Posts Tagged ‘funny’

Well, if you have been following my blog you have noticed I’ve been out of commission for a while. Part of that was some changes in my personal life and part was as a result of my Preparing to Survive experiment. In my last post I explained the difference between preparing to survive an urban disaster and practicing the skills necessary to survive an urban disaster.

Practicing urban survival skills is not that easy. Somethings that may be perfectly appropriate in an emergency may be frowned upon in everyday life. Like the day I was practicing alternative fire starting on the Highline in NYC. The cops were not amused.

What I wanted to explore recently was how my body would react if there was an urban catastrophe and, as predicted, there was a shortage of food from the usual places we urbanites obtain our food from (e.g. The Cheesecake Factory, Dominos and the local Bodega). Since there are a ton of rules we have to follow in the city, I could not pull a Les Stroud and hang out as a homeless person in NYC to see if I could find food, water and shelter. Some socialite would call the police and I would just be taken to a homeless shelter where they would provide me with food, clothing and shelter plus bed bugs.

So I thought I would just see if I could duplicate what it would be like to restrict my diet to what would be available to me if there was no more food on the store shelves. What would I eat? There are no wild berries and caribou crossing Central Park. What we do have though are a lot of squirrels.

squirrel factssquirrel

So 313 grams equals about 11 ounces of squirrel meat.  An average squirrel yields about 3 ounces of meat so this chart equals almost 4 squirrels.   Okay, that is doable.  I think I can go on a squirrel diet for a week and see how my body reacts.

police stop

Unfortunately, according to the City of New York and PETA, squirrels are a protected species.  So are pigeons (I suggested an alternative).

So, how do I ascertain how my body and mind would react to a drastic change in diet?  The answer came from an unusual place. A chubby colleague of mine was going in for gastric bypass surgery and was told he needed lose 100 lbs. before he could have the surgery to lose weight. Huh? I still don’t understand that rationale but fortunately for me he was given a diet of high protein meal replacement shakes to help him lose the weight.  The shakes have almost the exact nutritional value of squirrels!  So I bought a week’s worth of shakes from him (felt like I was buying on the black market) and started my experiment.

For the next seven days all I would eat was 3-4 shakes per day and record my experience in a daily diary.  I can sum up the whole week with the one phrase “it sucked!”

Day one:  Surprisingly not hungry.  Noticed a diminished cognitive capacity, but not sure if it was related to my advanced age or the shakes.  Urinating a lot, but figured I’m drinking shakes, so it makes sense. Felt a little hungry at night but got through the day okay.

Day two: Seriously, I’m not thinking straight.  At the end of the day, I ask my colleague if he had similar experiences, and he said that it was probably due to dehydration.  A little tidbit of information he failed to tell me at the beginning.  Apparently you have to drink a LOT of water.  I drank additional water that night.  My energy level has tanked.

Day three: Have not caught up hydrating and it is apparent I lost some weight. As the day progressed  I hydrated more frequently.  I’m getting used to not physically eating.

Day four to day seven.  Uneventful.  I slowly regained my physical strength and what little cognition I previously had.  I lost a total of 10 lbs but felt like I could still go on just having shakes for nutrition.  I opted to stop the experiment as planned.  I slowly went back to eating normally.

Day 10: I sat down to write this blog post.  I felt a weird feeling in my right kidney.  Similar to what it feels like days after getting a bad kidney punch.  Plus I had an overwhelming urge to use the bathroom.  Both the pain in my kidney and the urge to relieve myself grew increasingly worrisome.  Within in four hours, I was at the ER with a morphine drip in one arm and a very nice nurse on my other side assuring me it was okay to cry.  Yes folks, I was passing a kidney stone.  Apparently, another thing my colleague failed to mention was that there was a high incidence of contracting kidney stones while taking these shakes.  Combine that with my initial dehydration and I was down for the count.

But, the experiment was a success.  I now have the experience of feeling what it would be like to have my diet drastically change such as what may happen in an urban crisis.  Although I already knew hydrating was important, I now know that I underestimated how much water I need to function at peak performance.  Lastly, I realized that the decisions I make at the beginning of a crisis can and will have a profound effect later.  I kept the kidney stone as a reminder of that.

Keep practicing!

Hello all.  First, let me say that if you have subscribed via email, your email message usually does not contain the whole post.  To see the whole post you may have to go online.  Usually I put the most relevant information at the end after a some nonsensical jokes or something …like…. this!

