The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods— a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “HJL”. Amazon Echo is at the center of a Murder trial as evidence now.

Modern Nomads

A growing segment of America is redefining what a nomadic lifestyle is. CBS news recently ran a new special on this. Upwards of one million Americans are now embracing a modern nomadic lifestyle where the home and property has been sold or rented out and the family now lives and travels in an RV. The article referenced suggests that those people feel that the open road lifestyle has made them happier and improved their marriages. Certainly, they don’t have the same battles over property taxes and other things that most American’s deal with. With homeschooling so available, this can be a lifestyle even for young families.

Saving Your Home

Yahoo has an article on a man who chose to fight for his home rather than evacuate in Paradise, California. Egged on by his 90 year-old mother who refused to evacuate and armed with garden hoses and buckets of water from a swimming pool, he and his mother’s home health aide battled flames all day Thursday and into the night. It should be noted that this was not his first fire and he had some experience at dealing with it. He was able to save his home while those around him lost theirs. I noticed in the article that the description of the properties surrounding him suggested that may have played into the problem. There were apparently lots of flammable things around the properties and right next to homes.

Power Utility in California

Reader H.L. sent in this article on the fires in Northern California. Apparently, the Pacific Gas & Electric utility company told a resident that power lines were causing sparks on her property the day before the deadliest blaze in the Golden State’s history destroyed the nearby town of Paradise. Why is it that California can’t seem to manage how their infrastructure impacts the environment. I’ve not heard of any other state that has the same types of issues with power lines as California does. The utilities have already received immunity from lawsuits in several past fires and it seems doubtful that they would get that leniency again given the public backlash over that decision.

What Drives Doomsday Preppers

Showing just how out of touch the coastal elites are with the rest of America, reader GP sends in this article from The New Yorker. The author of the article takes a dim view of preppers. Within the first few sentences, I could see the similarity to the TV show “Doomsday Preppers” where they profiled the odd and most absurd instances they could find. Even just using the word “Doomsday” implies that preppers are somehow “out there”. The author lets it slip in the video just how she feels. At the 5:00 mark in the video, she reiterates the governments position that you should be prepared for 72 hours before you get government help and how futile it is to prepare for longer periods than that.

She just doesn’t believe it can be done. Of course, completely missing in the article is the day-to-day preparations that are required for things like loss of a job, loss of income, or any number of smaller crises that can ruin a family. “Don’t worry, the government will help.”

GPS Jammed During Exercise

It would appear that Russia actively engaged in jamming GPS signals in the last NATO exercise. While the US government says they were unaffected by the Jamming, several other nations experienced problems. Most disturbing in the whole situation is that the jamming was large scale over the area and that all civilian operations that depend on GPS were severely impacted. That would include civilian jets, communications and other infrastructures that depend on the GPS signal.

Obviously, Russia was letting NATO know of their capabilities, yet the effects were felt more in those areas that did not have alternatives or hardened navigation capabilities. The jamming was inappropriate considering the civilian effects, but consistent with Russia’s policies. It should also be a wake up for those who think that GPS navigation will always be there. Thanks to DSV for the link.

Why the AK-47

As promised, Reid Henrichs of Valor Ridge has a video out on why he likes the AK-47. Of course, right at the top of the list is that it is durable and just works. A quality built AK will last your lifetime and probably your children’s lifetime. They are not as innacurate as many make them out to be. Some AKs are as accurate as some ARs, but the rifle is accurate enough for what it is designed to do. The parts are much bigger than an ARs and they are easy to put together. It is a very simple rifle to use overall.

The rifle is designed so that those with little training can pick it up and use it effectively. Also, the open sights are very effective for close in operations such as room clearing. The sights give roughly the same sight picture as a pistol so there is very little mental processing that goes on in switching back and forth between it and a pistol. Thanks to T.J. for the link.

Amazon Echo

A judge has ordered Amazon to release the recordings that Amazon’s Echo device made in a home that is in the center of a murder trial. While I have no problems with a court order (warrant) making a private company turn over data that is relevant to a murder trial, I am disturbed that a private company has the data in the first place. When you buy one of these devices, you allow a company to record practically everything that is said within the walls of your home.

