RESILIENT HOUSE- suburban homestead options 4 & 5 lost to cash buyers

HOW DOES THIS MAKERESILIENT?

Being a home owner of a house that lets us produce something gives us more options than just renting. We have more options and more opportunities by owning a home-we just have to find one that will allow the opportunities to happen and not hinder it. No HOAs, reasonable city regulations and some land.

This is a short update on 2 homes we bid on and both lost. Both properties had at least .25 acres and we lost both of them to cash buyers.

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Checklist from the previous post:
Our approach is more of a suburban homestead solution. We’ll live in a suburb in the Dallas area, I can commute to work and grow some of our own food. So far, I have whittled down my requirements to the following:

  1. good solar orientation for growing food
  2. good solar orientation for cold weather
  3. freedom within local laws to have some livestock
  4. space in the yard to grow food (preferrably in the backyard)
  5. space in the yard to grow something for market/sale
  6. fireplace for heating
  7. brick exterior preferred
  8. parking for 2 cars to protect us from hail (which we are still dealing with in one vehicle)
  9. distance from any facility/farm that can cause health concerns or dangers
  10. not if a flood zone

House no.4

This house was perfect from both mine and my wife’s reqts except that it did not have a garage. Best condition of all homes we saw built around that time. Any updates to it were done with great care and with good quality work. The yard was perfect, the layout was perfect. We even met the owner on the day we left after seeing it and totally connected with them.

House no.5

We saw this house on a listing on a Friday, drove the neighborhood on Saturday and luckily was able to see the house later that same day. It was seriously outdated on the interiors and needed lots of cosmetic work. However the structure seemed solid. There was a comprehensive list of previous repairs and maintenance done on the house, contained in 2 binders we saw during the visit. The backyard was tiny, but if fenced off for privacy I can do some things there.

suburban homestead


We bid on house no. 4 and 5 last week. House no.4 was ideal, no.5  I could make it work based on some ideas we came up with for House no.3-the one in Sachse. Monday afternoon we lost both bids. We were informed that both homes picked cash buyers. We were put up as back up buyers on House no.4 but that was as close as we got.

On both homes we were outbid by cash buyers. I can imagine a few reasons for this:

  • Investors are buying up the best deals
  • These may be from families who are being relocated for work in TX by their companies
  • Homeowners who are using delayed financing, paying from their other assets initially

If investors are purchasing like crazy in this market, I hope I do not continue to be a renter for the next few years. I can only imagine how expensive the rents would be then, and in these neighborhoods, as years go by. It is tough to be competing with these investors in this market, but then it will be tougher if I remain as a renter in the next few years to come.

On families getting moved by their corporate companies, it just shows how much economic growth is coming to Texas. I am not an economic expert, but there has been a lot of coverage on the news about how companies are relocating to Texas that I do not need to be an economic expert to know this anyway. I have met some people who were moved here and I heard how sweet the deals were for them when it came to their companies helping them purchase a home.

We have lost a few bids on houses. I did not immediately realize the emotional toll this has on my family. I have encouraged my wife to not get too emotionally attached to a dream home until we win and move into it. Still, despite the ridiculous competition, I have strengthened resolve that we need to get into a home sooner than later. If we stay as renters, it will only be tougher to purchase a home later on. It will also be more expensive to remain as a renter.


MakeResilient aims to help build a more resilient lifestyle and family. I believe that we need to be ready for big changes coming to our current way of life (more info at the Concerns page). I am intentionally leading my family so that we can adapt slowly over time for the changing future. I’m no expert on all things, but I am acquiring the knowledge and skills of new things that I need.

 

RESILIENT HOUSE- suburban homestead 3

HOW DOES THIS MAKERESILIENT?

Being a home owner of a house that lets us produce something gives us more options than just renting. We have more options and more opportunities by owning a home-we just have to find one that will allow the opportunities to happen and not hinder it. No HOAs, reasonable city regulations and some land.


