Prepping: Popular Problems Q&A 1

The other day, I happened to be looking at some data on what preppers were really looking for on the web that landed ’em here on UrbanSurvival.  And I kid you not, these are some of the questions people are really asking:

#1. How do I trim too many Hobbies?

My oh my…do we have a common problem here!  I used to suffer the same dilemma.  But, eventually my approach was to parse-down the hobbies by sensory inputs.

You have five:  Sight, Smell, Sound/Language, Taste, and Touch, right?  Maybe extra-sensory perception as a sixth, but that’s debatable.

Now, when comes to hobbies, my sense is people do them because they “like them” but they have a hard time putting it all into words.

Got a pet theory:  I think people choose their hobbies because of how each feeds the brain.  My belief if that each of the major senses has a “general location in physical brain.”  Just as people experience “vitamin deficiencies,” I hold that people’s hobbies are important to avoid brain deficiencies.  Put off too many hobbies that feed and balance the brain, and you’re not doing yourself any favors.

My hobbies are designed to fill each of the senses during a typical day.  Both Elaine and I have one of the DNA genes that raises our odds of dementia/Alzheimer’s a tad above “average” so we’re keenly aware of feeding “all brain parts” in addition to following the guidelines in “The Alzheimer’s Prevention & Treatment Diet.”  Essentially, daily 14-hour fasting, along with a low carb, high fat diet, mental exercise, and physical workouts.

Sight: What I’m doing right now (writing) fills in the “sight” part of brain stimulation.  This is “my work” and doubtless, whatever you get paid for will be “feeding” one part of your brain.

My wife Elaine likes art.  That keeps her “looking” at things in ways that never occur to me.  “The guest room looks too “sticky” – too many pieces of furniture with stick-like legs…needs something to soften it…”  (See what I mean?  Different way of viewing than mine…)

Since my eyes have degraded thanks to a number of eye operations due to a displaced cataract lens implant, writing still works – although augmented with a 55-inch UHD monitor and big fonts.  Main thing, though, is that writing tunes up the occipital lobe (the part of the brain that does vision).  Whether work or through a hobby, ask yourself “What’s feeding my occipital lobe and keeping it “worked out?

Smell: One of the reasons a few of my friends get so involved in wine-tasting, beer brewing, and gardening is for the smell aspect.  This goes to the parietal lobe.  And this, in turn is also why people who garden may also like?  Kitchen time!

TasteCooking, you see, also live next-door to taste.  The reason food tastes bland when you have a cold is about half of taste is the palate processing along with smell receptors.

Tactile: My hobby for tactility is “shop.”  There’s woodworking and metal-forming and such.  Thing is, the tactile doesn’t just come in to one part of the brain – it’s more dispersed.  But, because you are usually standing, this is good for the cerebellum (balance lives there).

Sound:  I have over-developed this part of my brain: Temporal lobes (one either side of the brain) is where you process “sound.”  My hobby of ham radio (including high-speed Morse code) work out this part very effectively.  So does straining to hear that far away ham radio operator in Bugravia who’s signal is down in the noise floor….

Temporal lobe development in hobbies can come from being an audiophile, avid music listener, and so forth.

Organizing and Thinking:  If you find yourself drawn into long, deep philosophical conversations, the study of religion and philosophy, perhaps your hobby needs to feed the Frontal Lobe.  This is the existentialist part of the brain.  It’s where you personality, character, and behavior live.

Think of your brain as a micro-internet.  You need to work on porting information between brain areas.  So port from visual to sound areas or back…got it?

Exercise:  Some hobbies are “exercise intensive.”  My pet theory is that since the brain stem is where heart, lung and blood pressure live, just working your neck around may help keep blood pressure low.

No question about it, regular exercise will keep the blood pressure low, and cardio is good for everyone.  So, which of your hobbies will offer the most health payback?

After some neck-bending and deep breathing – even after two cups of coffee – my blood pressure was 117 over 72 with a pulse of 52.  It used to run 140 over 90.  If you want to be around for a while, focus on “managing your numbers” and what you have as hobbies helps drive these.  Sedentary  hobbies if you have high blood pressure might not be to bring….Be active or be dead doesn’t overstate it.

Yeah…that first question was not what I would expect people to be looking for when comes to “UrbanSurvival” but there you are…This should also help the people grappling with “too many hobbies, not enough time” – another popular “UrbanSurvival” question.

2.  How to Make Beef Stew Taste Better

Come on!  That’s not a prepping question, is it?”

Actually, yes. 38 people in the past month, which I found shocking.

There are two high-level approaches:  Add booze or add locally-cooked ingredients.

On the booze side, I regularly toss in two tablespoons of red wine per can of Dinty Moore. A burgundy is good, but for a change-up, a bottle of Blue Nun (which works well with mushroom sautes) but with white wine use three tablespoons.

Some people use scotch, bourbons aren’t to my liking.  And yes, beer can be used but that’s a matter of personal preference.

