Kits for the Gram

Kits for the Gram

by Kevin Estela March 11, 2020

#Flatlay is a popular hashtag on instagram. If you’ve spent any time on social media you’ve seen them even if you weren’t aware of their name. A flatlay is a stylized layout of contents tailored to a particular audience. There are flatlays for the gadget crowd that include fidget spinners, multi-tools, and minimalist multi-function items. Other flatlays focus on the gear carried to defend life such as pistols, spare magazines, tourniquets, and flashlights. A good flatlay can garner hundreds of likes. If a surgically-enhanced instagram “influencer” posts it, the picture could be liked thousands of times mainly by poor saps duped into believing liking a pretty girl’s photo will win them points for the day they’ll meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after. No matter how you cut it, flatlays are popular and as ridiculous and obsessive compulsive as they seem, they do serve a good purpose. A proper flatlay can educate the viewer and help them improve their level of readiness. I’ve assembled some of my favorite kits and presented them in the flatlay format.

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Finish Strong

Finish Strong

by Kevin Estela March 04, 2020 2 Comments

When I was in high school (as a student, not my current job as a teacher), I remember my psychology teacher presenting a lesson on the primacy and recency effect and how it relates to our memory. The primacy effect is the bias we have to remember what we hear or see first and the recency effect explains why we remember what we hear last or most recently. To illustrate this, here is a string of numbers, 39, 87, 3, 18, 41, 26, 52. Chances are, if I were to ask you what numbers you can recall, you would have 39 or 52 in your lineup. We also have a tendency to remember what we hear frequently, what we can rehearse in our heads, and what we can associate with other cues. The mind is a powerful tool and ever since I sat in Mr. Baril’s classroom for this psychology class, I’ve been intrigued by the study of the mind and how it relates to our daily routine, habits, and capabilities. The recency effect is something I haven’t forgotten about and I relate it to the act of finishing strong in all I do. Finishing strong, you’ll find out, can set into motion the right mindset to be successful from that point forward.

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More Urban Awareness

More Urban Awareness

by Brian Griffin February 26, 2020

The hustle and bustle of our lives can keep us in what feels like a state perpetual motion. And our endless running to make the ends meet, the sense of always being in a race with time, can create a sort of mental tunnel vision. It can narrow our focus to such a small point that all we see are the goals we've set and how quickly the time is ticking away. The rest of the world around us can become just a blur in our periphery, as we go through our day on autopilot.

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Victuals & Libations

Victuals & Libations

by Brian Griffin February 05, 2020

The history of some of the foods we eat, and they're sometimes curious origins, can be an interesting and entertaining study to engage in. For the most part we seem to just happily consume them, while perhaps having some vague idea of the beginnings of our favorites, but only because they are our favorites. And as a general rule the origin pales by far in comparison to how well they are prepared, which is almost always our only real concern at the moment.

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Heat Loss Mechanisms

Heat Loss Mechanisms

by Kevin Estela January 29, 2020

As I write this right now, New England is getting ready for a wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain. Precipitation will sprinkle drivers with a concoction of winter weather rendering some of their common sense and driving ability useless. Winter is here but knowledge of cold should be considered year round. Even in the desert, nightly cold temperatures can kill. Understanding how the body loses heat helps the outdoorsman preserve it and prolong life. 

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The Fine Art of Wiping your Butt with Snow

The Fine Art of Wiping your Butt with Snow

by Kevin Estela January 22, 2020 3 Comments

Admit it, you feel a little strange for clicking on this story. You may even feel like you are in need of a shower or maybe a confession. Who the hell wipes their butt with snow? Well, quite literally the answer to that is “no one” because there is not a snowball’s chance of being in hell. Snowballs, well more snow cones, make great toilet paper.  Practically, the answer to that same question is many guys and gals who forget their TP and don’t want to offer up a sacrificial sock. Wiping your butt with snow is not strange and you don’t have to worry about being seen as a weirdo. Well, maybe some people will make faces when you tell them you are among the brave who do but remember, you don’t have to tell anyone.

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In With The New

In With The New

by Brian Griffin January 01, 2020

The holiday season is a wonderful example of saving the best for last. This is because even though there are other holidays throughout the year, it is the ones at the end of the year that celebrate the bountiful harvests, the spirit of giving, and the renewal of life. For me the week between Christmas and New Year's Day is a time of reflection. I look back on where I was when the year began so I can determine which areas of my life I am happiest with and which areas still need more work. Not so much to make some sort of grand New Years resolution I may or may not keep, as to just make a game plan that should afford me a better chance of improving in the areas I'm less than pleased with.

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Jingle All The Way

Jingle All The Way

by Brian Griffin December 18, 2019 4 Comments

The Yuletide season is upon us once more. The temperatures are dropping and the snow flakes are falling as we wind our way through December into winter. The colorful lights are twinkling and the carols are playing, making spirits bright and making children laugh and sing and smile. 

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Waynearing

Waynearing

by Brian Griffin December 11, 2019 2 Comments

Sometime in fifteenth-century England a new word came to be. It was a new term for travelers who went abroad through the countrysides, especially those who traveled longer distances on foot. It has gone through a couple of spelling changes since then, but the modern version we use today is Wayfarer.

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The Gift of Preparedness

The Gift of Preparedness

by Kevin Estela December 04, 2019

At the end of each seminar I teach, I always open the floor to questions, comments and thoughts from the audience. One question that comes up regularly is, “How do I get my (Insert someone special here) to be more prepared?” There is no singular answer to this question. We may be the most ready people to deal with an emergency and we may have a repertoire of survival skills to draw from but those closest to us may be entirely dependent on our ability. When compared, side-by-side, the newbie will likely notice the disparity in gear, skill and experience and rather than striving to be equal, they simply accept their subordinate position and fail to prepare. They may also not be willing to go with you on your trips or experience the outdoors fearing it is overwhelming or quick to call it “crazy.” Crazy to me is recognizing the exposure to danger and doing nothing to mitigate it. One possible answer to the question about introducing your loved ones/friends to preparedness is very simple,

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Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

by Brian Griffin November 27, 2019 4 Comments

Because our lives can be so hectic and frenetic, it can be easy for all the marketing hype to get to us this time of year, and thus cause even more stress as we enter the holiday season. There are so many people vying for our Christmas money that it can leave us breathless and feeling guilty that we cannot afford to just buy all of the things that our children and loved ones see and like. Yet the reality is that most of us can't afford to buy it all, even if we wanted to, and odds are that no-one really needs to be buying it all for lots of reasons. Most of us don't need all of the bright shiny colorful things we are bombarded with every year at this time, but most marketing firms use our own human psychology against us in order to convince us that we do, at least temporarily...long enough to make the purchases, which tends to lead to even more stress afterwards.

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Can you Answer These AR15 Questions?

Can you Answer These AR15 Questions?

by Kevin Estela November 20, 2019 1 Comment

A couple months ago, I broke from my usual routine of providing bushcraft and survival-related entries to this blog and wrote about good habits that should be developed for home-defense shotgun use. I enjoyed writing that piece as it allowed me to share another side of me, the firearms enthusiast, with the readers here who may only know me as the guy behind the “KE” of the KE Bushie crafted by Fiddleback Forge. That blog post provided safety tips and common sense skills you should have for effectiveness and competence. The shotgun is just one firearm the modern law-abiding and defense-minded civilian should own and become proficient with; another is the AR. This firearm, unlike the shotgun, has become the topic of a lot of debate in the mainstream media. 

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