We are still looking for a property in the Dallas area that is suitable for a suburban homestead approach. To summarize what I am looking for in general, here’s a quote from the last post:

Our approach is more of a suburban homestead solution. We’ll live in a suburb in the Dallas area, I can commute to work and grow some of our own food. So far, I have whittled down my requirements to the following:

  1. good solar orientation for growing food
  2. good solar orientation for cold weather
  3. freedom within local laws to have some livestock
  4. space in the yard to grow food (preferrably in the backyard)
  5. space in the yard to grow something for market/sale
  6. fireplace for heating
  7. brick exterior preferred
  8. parking for 2 cars to protect us from hail (which we are still dealing with in one vehicle)
  9. distance from any facility/farm that can cause health concerns or dangers
  10. not if a flood zone

I also use this great link from www.backyardchickens to do a quick check if the house I am looking at is in a city that allows chickens

http://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/3/Laws

After doing a quick check thru backyardchickens.com, if the city is okay with chickens, then I go and read the rest of the city’s regulations by searching these 2 keywords in Google – “municode” and the name of the city.

backyard chicken city regulations search

Doing this gives me a quick preview of the city laws and how laid back or how controlling the local regulations might be.

As an example, this week we ventured farther South of Dallas into Mesquite. Mesquite promotes itself as the “rodeo capital of Texas”. My wife explored several homes there which I mapped out from closest to furthest. She loved it and still raves about the great homes. However, that night after exploring the homes in that city, we did the search noted above and we learned that Mesquite does not allow chickens. You even need permits for horses in some cases. Honestly I found this hypocritical for a city that promotes itself as having freedom. So, just like that we crossed out hypocritical cowboy suburbs from our options.


HOUSE NO. 3

We were blessed to find multiple homes today that worked. We found one in Sachse and a few in Garland.

I will focus on a house we found in Sachse.

Suburban homestead 3

 

It has been really difficult finding a house which has at least 0.20 acres. After that frustrating day in Mesquite my wife zeroed in on several properties with the right lot size and found this house in Mesquite. It met most of the requirements above but the yard was in the wrong side of the house from growing something. The rear yard was facing east and was covered in trees. The front yard was a lawn facing the west side.If I was going to grow food and have chickens in this front yard it was going to take some work. Mainly because it would be too hot and the front yard because of the western sun and with chickens it may mean I need to make the coop more “attractive”.

 

Driving there I was glad to see several neighborhood houses that did not have a manicured front yard. Old cars parked on the front for repairs, unmanicured lawns- these are good signs for me as it means you can do what you want and the city will not bother you.

The house did not look that interesting on the outside. It was a real downer the first time I saw it with the front lawn eating up all the space.


INTERIORS

We went inside the house on Saturday-they had a scheduled open house period. The interiors was all done up. All we had to do was move in our stuff and I could get straight to working on my exterior improvements. The house price obviously reflected this, but the main benefits to me were obvious:

  • save time on improving the interiors ourselves
  • save time and get ahead on improving the exterior and I may get my garden up this season
  • all the new things installed are working and have warranties
  • wife is super happy about the house and this will keep her happy for a long time

The disadvantages for this are:

  • we pay for the big bump up in the house value due to the improvements which we can do ourselves (we also pay the interest on all of that)
  • we do not have any memories on doing the project
  • I will have to be creative with my exterior improvements
  • the rear yard still is not a great size and is not the greatest for solar orientation

We asked a ton of questions on this house while the agents were there. Got lots of answers too. I finally got to see the backyard as well during the day and looked for some spots for a potential garden. I ran a scenario in my head how we could make this work:

Given that the house is close to the price range we would pay for the other options we were willing to make offers on, I accepted the price. We would not be making money from this house when we sell it later-at least not as much money if we did the renovations ourselves.

My wife would love the home, and would keep her inspired and give her a feeling of contentment. She might get started on her hobbies as she gets inspired by the house. This would be great as life is amazing when your spouse is happy.

suburban homestead privacy bamboo
An example of bamboo screening for privacy

My wife suggested enclosing the front yard with bamboo. I liked the idea. This would take time and probably be about 2 years for there to be enough bamboo density for me to work with. Given that I will likely spend the 1st year just finding a spot for a long term garden, the 2 years should go by fast. I can focus on other projects til the bamboo is ready.


