • No expenses up front
    • It's already been mentioned, and it doesn't seem that important...but it is. You don't need a bunker, or a stash of food. You don't even need a gun. You just need to know where to get it and be ready to get it however possible.
  • Initially, a readily available amount of supplies to pilfer
    • Supplies are literally everywhere. While everyone will flock to super markets, these will sell out. Most people will struggle with the "what now". Not a frugal and thrifty scavenger. A person in a port city would know that even small fishing boats have good stocks of nonperishable food. Unhook that gang plank and relax!
  • Susceptible to weather
    • With no fixed shelter, no fuel stockpiles, every night and every season brings all new adventures in staying alive and well
  • Extremely dangerous
    • You are in almost completely hostile conditions at all times. Sure, everyone will band together....for awhile. But when food dries up, so will friendships. Give it a few months and it will be cut throat. Literally. The more you move through unknown lands, the more chances of being hurt. Not just by other humans, but just by slips trips and falls.
  • Supplies will disappear
    • Especially in large cities. It won't take more than a few months before people start eating rats. Or starve. A scavenger has to stay on the move in order to stay fed.
  • No end game
    • You can't scavenge forever. You get older every day. It will lead to a very slow, very lonely, very painful death. One of the most picturesque visions that I can put you on is from Cormac McCarthy's "The Road". Just search for "the old man on the road". Bleak outlook on the truth of the matter.
  • The human condition
    • You have to be a loner to survive. Let's face it. Maintaining the pace of eating to scavenge and scavenge to eat is a precarious game. Compound it with dependants.....yeah. But, the fact is, humans want to be around other humans. And if you are popping them in the back to make sure you don't find a knife is yours makes it tough to meet friends or otherwise.
  • Unpredictability
    • Tomorrow you could find the treasure trove that lasts forever. Again, I quote "The Road". The man and the boy found an awesome hidey hole filled with goods. But, they identified that it was only a matter of time before someone found them and killed them for it. At least on the road they could see others from a long way off. That's the way of it. Anything good is worth killing over. Better not make yourself a target. And just as tomorrow you could strike it rich, you could also wander into the wrong alley and meet a bunch of sadistic cannibals. You just never know. Go play a game like "Fallout". You will see...even in a game...how unpredictable life can be in the wasteland.
So, that's it. This is the easy one to do, yet I admit that I have sat on it a bit. It's straight forward. It's elegant, in it's own simpleton way. I didn't want to over complicate it nor undervalue it. Its dually important because most of you will be this person. Whether or not you are successful is up to you. Again, no one will fit directly in one of the 3 lifestyles that I have outlined, but most will be very close to this one. Why? Well, because it's a numbers game. Most people live in big cities. Most people don't have the money or space or ability to build a real shelter. Nor do they have the land to put one up where it won't immediately become a target.  Most people don't have the skills to live on their own in the mountains. Most people can figure out how to scavenge at least for a while. Some of these will learn to be cut throat. Some will learn. Most will struggle with being wily. I know that is a funny word to most, but quick wits and decision making makes all the difference in a situation like this. This mostly about how to turn any disadvantage into an advantage or at least a stalemate, from bad weather to traps.

I hope you all have enjoyed covering each of these 3 types of people. They all have definite pros and very real cons. Seems to me that they all have more cons than pros. That's important to note, too, because most of us think that the end of the world would be the best thing to happen to us. It's not.

The world will be a different place, and the thing that I keep saying about ALL of these people is that they must be sharp, cold, and calculating. Period. Everyone is a potential enemy. Every decision is a deathtrap. So, know the pros and cons of each of these before you decide who you will be.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Project Update: A Better Best5Zach

One of my New Years Resolutions, like everyone else on the planet, was to get in to better shape. Now, I am a "go big or go home" kind of guy. So, I wanted to see drastic improvements. I don't put much stock in numbers, either. I want the whole package...the number, the look, and the feeling.

I've been "working out" for a few years, but I didn't concentrate on cardio. I was mainly hitting the weights. I was getting stronger, but my stamina wasn't improving, nor were the numbers on the scale or how I felt.

I made it a goal to become a better all around package. I blogged about it here, calling it Project: Better Best5Zach.

So, on January 8th, I was 177 pounds and 26.1% body fat.

I decided that I would concentrate solely on cardio, and I would make a serious effort to hit the gym at least 3 times a week. I love to eat too much to diet. But, I figured I would try portion controlling and see what happens.

Well, it's been 4 months. Where do we stand? Well, because I haven't dieted, that depends on when you ask me. If you ask me on a Friday, it's terrific. If you ask me on a Monday, it's terrible. Why? Well, no cardio on the weekend and I eat and eat. In fact, this past Friday, I was 19.9% body fat and down to 159 pounds. Whoot!  My Monday, I was up to 21% and 163. Sad face.

Weight fluctuations aside, I am happy with where I am. 17 pounds and 6% deltas are no small thing. Softball season is ramping up, as is soccer here at NASA. I haven't had any problems with either, which is a big change. But, I'm still not as fast as I want to be, so I still have to loose some weight.

My wife has had terrific success with her Advocare Program. So much so, that people are knocking the door down to have her help them because of the very real results she has seen.e

I fought it and fought it. Diets are for women or men who can't control themselves. Well, maybe I fit that category. So, I broke down and had Alyse order me the stuff to get started.

Today is the first day to try it. Battle #1? No coffee. That's right. I am using the Advocare Spark instead. Advocare provides a step by step pamphlet to tell you what to take and when.

What's the plan? Their 24 Day Challenge that is centered around a cleanse program. I plan on getting to 150. I don't know what body fat to expect, so let's see what happens. After I get to 150, I am going to use their muscle building program to lean up and get strong.

I encourage you, if you struggle like me, to check her out on her Advocare PageFaceBook page or Instagram Page for what real results look like.