How many private conversations have you had where you would not want anyone outside of your home to know what was said? That would include conversations about your finances, your job, your troubles, your plans and anything else that you normally think is private. Nope, I won’t have even a smart phone in the same room with me when I want a private conversation.

o o o

Please send your news tips to HJL. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who watch news that is important to them. Due to their diligence and focus, we benefit from fresh “on target” news. We often “get the scoop” on news that is most likely ignored (or reported late) by mainstream American news outlets. Thanks!


  1. Question: On the article about nomads, in relation to JWRs recent “going ghost” article, could someone explain to me what is the difference between being a nomad, going ghost and a migrant that makes up the golden horde?

  2. Re. CA fires.

    I think the knee-jerk reaction to blame tree/shrub management in CA is a red herring and distraction from finding the truth. Like the saying goes, ‘It’s the sparks stupid’.

    1. 1) I strongly disagree. When Trump noted how the tree huggers in California had caused this problem, a torrent of outrage from the Democratic-controlled News Media savagely attacked him and claimed it was climate change.

      2) To find real news anymore, you have to go to British Reuters –which still has some respect for the tradition of objectivity and truth in journalism.

      As Reuters notes, California’s forest are grossly overcrowded tinderboxes because of environmental regulations and bans on timber cutting:

      3) In my opinion, our major news media exists solely to lie to the American People on behalf of Democrat billionaires and politicians.

    2. 1) Note that it was especially deceitful for the News Media to print California Governor Jerry Brown’s claim that a large percentage of California’s forests are managed by the US Forest Service. The US Forest Service has been continually attacked by a barrage of treehugger lawsuits in California to coerce the Forest Service into the environmentalists agenda:

      2) Yet does anyone see our News Media holding those environmental groups to account?

      The News Media doesn’t have to tell outright falsehoods to lie to you — Lies of Omission work just as well.

      Were the Californians who died in these fires all Republicans and Trump supporters?

  3. GPS: Hopefully most of us here are not planning on relying on a GPS for any long duration during issues. Recently, I have started collecting newer State maps to replace the older ones and the bigger Atlases we have. Very compact and easy to use with practice…except for folding them back up.

    AK-47: Before my eyes went South, I was able to consistently hit metal plates at 200 yards. The AK and variants are solid weapons, just that I need a thicker pad for my shoulder now…and optics.

  4. re:
    ‘information’ from MainStreamMedia

    Fox? CNN? CBS? New York cityists? Not interested.

    In every example of the last two-hundred years, MainStreamMedia lied. Mis-quoted. Fabricated. Concealed. Mis-directed.

    And sometimes == gasp == they make stuff up.

    I have a rule. A simple rule. And my rule is infallible:
    Never believe anything from the government agents.

    This extrapolates to:
    Televisionprogramming. Radioprogramming. Newsprogramming.

  5. On the GPS jamming, that is one reason why you should not solely depend on electronics in an emergency situation. Learn and know how to use a map and compass in a survival or even an everyday situation such as hiking, hunting, etc.

  6. Re: The AK as ideal prepping weapon I have to say: I don’t think so.There is a long-term “fascination” with the AK that started during the Vietnam War and continued through to the 80’s, when one could purchase a very solid AK for $200 or less. Now the prices are MUCH higher — indeed, they are higher than solid ARs can now be found for. But since the 1980s the AR has undergone a transformation to the point where it is now a near PERFECT mid-powered rifle. They’re relatively inexpensive, the work extremely well, they’re available in a wide range of calibers firing a wide range of load types, they’re perfectly suited to optics (which the AK most certainly is NOT), they’re just as easy to learn to operate as the AK, they’re lighter than the AK, and VASTLY more spare and/or improvement parts are widely available (and yes, they are most accurate, more consistently, than the AK). AND, you can easily build your own (to whatever level of perfection you wish). You can even build your own from 80% lowers, with no serial number and no record of sale (you CAN do the same with AKs, but not without some difficulties). In it’s current state, the AR-15 is surely the best practical defensive weapon ever built. The AR-15 is a home-grown treasure right in front of us; something virtually everyone (and surely every prepper) should have. The AK is an amusing and expensive antique.