THE REAR YARD-MY SPACE FOR POTENTIAL PRODUCTION

The rear yard can hold my chickens. The ground is sparse. This is a sign that the yard does not get great sun-at least I think so. It is like my current house in Plano. This might not work for a garden. I did pick out a corner which had some good sun when we were there. The question was how long that sunlight would last through the day and throughout the year. I saw it in March, where would this shade be in August when it fries my garden?

suburban homestead
Sketch of a creek behind the rear yard

The rear yard is adjacent to a creek. I imagine this might have some bugs living in it andI can have my chicken coop right up against the fence. Any bugs wandering into the coop would add to my chicken’s diet. They would need to be in a coop in pretty much all the cities we looked at. This would also protect them from any animals coming from the creek. The creek was also in an easement-I would use this distance as part of the required clearance from the coop to the adjacent homes. I can make this work I thought.

The property has a line for natural gas. It’s not hooked up to the stove, but at least I will only need to extend plumbing to other appliances from the fireplace. Natural gas as a utility is a very resilient system and great for saving utility bills. You can connect them to a generator with some work, and they can provide you with good cheap heat even when you lose electricity.

The rear yard would also have space for a rain water storage solution and a great place for a small aquaponics set up. Both of these sound attractive to me because of previous failures growing in the ground.


CONCLUSION

The house was very attractive and turns out had already picked up 10 offers in that one Saturday. I imagine the competition was very high for it because of the interiors and because of the price for that house in that city.

Even though I had some ways planned out in my head on how to make the poor solar orientation and lot layout work for me, I think me and my wife both agree we should not offer on the house. We will put in our work and improve the interiors and we can pocket the savings and the profit. We also would have to raise the price high to compete with the other offers. This house is just a bit too hot for us to get. And, even if we offer high on it, the appraised value may not work for the seller of the house and us having to come up with the remaining balance.
The great thing though, is instead of just relying on finding a house with the correct lot layout, going thru this house made me realize I have quite a few options to make the lot work. I can be creative with my solutions and if I have enough land with no regulations hindering me I can still make it work. This is a valuable lesson learned which I am applying to the other homes we are still looking at.


MakeResilient aims to help build a more resilient lifestyle and family. I believe that we need to be ready for big changes coming to our current way of life (more info at the Concerns page). I am intentionally leading my family so that we can adapt slowly over time for the changing future. I’m no expert on all things, but I am acquiring the knowledge and skills of new things that I need.

Sickness = diet & lifestyle changes

Short personal post here. This week was a rough one filled with all sorts of minor ailments. I could not keep to my schedule and could barely meet my obligations at work due to it. Reminds me how the small things really affect us, but since they don’t make up these glorious stories in our lives we tend to forget them and deal with them preemptively. These inconveniences do happen and are pretty significant inconveniences at times. Read more “Sickness = diet & lifestyle changes”

AVOIDING FAKE NEWS – GETTING OFF THE ADDICTION

HOW DOES THIS MAKE RESILIENT?

Avoiding fake news will allow you to think for yourself and form your own opinions on the issues that actually affect you. You also gain time to invest in yourself and make your life and your family’s life much better.


What makes fake news fake? What does it mean for those who are already awake?

Fake news is not only stories that were marketed at you to gain money from clicks. It is not just the story you found on Facebook from someone’s blog which will later turn out to be false. This is not about “fake news” as a piece of inaccurate information. The internet is full of personal opinions, and as adults we should be able to spot those early on. Fake news in this article is means stories purveyed by major corporations staffed with highly educated journalists for the simple goal of shaping the public’s opinion. This is about avoiding that particular type of Fake news.

 

 

I used to be a CNN junkie. I felt l was being responsible and informed, a fully aware participant in civilized society. I knew the most crucial issues and lived my life in constant adjustment to what they said was “important”. If their hot topic was about a CDC report, then so was mine. If it was about a new law/regulation, then it was also my hot topic. My attention and opinions were controlled by this corporation that peddled information to it’s benefits. This was about 5 years ago now.

I am not sure how it got started but my awakening to the problem started around the time I saw how Ron Paul-then running for president-was being sidelined consistently in all the major news networks. It was a very coordinated effort in the view of a lot of Ron Paul supporters. I understand a lot of people are not Ron Paul supporters, but despite of who the candidate is, would you not be curious if there was an organized effort to vilify an individual across all networks who were supposedly operating independent from each other?

Around that time, there was also this very funny piece of video from Conan O’Brien. It was very funny-but later on was very disturbing.