Remember, cook and hold at 170F or higher to cook off the alcohol.  Or not.  Gravy cocktail?

Locally-added foods can really help the same can of stew:  Serving over toast points will put the runny gravy to good use (and one big can will serve two this way).  Saute some mushrooms (with wine and Worcestershire sauce).  Mix with stew, serve.

Or, caramelize a large onion cut into fingernail sized pieces.  (The whole fingernail, not the clippings, lol…)  When sweet and a bit darker than golden brown, toss in the stew, heat and simmer for 5…the eat.  OK, over toast points, if you must.

3. How to Monetize Anything

Some basics of sales:  People are lazy, stupid, and willing to pay for anything where they see personal benefit or exceptional quality.  Benefit includes ego-boosting and making personal excuses.  In other words, political stuff.

I was in a conversation last week about “the popular social view” of things with a colleague who has one of the absolutely most interesting jobs in the world.  (I told her to write a book about it…)

Anyway, point is her job requires that she be keenly in touch with “the popular social view” and that’s been changing.  Lots.

To get rich by monetizing something, figure out where the next turn of the social mood will be.

Get in front of that and figure some uniquely useful way to “package what you have” to fit the mood swing…presto!

You and I know water makes up 73% of the Earth’s surface (or some-such number).  Step out into the rain, look up, open mouth…FREE Water!

But now, look at how to monetize it:

  • Location: Sell water in Phoenix or San Antonio – easy peasy.
  • Convenience:  Put it in a bottle.  Place in every quickie-mart.
  • Size: 5-Gallon “pure water jugs” for home use.  Make up routes to deliver…didn’t someone mention people are lazy?
  • Additives and Attributes:  Put colloidal silver in it… sell by the ounce.  Or infuse with Oxygen…quadruple the price.
  • Flavor it:  Add a hint of lemon or herb….
  • Mix it:  Here comes Gatorade.

The defining book on monetization is actually the defining book on the processes of invention.  That book is on Amazon and its title is “And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared: TRIZ, the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving.”

TRIZ  is the Russian science of inventive problem-solving.  It identifies something like 37-dimensions they list for anything.

For example – going back to water –   You can heat it and toss in additives.  And you get?


There you have it:  Some answers to UrbanSurvival Questions that real people are asking of Google.

If you have any prepping or survival questions, please send them along.  The Answer Man is here to serve…

Write when you get rich,

5 thoughts on “Prepping: Popular Problems Q&A 1”

  1. This may sound over-blown… but…
    When I took up Model Railroading it caused me to start to look at the plain old world with New Eyes. In making the most convincing and realistic scenery for a proper layout, every microscopic detail is important. The way the water’s edge looks in a small creek, the way the ivy grows up a downspout on an old-fashioned storefront hardware store — and what’s in the window, the way a gull sits on a piling at a dock, the little piles of Krappe and effluvia that lie abandoned along roadsides and tracksides. One must SEE, really SEE all the little mundane details of life to model effectively. It teaches one to view the world in an all-new and exciting manner. I think model railroading, practiced at that level becomes Sculpture — Fine Art — for grumpy old men who would instantly deny they are “artists” as too foo-foo, shee-shee.

  2. George, you obviously have more than five senses. You’ve written books using at least one additional sense.

    Regarding hobbies: Most of mine are because I want to add a skill, mostly to increase value by making things(or just learning to do so, like welding or repairing old equipment). There’s very little I do that doesn’t have a perceived value effect beyond the immediate experience.

    Synesthesia is the confluence of sensory perceptions. It can easily be enhanced by some psychedelics. (YMMV)

    The best exercise is horizontal with a member of the opposite sex, and (hint) it’s not swimming. Such exercise, done properly for several hours daily can help all sensory areas of the brain(and probably others too). Finding a willing and viable partner is the real challenge.

    Question: Why are the silver and gold charts diverging?

  3. Wow….I actually sat down with the wife..tuned in Netflix and watched a movie…Run boy Run…

    It brought back memories of stories told..I cared for someone that survived Auschwitz, someone that escaped the ghettos with the children, a guard from Auschwitz that had been placed in a prison here ( he was hated by his family. I didn’t even know he was a guard till after he left) and one of the soldiers that liberated the prisoners at Auschwitz..
    A very powerful wife and I reminiscent of the people we have known..
    I totally recommend anyone with Netflix watch it..

  4. George, your pet theory about hobbies reminds me of testing I had done at Human Engineering Laboratory (Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation, link in high school. Two-day battery of physical, mental, and psychological tests to measure “aptitudes,” innate abilities of an individual. Their theory was that if you have an aptitude and fail to use it, it will cause deep conflicts within your psyche. They also warn of confluences and conflicts among aptitudes. For example, I tested very low for “foresight” and very high for “ideaphoria,” which means I come up with a lot of ideas, but have a problem following through. Sure enough, my house is filled with projects enthusiastically taken up, but left unfinished as I come up with the next idea and abandon the last one. Interesting theory.

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