  7. Muddy,
    My opinion is the lines can blur. Some people “going ghost” may be living what others see as a nomadic lifestyle. May even be part of their legend. People who choose to ride the rails may take on a few of the behaviors of staying under the radar.
    I envision true migrants as being overcome by events. Being the gray man or ghost takes a back seat to finding water, food, and shelter. Just my 2 cents.
    Dan and Randy,
    Great point about the maps. I keep an old atlas just I case there may be some old roadways that I could use if necessary. I need to collect a few newer maps while they are still available.

  8. I read the Doomsday Prepper Article from NewYorker. Wow! What bias!

    A liberal LEFTIST statist manufacture of information for the uninformed minds. In other words, those that believe this Leftwing bias will be the first killed in a world event.

    Not that the article totally misses the boat on why we prep. They blame Donald Trump for the debacle in the Earthquake in Haiti, just as they blamed George Bush for the debacle of Hurricane Katrina. What a debacle in management, they state! You Leftist retards! If the billions upon billions of dollars USD didn’t make a dent in helping those non-preepers in those crises, then don’t criticize Preppers for being part of the solution in a world crises and not a problem in asking the government for handouts which apparently is not there.

    One thing the article left out was Obama knowingly letting an individual into the US with the Ebola virus, him exchange five terrorists from GiTMO for an Army traitor–“Birdog”, cover-up for Benghazi, forking over $200-Billion USD to Iran allowing them to be nuclear in ten years, apologizing for American behavior in Europe whilst standing on American servicemen graves, harnessing American taxpayers to the Paris Climate Accord, forcing a universal healthcare that was a real debacle with added tax for each American, and the list goes on and on.

    It will always be Bush and Trump and even Reagan who screwed the country. There will be never, no, not no how, any criticism for the Obamas, Clintons, Carters any time soon, in any of their media outlets.


  9. It is a mistake to try to save your home with a garden hose and buckets of water. That this family was successful was pure luck/chance. Statistically they should be amongst the dead. In a wind driven wild fire the right thing to do is leave early and fast.

    These fires are not the same fires as the ones we saw this summer. The Summer fires were made worse by poor forest management. These fires are wind driven and no amount of forest management will stop them once started. They jump fire line, highways, managed areas everything. The sparks and embers can be carried for miles before starting a new fire.

    One of the things that made places like Paradise attractive to settle in 100 or more years ago was that it was a pleasant meadow easy to farm and to build on. But it was the reoccurring fires that made these site meadows. These fires have reoccurred for tens of thousands of years and will continue into the future forever. When the Santa Anna winds blow smart Californians pack their car and pay attention.

    1. re:
      Structures in a forest-fire or other-fire area

      Here is one remedy == concrete walls, steel roof.

      And another == earth-bermed concrete.

      And another == live someplace else.

      1. “Live someplace else;” Pick your disaster. You can build as stout a house as you want. A big enough fire or flood, a strong enough hurricane or tornado, and it’s toast, plain and simple. Sure, you can “fireproof” a house, but the cost of that house would be untenable for most. The best I can do is to stay prepared, eyes open. Hell; I’d take it as a win if people would just stop tossing lit cigarettes out their car windows…

    2. I agree OneGuy, there is no reason to put yourself or others in danger to save your home. This person was lucky, this time. He should ask the firefighters if they would recommend staying to protect it, I know the answer already, NO! He endangered not only his own life but the lives of his mother and her home health aide. It’s not worth it. This is the reason we are all inundated with stupid laws, regulations, etc.

  10. I have current paper road maps of just about every state, and certainly all states surrounding where I live. I have gone to every county near me to get county maps (go their info center or chamber of commerce and they are free). In my county I have about 25 for everybody who may need one. Every few years I also buy the larger road atlas. I never look at GPS. I have been reading maps since I was a kid and rarely am ever lost. If I go overseas same thing road maps!

  11. I have dreams of becoming a “nomad” too but not to hide (go ghost) from anyone or anything but because it sounds like great fun and a way to see the country. Probably you can bug out anytime easier than from a fixed location and if planned well you can have provisions to last for a long time.