When you look into it, these are all different TV networks across different political leanings. The videos were aired at around the same date, the words of each of these reporters on the streets were the same-almost word for word.

What does this have to do with fake news? Well, it means that this was a script. It was a script first manufactured in a news office, distributed down to staff who were then instructed to produce content/material to support it from the streets.

The content was then beamed to your TVs and fed to the “informed” citizen, and now he was insync with the important topics of the world-as defined and manufactured from the news office.

After this was made clear to me, the video became pretty disturbing. From then on, I realized multiple other examples of these. I would see the pattern from one source to the next, and you would have a sense that this was another piece of manipulated news you needed to keep yourself away from. I stayed away from mainstream media provided news and my exposure to them was limited to the elevator tv in my office building. Even then, I realized it when something was coming up-because they all had a pattern.


WHY SHOULD YOU AVOID FAKE NEWS:

The simple answer is: you should avoid fake news because it sculpts your mind by using inaccurate information designed to make you believe a predetermined agenda. If the goal is to make you believe that ebola is coming to your town in the next week-the focus will be to that end. If the goal is to make you believe the government will shut down on Tuesday unless the government officials agree on a budget increase-the news content will highlight all the day to day things that will ruin your life if the budget is not increased. If the goal is to make you hate Kanye West (or whoever else)-then the news material will be such.

If your sole source of information was what CNN said, then your opinions are completely under their control are they not? CNN or MSNBC or Fox or whomever, can make you agree/disagree, love/hate most things the way they want you to.

In a way, you have been brainwashed. You just didn’t know it yet. Your ability to think for yourself has been significantly handicapped. Until you detach yourself from their influence, and from their other brainwashed audience, you will be intellectually handicapped.

This may not be a big issue, because you were unaware of it anyway. Ignorance is bliss. But think about how this affects you, your family, your way of life. Your very way of life is dictated by your beliefs and opinions. You choose to eat at Mcdonalds because they now have salads and are working for your health. You maybe are also upset with immigrants because they will establish Sharia law in your town. Maybe you still think it was okay to assassinate a US citizen overseas because he was a terrorist after all. If your opinions were tilted to begin with, then your way of life is also affected by the fake news you had consumed.


A QUICK PERSONAL EXAMPLE

Say for example you grew up in a third world country like I did, in a city like Manila and you had a good childhood there. You had moved to the US and was able to live a pretty decent life. At some point you thought you would relocate back there or visit all the places you used to be in when you were growing up. However there is a slew of news about how the new president is creating a volatile nation, full of vigilantes and murder on the streets. You are advised that if you are an investor or planning to retire, do not put your money on any projects tied to that country, it is highly unstable and will lead to a dictatorship. CNN and other mainstream media companies will broadcast gory images, will popularize their chosen heroes and will vilify whoever does not work in their interest.

But hey you grew up there. You know folks from the place, you have contacts. You understand the local language. Because this is something worth digging into for yourself, you then choose to do your own research. You ask old contacts, or just check their facebook feeds-did anyone post something about violence? Watch the Youtube broadcast of the senate hearings-regardless of how painful they are to listen to. Did you pick up on the bias there from the lady leading the investigation? Why is the chairman feeding information to the witness and putting words into the witness’ mouth? Hey-why is CNN showing her in a good light after she lost her leadership position due to her obvious agenda and strong ties to the cartel being destroyed by the current administration?

You are now forming your own opinion. This took time and you had to endure some boring political discussion (without any commentaries from news anchors and reporters) but you saw the questioning procedures and hearings yourself. You heard the bias and saw the raw footage. You can continue following the story if you so desire, but by now you have stocked up on the backstory, gathered recent developments on the topic and are shaping your own perspective on the topic.


YOU CANNOT RESEARCH EVERYTHING

The problem in understanding the Manila story above-which I personally went thru-was that I had to invest time into it. I listened to the dang youtube raw footage while washing dishes. I spent time watching or reading about it during dinner and talked to my wife about it. We invested time into researching it because we could not just rely on what we were being fed thru international and local news sources.

This meant time from other things which we needed to do. Time away from a different, more pleasant conversation. Time away from a personal project. Less sleep maybe. If I want to research into something, I take time away from investing in myself and from building a better future. This simply means that I cannot research every topic that comes up. It is just not feasible to redirect my time, my resource on every topic that comes up. At some point, I will have to be very selective of what topic I want to tackle and find truth about.

