The Great San Diego Blackout (Wake Up Call)

Do you want to hear a story of successfully being prepared?  After all, there are many, many stories of NOT being prepared when the blackout hit San Diego County last night.  They are everywhere- no water, no candles, nothing to cook dinner with, no generators, no gas, no maps, no communications, no walking clothes, and the list goes on.  Luck was on many people’s side last night and they need to be honest about that…

So, I make it my business to be prepared.  I teach others to be prepared.  I was on my way to a local gun range to teach handgun skills as a program of being prepared (see   You’d think I should be uber-prepared, right?  Well, let’s see…

Once I got to the range and found out they were closed, I met a student there and we decided to convoy to my house.  I pulled out my charged, 36-mile (so they say) 2-way radios to converse with.   We kept our handguns, well, handy (but legal).  Then we did a map study on our smart phones.  Amazingly the traffic links were still working and we narrowed down the 15-mile trip to one that eventually only took us 30 minutes. If the smartphone wouldn’t have worked, the maps in my truck- oh wait, I left those at the office….

Good thing I always kept the truck at no less than half full.  There were cars all over with no gas, AAA wasn’t responding, nor were tow trucks. No gas stations were working either… I did feel comfortable knowing I had a stash of gas at the house too…

Once we got home, we started preparing for darkness, with candles, lights and such. My favorite gadget of the night was a motion detection LED light that used rechargable batteries.  Whenever we went inside to get something they lit up the room perfectly. Neat…   What we didn’t like was the heat.  When the kids went to bed, they were sweating and there was nothing to do about it.  One sleep outside.

Now, having a crank radio was awesome.  Kind of.  I got a little tired of cranking it every 30 minutes, but we had great info on what was going on. AM 600 is definitely the “go to” station in an emergency.  Listening to people report on what was going on in different areas was good.  It was funny to hear a slur in a few folks speech…

The reports on the radio said we’d probably have power by mid-Friday. Not one to trust the spoken word, I still filled up my trash cans and tub with water (for drinking).  Always do things while you can (my daddy used to say).  Good thing too, some areas lost all their water.

When I looked around the neighborhood, I could see a few people with generators and a couple of houses really lit up.  Hmmm, if I was a crook, that might be a juicy target.  Other people were less visible, and some just buttoned up.  Very interesting, indeed.  I think I’d rather stay un-observed.

Well, power came on around 1am and life began to return to normal.  Almost. While I’m at the office today, my wife it making another trip to Costco for some more of the motion lights and I’m ordering her a phone charger. I’m also putting my maps back in my truck!  My big lesson is that being prepared means your preps must be near you for you to use them.

What’s your lessons learned?


Great Sources of Preparedness Info

Are you getting ready for a possible crisis?   If you read the headlines these days, you might ask “Possible, don’t you mean probable?”.  I agree. Hurricanes, economic disruption, unemployment, increasing crime, heck, you name it….

People are turning to books, magazines, blogs, podcasts, and more in an effort to get their families prepared for coming crisis. No rational human wants these crisis to occur, but we want to be prepared, really prepared, just in case.   So in that effort some of the following sites are getting mucho exposure:

and more!

These and all the related books, gadgets and gear are flying off the shelves just as gold continues to go ballistic.  Most of your who know the mechanics of the phenomenon know that this is just rational humans looking to take care of thier future-no matter what happens.

I want to draw a distinction though, that there is a major difference between reading about something and actually PRACTICING that skill.  Most of these sources help us understand what needs to be done, but they don’t help us to actually embody this knowledge.  To embody any skill requires 1. Knowledge, 2. Actions, 3. Coaches, 4. Feedback and 5. Recurrence in order to actually turn it into a skill (and keep it!).

The Ready 5 program is designed to help people prudently do all of those things, but no matter where you are, you need to practice the skills in order to actually make them yours. Otherwise, it’s a great scholastic exercise that won’t do crap to save your life in the coming crisis.


Homemade Salsa, and I Really Mean, Homemade!

Homemade Salsa

I can’t think of a better way to be self sufficient and prepared than to grow all the ingredients in your yard or containers. Here in So. California we are lucky enough to have the weather to make that happen. Everything but the spices can be grown in a small yard or containers on a balcony.

5-6 tomatoes cored
1/2 white onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1-2 jalapeno peppers (seeded)
1/2 tablespoon salt (play with this amount to suit your taste)
juice from 1/2 a lime
1 capful of white vinegar
1 capful of apple cider vinegar
1/2 bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped

blend in food processor to desired consistency

** watch out your jalapenos will grow so well you won’t know what to do with 20 peppers!

Physical Fitness in a Crisis

Why do you workout?

Why don’t you workout?

These two questions should really bug the crap out of you.  Why? Because most people who don’t ask them and answer them honestly spend time, energy, money and lost opportunities doing what may not be what they are really after.

Let’s start with the first question.

If you work out to lose weight and look good, great!  That means you are in the market for someone of the opposite sex.  That is, in fact, one of our most basic drives as humans. We are all attracted to sexy bodies and working out to lose weight to build muscle does that for us. I have no beef with this.

If you workout to stay “healthy”, what does that mean.  Let me guess. No injuries, strong heart, no excess weight, and to keep your energy level high. What are your goals then?  How do you orient around them?  Do you attain your goals? Consistently?  My experience here is that most people fail at this when this is their goal. Why?  Because it really isn’t a defined and realistic goal.

Now, consider a new goal.  Consider that a crisis is coming, that you may need to fight for your life, or your kid’s life.  Tell yourself that it IS going to happen, and the only thing to keep you or your kids/wife/husband alive is your ability to do something.  Like drag them from a burning car. Carry them to the hospital.  Run from gunfire. Carry 5 gallons of water from the lake (40 lbs). Pull your kids out of the ruble of a collapsed building.