    So I study for that eventuality and there are many You Tube videos on the subject which I keep up on and a few I especially like. Let others make the mistakes and learn from them I say. Many tips learned from SurvivalBlog will be incorporated into my lifestyle. I hope to make Arizona as my base and will have topographical maps of it and the states surrounding it. Never have used GPS but no doubt something in the future will have it that I need but will always have maps first and a compass.

    You can be as alone or have as many people around you as you wish. There are cliques and clubs just like real life. I especially like the saying I read or heard somewhere which goes…”All those who wander are not lost”.

    Gotta have that on my RV wall somewhere.

  12. I have a friend who practices geo-caching. He stated that the new forest service (read government) maps are leaving many forest service roads off of the new maps. State government maps may be doing the same thing. It is always best to compare the new maps with your older maps before discarding the old maps.
    It is always good procedure to know how to read a map and how to use a compass.

  13. “Echo,” “Alexa,” and the like; It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people are willing to give up their privacy for “convenience,” and their freedom for “security.”

    ‘Nuff said…

  14. Power utilities in California; given the temperature extremes in California, it’s very hard to “sag” the power lines properly. Sag is the amount of slack built into a cable span to compensate for expansion and contraction with temperature. This time of year, the temperature can swing from near 100* during the day, to below freezing at night. Sag the span for the hottest part of the day, and it’ll be too tight at night. Sag it for the low temp, and there’ll be plenty of slack in the span during the day; enough to allow them to “slap” each other and throw sparks. There’s a balance point that needs to be maintained. I’m not for letting Edison off the hook, but there are physical limitations to what can be done. I guess the question here is whether or not Edison practiced due diligence, or did it… slack off…

  15. Nomad life style, I believe there are more people than stated. There are websites that are job boards for these people workamper is but one of several of these sites.

  16. I find no small irony that those who are often most vehement in their condemnation of the NSA and PATRIOT Act, and such will both give their most intimate details to Facebook and Google (YouTube) including pictures of their children who have no voice in it. And then tell everyone if they want to interact or view content, they have to go to Faschbook or Googmorrah vision – and most people don’t have ad/tracker blocking.

    They give to big tech on a silver platter what they are horrified that the NSA might be collecting.

  17. I think going “ghost” in a nomadic, RV lifestyle is a romantic notion, a fantasy if one thinks you are off-the-grid. There are so many TV cameras monitoring our society now that there are few places in any town that don’t have some coverage. You have to buy fuel regularly, there is no escaping the poor fuel economy of big rigs and small ones don’t have the capacity to carry much in the way of supplies. If you want to use an RV for recreation, cool, I do, but loading up my supplies to live on the run if the SHTF? Only toyhaulers really have the space for significant preps – if you leave the quad behind.

  18. reply to Tom about utility lines.

    Then maybe they should redesign the poles to accommodate the line issues. Alternating branches or spread them wider. Maybe calibrate the lines to allow for the temperature variations. Heck, even span them shorter or change the composition of the lines themselves. Putting them underground would be best (but is cost prohibitive I understand). For the amount of money they will be spending on legal payouts I’m pretty sure something could be found that works.

  19. Another consideration with the RV nomad lifestyle is the problem you will encounter if you carry firearms in the rig. Local and state restrictions on what you are legally allowed to own will put you at risk for severe penalties if you happen to drive in the Wrong Government Zone, .ie state or local area with restrictive ownership restriction..
    Read up about problems some have encountered when driving through the eastern seaboard of the US with guns aboard. You don’t want to go to New Jersey, Maryland or pretty much most places in the NE use with standard capacity [magazine] gear.

  20. Concerning the GPS banning, everyone is missing the point and worried about navigational problems. They pale in comparison to the military reasons for jamming GPS. Almost every piece of ordinance from artillery/mortar to missiles and bombs are now GPS guided. Most of our leanings have been to smaller more precise weapons to eliminate the target with little to no collateral damage. We don’t have “dumb” munitions anymore. The Russians still practice grid square annihilation to solve their problems and they have the weapons, warheads and practice to do it.

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