You have to pick which topics are important to you if you want to vet them because you do not have the time to research them every time the fake news sources tell you it is critical.


EVERYTHING ELSE IS JUST A DISTRACTION

Do you recall when the news was all focused on Ebola? That it was now in the US and it was very likely to spread?

Do you recall when the news was all about the Zika virus?

Whatever happened to those people and those pending dangers when the news stopped? The sickness is still there but why is mainstream media not paying attention anymore? What else was going on at the time that you might have spent better attention to? What were the real topics that could have affected your life-which you did not realize? What did those news topics distract you from?

You have to realize that the news that they said was the most critical thing you had to focus on-was absolutely noncritical after all. They do not apologize afterwards to say oops sorry we made it a bigger deal than it should have been. By the time their focus on the topic wanes, they have a new one ready to serve to you. These are all coordinated to shape your perceptions towards their agenda. It also, absolutely, keeps your attention focused on more important things. Which important things? You may never know which ones unless you go back and dig. They either kept you focused on one thing because they wanted you to think a certain way, OR they kept you from realizing what the real issues were. It’s like a battle or like a chess game, keeping your opponent distracted is in your favor.


AVOIDING FAKE NEWS

In general, I abstain from mainstream media sources. Their business is to make content designed to distract me. I do not waste my time reading their breaking news or their latest trends. If the topic is something of interest to me or affects me, I will find it on my own as I go about my day to day. For example, if I was researching on buying a property in a city-then I will end up reading on recent zoning changes in that city as they affect my area.

If the world is going to end, you will know about it anyway. It is better to live your day to day proactively, by going in the direction you want to go, rather than being reactionary to the issues that fake news say you should be limiting yourself to.

How to avoid fake news? It is really simple. Stop consuming it first. We are information junkies, and we want to get updates because we feel informed. But unless we redirect our focus, it will be directed for us. Here are some steps you can do right now to avoid fake news:

  1. First admit that you are an addict to information. Wanting information is not necessarily a bad thing, but we need to channel the desire for brain activity into learning.
  2. You then need to detach yourself from the source or reduce your consumption of fake news.
  3. Unfollow any social media sources from media companies. Mute them on Facebook. Trust me you will still hear about their breaking news thru your friends who are still consuming it. You cannot control what they consume but let’s take baby steps for now and focus on reducing your consumption of fake news.
  4. Unsubscribe from any news emails. If you need to, you can go to their site on a time of your choosing anyway. This detaches you slowly from the addiction.
  5. If you are used to consuming news around 6pm, watch Netflix instead. Pick a show that interests you and follow it. Or make a list of movies and watch it in parts or in whole during those times. This occupies that time of day when your brain is used to consuming some form of entertainment.
  6. If you consume news first thing in the morning, try to find another way to get your buzz. This is similar to the strategy above. Have coffee while reading on a topic you ARE interested in. Maybe you like cars, or maybe you are into DIY stuff. Read on those instead and gain knowledge and skills which will actually make you better than you were yesterday.
  7. Avoid discussions with folks who are still addicted. You cannot recover as an addict to information if you spend time around other addicts. You will be drawn in, and will feel “uninformed” and you will chase the same news they consumed. You may chase it trying to disprove them, but you will still spend time on a topic not of your choosing to begin with. This is hard if you are a sociable individual, but you can find other stories to discuss with your peers.

The second goal is to replace that desire to consume information with education about things that will improve your life. As humans we find pleasure in learning. We can be addicted to information. By choosing what information you consume, you are improving your life and leading it to the direction you want, rather than reacting to the big issues of the week which leave you like an empty shell 2 weeks later.

  1. Look for feeds on topics you are interested in and follow them on social media. Add one or 2 to your email (not too much or your mind will equate it to spam). Follow a good channel on Youtube on your chosen topic.
  2. If you are already good at your topic and hate the mediocre feeds available, maybe pick a milestone or take on a new project. Then, on those times you used to spend for consuming TV or news, spend them on this project/milestone.
  3. You can spend the time with your wife, preparing a better meal or having more in depth conversations with her. Or you can spend the time with your children and bonding with them or taking them to the next level of their interests.