Recently, I happened to come across two of my colleagues talking about how long it would take to respond to various scenarios such as some of the scenarios you may have read right here on the Urban Survival Blog.  Specifically, they wanted to know how long it would take to respond to an unforeseen threat.  The problem of course is once you tell someone you are going to do something it becomes impossible to really catch them off guard.  Nevertheless, they wanted to give it a go.  So they had to come up with a way to “test” reaction time to an event (stimulus for those egg heads out there).  Now most people would choose to do this by, I don’t know…… dropping a ruler and seeing how far the ruler drops before the other person catches it.?  You can find this very intuitive experiment here: http://www.raftbayarea.org/ideas/Human%20Reaction%20Time.pdf

Well….. that’s for namby pamby 7 year olds!!  Not Urban Survivalists!  They decided they wanted to try something more realistic.  So they agreed they would test if one could block a slap in the face.  One person would slap the other.  The person being slapped would try to put his hand on his cheek to mitigate the slap. To be fair they would take turns slapping each other. It kinda looked like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=5D8LaFAZMZ4

So folks what have we learned?  Well…… no one likes getting slapped in the face. When you think you were hit just a little harder then you hit, you make up for it and voila!  You get a slapfest. Okay…. I really did not want to post a video of a slapfest but I couldn’t help myself….  for those too high brow to watch two people slapping each other just skip the next video 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foCW-tPkiks&feature=related

Okay, now that we got that out of our system, let’s talk human reaction time.  We all have different reaction times.  These times are dependent upon the stimulus, our own physical condition, our mental/emotional condition and of course, the environment.

Believe it or not there is a lot of science behind the study of human reaction time. Think about if a 100 yard runner could react to the sound of the starter pistol 100th of a second faster.  That may very well mean the difference from obtaining a gold medal rather than a silver medal.  But what would happen if there was a slight incline in that person’s lane?  Would that affect how fast that runner could run?  If that runner had a big bowl of egg foo young the night before and is feeling that wonderful queasy eggy side effect?  Would that impact how fast that runner would hit the finish line?  Lastly, what if that runner heard some devastating news the minute before the sound of the gun?  Would that effect the runner’s start time?

Makes sense.  In the world of Urban Survival, reaction time can mean the difference in making it and not making it.  So what do you do?  Can we do things that will potentially improve our reaction time in the event we are faced with a life and death situation?  The answer is yes!  My colleagues, although funny to watch actually got better at protecting themselves as time went on.  Now, I don’t suggest you grab your friend and start slapping each other (if you do please post the video here).

There are fun and easy ways to improve your reaction time starting right now.  One simple way is to be in better physical shape.  Exercise more.  You cannot respond if you are gassed out.  Second, be in better mental/emotional shape.  Practice meditation, and practice mind enhancing games (see below). Lastly, be aware of your environment at all times.  You can read the post on situational awareness here:  https://urbansurvivalblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/urban-survival-situational-awareness/.

To start you off,  here is a fun reaction time game my friend Bill sent me.  I warn you, it can be addicting!  So get to it!  Thanks Bill for the game and the inspiration for the post. http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sleep/sheep/reaction_version5.swf

Sometimes when I tell people I teach urban survival, they think of the time during WWII when occupied urban territories were the battle ground for resistance fighters. The resistance fighters did not have conventional weapons so they improvised with what they had. Fortunately, France had a lot of wine bottles and liquor and made good use of the molotov cocktail.

I have to admit, I thought the molotov cocktail was derived from some Israeli word (I guess similar to Mazel Tov?). I was wrong.  The term molotov cocktail was coined by the Finns during the Winter war of 1938. They were fighting the Soviets who invaded Finland that year. The name is an insulting reference to the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov. Who knew?

So yes, a core component of my urban survival curriculum is using your environment for things like self-defense, shelter, food, etc.

For example, I can assure you that unless you are sitting at your desk nude, you have on your person an object that can be repurposed for defense. If you are reading this at your desk in the nude, please at least put a towel on the chair seat. Someone else may want to sit there later. Ewwww.

So what’s in your pocket (or purse)? Some common items may be coins, keys, a wallet and maybe make-up. It is well-known that keys make a nifty self-defense weapon. Coins may be used as a distraction and can be thrown in the face of an aggressor to buy you (no pun intended) that small amount of time to get out of Dodge. Plus, it doesn’t really cost much to do it either! My Bubby would be so proud. I can hear her now…. “I’m so proud of you!  You saved your life and it only cost 75 cents!”

Your wallet may contain a credit card that can be used to cut an aggressor. Lastly, make-up cases, brushes, powders, liquids can all be used as defensive weapons.

There are many sites out there that lists people’s ideas of improvised weapons from rolled up newspapers to teddy bears.  I encourage you to look at them.  In my courses I go over many items that are uniquely repurposed for defense.  For now, look around you.  What is on your person that can be repurposed for defense.  Then reach around……….  your area.  What is in arm’s length that you can grab and repurpose.  As you walk around town ask your self what is around me that I can use for defense if I needed to defend myself right now.  The more you get used to thinking about these things, the more it becomes second nature.

BTW, if you happen to have any other good ideas for an improvised weapon and would like to share…..  especially ones that are uncommon, please do!