If you really imagined these things, does it really motivate you to work out?  It does for me!  I know I have three lives that depend of my actions right now. In a crisis, I had better have the strength, endurance, flexibility, and mindset to help them. With that motivation, I practice the workouts that most simulate these actions and build up my capability. Crossfit comes to mind, but there are other options too. Here’s a link to another blog on the topic.

If you don’t workout.  How can anyone rely on you?

Water-The Number One Threat to Life Here in San Diego

Do you agree with this title?  If so, how much do you know about where you get your water?  How much trust do you put in our local and federal government to provide you with drinking water that doesn’t harm you?  Did you know that there are nominally 10 MILLION deaths per year (worldwide) due to unsatisfactory drinking water? (I just read that today)

Where do we get our drinking water here in San Diego?  Can you imagine if and when it’ll ever be shut off?  I’ve spent the week preparing for one of our classes called “Water-Three Days to Live”, and it’s been an eye-opener.   We are so dependent on the import of water in SOCAL that one crisis or emergency related to transportation or water and this place will explode!  Do you know where to get drinkable water once the faucet turns off? Most people don’t.

The truth is, there is water everywhere, it’s just not drinkable, and trying to find equipment to make it drinkable will be in short supply once a crisis hits.  That’s why preparing before a crisis hits can save you and your family’s lives.  Don’t wait.  Learn how to store water, acquire water, filter water, and treat it for drinking.  Now, before a crisis hits.


What exactly is an “Economic Collapse”?

According to Wikipedia, it is:  “a devastating breakdown of a national, regional, or territorial economy. It is essentially a severe economic depression characterised by a sharp increase in bankruptcy and unemployment. A full or near-full economic collapse is often quickly followed by months, years, or even decades of economic depression, social chaos, and civil unrest.”

I was fortunate to have majored in Economics in college, primarily because I simply thought it was interesting.   I still do, as a matter of fact.  I learned back then that an economy is built upon people buying and selling, or transactions they make in order to survive and live a good life (as they see it).

As I read through the headlines, blogs, and books hitting the stores, the term “Economic Collapse” is being thrown around like everyone really knows what it is.  Can an economy really collapse?  In my understanding that would mean people would no longer be making transactions.  Maybe that could happen, especially if there is chaos and civil unrest like the definition above states.

I’m not so sure though. Even in the most war-torn places people still transact, either as barter or simple currency transactions.  Now, in my reading of the future, I do think the world is in for some really nasty economic tribulations.  Unemployment, defaults, bankruptcies, high taxes, currency devaluations, riots, crime, and maybe even touch of over-reaching governments are just some of the things I see coming up to the plate.

Ever since that first caveman decided to trade with another caveman, though, transactions, buying and selling, and economic activity has been in the best interest of those wishing to survive and continue their species.

So why would anyone continue to use a term like “Economic Collapse” when it’s more accurate to speak about what will really happen, chaos included?  (hint-it might have something to do with agendas)  The real question and issue is what would these future uncertainties mean to me and my family.  That’s why we started Ready 5!


Situation Awareness and the OODA loop (in action)

I read this story this morning and I found it interesting from a few different viewpoints, but wanted to write about it from the Situation Awareness (SA) viewpoint, since I’m teaching a class on that this weekend. Those of your who know what the OODA loop is may not need to read this link (, but that is what jumped out for me in this story.  Read it, and notice what Maria does and how quickly, with the resultant outcome….

Teens in a mob assault and rob Center City patrons

By Mike Newall

Inquirer Staff Writer

The two young women were sitting at a window table inside the Max Brenner restaurant on 15th Street, near Walnut, sharing chocolate fondue after some shopping.The streets were vibrant. The weather was nice.”The city had a good vibe,” remembered one of the women, Maria, who requested her full name not be printed.But their night on the town was about to become frightening.Heading their way was a pack of teens roving through Center City after leaving a North Philadelphia music festival.They were part of about 100 or more young people who had left Saturday night’s event, police said, committing a series of violent assaults and robberies, including one against Maria, 25, of North Philadelphia, and her cousin Cecilia, 29, of Havertown….

…..Maria and Cecilia were enjoying their dessert at Max Brenner, with its large, open bay doors. Afterward, Maria, an interior and industrial designer, had planned to visit a Northern Liberties art exhibit. Cecilia was heading home.The women had spent the afternoon dress shopping. Maria is getting married soon.About 10 p.m., Maria said, she saw a shirtless teenager run past the restaurant.”He was running in the middle of the street and looked like he was running away from someone,” she said.Maria tucked away her phone and wallet, which had been sitting on the table.She grew up in Brazil, she said, and was more street-smart than her cousin.Before she could tell Cecilia to put her cell phone away, another teen reached through the window and snatched it.Maria ran out after him.She was on the sidewalk, starting to scream “thief,” she said, when someone from behind punched her in the jaw.She said she turned, jaw throbbing, to see the girl who had hit her standing with five other teens. “What are you going to do?” she said the girl who had punched her yelled.The teens were laughing, she said. “They were fearless. It seemed like they weren’t taking anything serious.”…

Did you catch it?

Did you see how Maria’s OODA loop worked for her? (initially anyway)

Her cousin, well, not so much.

The point that jumped out at me is how quickly Maria observed the situation, oriented towards it, decided, and then acted to put her phone and wallet away.  I’m impressed. It’s uncommon in the US and it allowed her to keep her things.

What are the ways that you use the OODA loop?  How is it embodied for you?  How should it be embodied?

Great job Maria!