If you do not know where to channel your time to, do not sweat it. The fact is, you now have time back. The time you used to spend consuming fake news or irrelevant news is now yours to invest in yourself. You can use it as you wish. You can try pretty much anything you want as long as you can find a way to do it. Perhaps you are 43 years old and have always wanted to learn skateboarding-well okay. Or maybe you always wanted to try fishing-watch some Youtube videos and treat it as a course til the season opens (this is what I am doing right now).

The key is-you just got back an invaluable resource (time) which you can spend on enriching yourself for your family-you now have time and focus. You did not get more time by becoming more efficient in consuming information. You gained time by not consuming unnecessary information.

So now you are not getting fake news which mislead your perception of the world. You also have more time to yourself which you can spend how you want-be it learning something new and invest in yourself, or researching on an issue which really does affect you. Just by avoiding fake news, you are all of a sudden a lot closer to being a free individual.


MakeResilient aims to help build a more resilient lifestyle and family. I believe that we need to be ready for big changes coming to our current way of life (more info at the Concerns page). I am intentionally leading my family so that we can adapt slowly over time for the changing future. I’m no expert on all things, but I am acquiring the knowledge and skills of new things that I need.

 

Making a Functional & Efficient Family Meet up Plan

HOW DOES THIS MAKERESILIENT?

If something happens and getting home as usual is not practical, having a plan to meet your family at an alternative location can be useful. This is useful for big emergencies and small ones.


There may come a time when, for some type of emergency or impracticality, you will need your family to meet with you somewhere other than home. It may happen when time is crucial or there is some form of a threat. Perhaps there is a forest fire in your city, or maybe some type of protest/rioting. It maybe something less cinematic, like you need to get to the emergency room due to some unknown pain or a minor accident. Maybe you just need to meet outside of the city before you head for that long road trip, and want to beat the traffic. It would not be practical to get home from work, get your family into one vehicle and then head out to a safer place.

A family meet up plan has been called many different things. All it is, is a plan on where you will meet up with your family or group. The situations that trigger the meet up can vary from casual to dramatic, but the benefits remain the same: planning ahead of any issues and getting together safely at a predetermined location that benefits you.


DEFINE YOUR RISKS

Consider your situation and make a short list of what risks apply to you. Do you have any known health issues (pregnancy or health issues that require getting to the ER)? Do you have flooding? Tornadoes? Identify what situations might come up where you might be forced to evacuate your home. Are there any industrial facilities in your area that pose some risks?

Family meetup plan

These will help you further understand the risks and what you need to plan for. (At one point we had a meet up plan when my wife was pregnant.) If you know the risks, then you can plan ahead of everyone else later on.


FACTORS TO CONSIDER IN SELECTING MEET UP PLACES:

Say you now have a list of threats you need to plan for, you can slowly plan around them and how you might react.

If you have a risk for flooding, then your plan must involve a place and route that is on higher ground and has a way in and out of the flooded area. Read more “Making a Functional & Efficient Family Meet up Plan”

Keeping your family safe from terrorist truck attacks

HOW DOES THIS MAKERESILIENT?

Terrorism is a real threat in today’s world. One of the more recent method is a terrorist truck attack-having a lone terrorist drive a truck towards a crowd of innocent people. It may be worth rehearsing your actions in your mind in case this does happen.


Terrorist truck attacks are one of the latest methods of terrorism. They are easy to plot and skip over the entire complexity required for a bombing or shooting type of attack. Bombings require specialized knowledge and materials which open up a risk of being tracked before the attack is executed. A shooting event requires training and acquiring of the weapons and a vulnerable target. On the other hand, the truck requires an individual who can drive, and he can rent a truck from just about anywhere. The attacker will only need to pick the time and place where he can inflict optimum damage-that is about all the planning he would need.

We have seen this attack in Nice, France and a few months ago in Berlin, Germany.

It has yet to happen in US soil, but given how simple the attack is and how it has seemed effective-it is possible that someone in the US will pick up after this method and create some damage.

If it is a possibility here, how might you be able to stay aware of this danger and keep yourself and family out of harm’s way?


WHAT ARE THE PREFERRED TARGETS?

So far in previous truck attacks the targets were large crowds gathered outside. The crowds were gathered for some type of festivity, but the same risks can be found in other events. This might apply to a protest, a marathon, a concert or a busy Friday night in a downtown outdoor venue.

The key is:

  1. Lots of people
  2. Accessible to a fairly large vehicle (truck)
  3. Wide enough space to maneuver the truck for multiple attacks

The easy pattern is to find a large crowd in high density cities when they are gathered for some kind of celebration. The celebration itself has a theme that can be used as part of the message of the attack. Nice is the 5th most populous city in France, and Berlin is the capital of Germany. The significance of the city may have been part of how they were selected as targets.

2010 Parade in Nice. Photo from Wikivisually.com

Consider also the nature of the festivities. Remember, it was Bastille day (French National day) and Christmas. Similar festivities in the US might be Independence day or a Thanksgiving day parade. In both previous attacks people were in good spirits and care free. If you do decide to participate in an event where such an attack can happen, what can you do to stay ahead?


HOW DID PEOPLE REACT?

Watching the videos for both terrorist truck attacks, we can see how a lot of people stared in disbelief-some until it was too late. People can freeze in these types of situations as the mind tries to process the unusual information coming.  Some people stood still and motioned their hands up, gesturing the mad attacker to stop.

After enough people had screamed to get out of the way, most of the crowds had enough presence of mind to react. There is panic and everyone simply tries to get out of the way. There is pushing and disorientation. Some people even managed to keep their heads and found a chance to fight back. A few people tried to stop the attacker in Nice by grabbing onto the side of the driver’s door and attacking him. (In retrospect this was dangerous as the driver may have well been armed.)


WHO SURVIVED?

Mainly those who were far enough from the attack had a great chance of survival. They heard the commotion and were distanced enough that they could process what was happening. They then had enough time to get to safety. If you were far away enough, you had a pretty good chance of surviving it. The truck had a very limited maneuverability and traveled in a fairly straight line.

Those who were close to the truck had a smaller chance of surviving, reaction time is very important. If you are closer to the source of danger, you will need to react faster.

 


STAY AWARE

Does the event you are participating in have a religious or political theme that can be leveraged for the attacker’s message?

What are the socio-political hot topics right now? Would any of them be tied to this event in some way?

Are there any high value targets possibly coming to this event? Maybe a public figure is giving a speech of some sort. A quick review on the event’s website can give you most of this information. A quick online check can also give you some idea on news trends that may have some connection to the event.

It is interesting to note that the Nice attacker had lived in Nice. He was parked along the promenade of the attack earlier that day. The promenade had been closed off to vehicles for the festivities. He was a local and had rented the truck himself. He parked the truck and was waiting for the time to attack. Sometimes you will notice these kinds of signs-most of the time they will be nothing, but in this case the attacker was real.


KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Situational awareness is key. If you are going to be stationary in this event, you should plan some things. Keep an eye for a safe way to get out in the event of a panic. Can you find a driveway which is small enough that it is probably not where a truck attack might come from? Are there obstacles you can reach, which will provide you with protection? These obstacles may include:

  • Bollards
  • Walls
  • Concrete planters
  • Thick bushes
  • Trees
  • Permanent platforms or ditches
Bollards
Heavy and permanent planters

Read more “Keeping your family safe from terrorist truck attacks”

Thrift store flipping – how to make a side income from frugal shopping

HOW DOES THIS MAKERESILIENT?

Reselling helps you learn about business at a very low cost. This helps you become more resilient because it shows you new ways to earn income other than working a job.


My wife is making some side income from one of her favorite past times – shopping. I am all for this revamped past time as it is profitable and it empowers her. Several reasons for this:

  • She can shop at whatever schedule works for her.
  • The location can adjust to her and it can keep her preoccupied when we are traveling-or when my plans for the day are not interesting for her.
  • Her expenses are pretty low, as she is purchasing at insanely low prices.
  • The resell is almost always above the purchase price so in theory these are profitable
  • We purchase things we may also use and can sell afterwards

How does it work? Let me explain.

Like a lot of people, my wife likes to shop. This can be an issue when money is tight-and earlier versions of this habit was a problem. However, currently my wife has been shopping with a different mindset altogether. She has learned to find valuable items at ridiculous prices with the intent of using them and then selling them back to others thru different sites.

First step is to find a source with good selection and good prices. A good example is our favorite thrift store. With enough regular visits and by asking the staff, you will learn when they get large new inventory and how long it takes to put them out to the shelves. There are times we go there and the there’s nothing of value, and there are times when we can find a whole bunch of stuff. Keep track of the bad days and the good days. It’s also a good idea to check things out when seasons change and holidays have just ended. Think of times when you might be in the mood to purge your home/garage of old stuff. Now reverse engineer the dates when it might be good to check the local Goodwill store.

Other location options are:

  • estate sales
  • flea markets
  • discount stores
  • regular stores on discount days or seasonal sales

The location of the store will also affect your findings. Some neighborhoods have thrifty people. Some have wasteful consumers who go thru their stuff much faster-so you get things in better condition. Drive around new areas, check the houses and cars in the driveways. Check the kind of stores in the area. Then find the local thrift store and see what kind of stuff they get on different days.

Next step is finding your preferred schedule. This will require some finagling. The initial research will need you to be out there as much as possible. For my wife, since she stays home, she can go out as often as she wants and she can cherry pick the days when great inventory comes in. This is a huge advantage. That, plus she can come in on days when they have great discounts and other customers have not yet picked up on it.

You will also need to figure out your own schedule on when to post things (best done as a bulk task) and when you want to pack and ship things. Here she can really do this at the time that best works for her.

Look at items that can be resold. This is a balance between what we want and the value the item will have for other people to whom we will sell it to afterwards. Look thru the overall wear and tear of the product. Is it dated or are people still interested in this type of stuff? Are all the parts there? A lot of times we will buy a toy for my son and parts of it will be missing. Posting these for resale, you have to be very clear of what is included in them. Toys are a good item to purchase as your kids will have fun with it and later on, as long as they have not painted it or dismantled it, you can sell them to other parents who are looking. We once got a large Nerf gun with missing parts. We had it around for about a year, then we sold it when we noticed my son was not using it anymore. We earned about $10 maybe if I recall it right.

As you look around, check how much the item sells for if new and if used. Check online if the item is popular. Check Ebay for typical prices and how many are “watching” the item.

Check items and see if they are in demand and at what price

Let’s say you found some good stuff, bought them and used them, now you are ready to get rid of it. Where do you sell these?

Read more “Thrift store flipping – how to make a side income from frugal shopping”

Robocars are a real thing – in full by 2021

I posted about Uber and its autonomous cars here. This quick post is about Michigan opening up it’s state laws governing robocars. Basically, autonomous vehicles with no backup human drivers can now drive on public roads.

The state is host to around 75% of the companies leading this technology. To stay ahead of the surging autonomous vehicle curve, they have issued their own laws regarding robocars to incentivize these companies to stay.

It is of particular note how Ford says they plan to roll these out in full by 2021.

Here is the full article:

https://www.wired.com/2016/12/michigan-just-embraced-driverless-future/

miav

Prepare for the future; shape it or someone else will.

I stumbled onto this great article on Forbes. It validates what my concerns are but it is absolutely written eons better. Here’s a snippet of the article:

…the future is about more than just technology.  Health trends, economic trends, population growth and climate change, just to name a few, will also create massive challenges—and massive opportunities—in the years to come.  The time to start preparing for the future is always in the present.

…….

The job of a manager has clearly changed.  A generation ago, we could enter an industry, learn the trade and work our way up.  Today, however, we can’t expect a business model to last a decade, much less a career.  To wit, since 1960, the average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 has fallen from more than 60 years to less than 20.

Other topics noted/mentioned in this article include:
vertical farming
robotics
nanotechnology
future ready

Here is the link to the article for a full read

 

Finding a website name and getting a site up under $50

I have been going back and forth on what to name the blog, as I get closer to doing an actual website. Just some quick notes on researching key words, setting up the site and trying to make it easy to find on searches. I plan to run the site under a $50 a year budget.

 

I have been going back and forth on what to name the blog, as I get closer to doing an actual website. Just some quick notes on researching key words, setting up the site and trying to make it easy to find on searches. I plan to run the site under a $50 a year budget.

Godaddy domain name = $35 for 2 years
hosting = approx $10 per year

resources:
www.godaddy.com
www.bubweb.com