SwordsSwords Blog

Where the creative minds of Excel

Surviving The Wilderness

Getting lost while outdoors is a scary thing; a bad situation can turn worse when it is coupled with the feeling of fear, loneliness, and confusion.  Before setting out on your adventure whether it be a camping trip or a hike you need to start with a few precautionary measures.

  • Always tell someone where you are going. Let that person know when you are going, where you are going, and when you will be back. If possible try to check in with them from time to time.
  • If possible try to never go alone but if that isn’t feasible you MUST tell someone about your plans.
  • Before setting out make a plan so you know where you are going and have knowledge of your surroundings. For example nearest water source or Ranger hut.
  • Check the weather to make sure you have the right equipment and clothing for the conditions.

Now you are ready for your trip.  Here are a few guidelines to follow when you are out on the trails.

  • Stick to clearly marked trails and designated areas.
  • Take plenty of breaks.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Give wild animals their space.

Allow me be blunt. Hiking can be dangerous. Sprained ankles, bad cuts and bruises, serious falls, broken limbs and even death are possible on almost any trail, but the risk of death or serious injury is real so be prepared for any situation. In these situations there are many things you can do to survive till helps arrives.

  • Stay calm. This is hard to do when things look bleak but it is vital if you want to make it out.
  • Try to stay in one place. If you can signal for help do so.
  • Find a good water source.
  • If it looks like you will be staying overnight, find or build a makeshift shelter.
  • Build a fire.
  • Hopefully you have enough food in your pack but if not, find some.
    • When forging remember these guidelines:
      • Avoid White or Yellow Berries
      • Avoid plants with Thorns
      • Do not eat mushrooms
      • Spit out anything with a Bitter or Soapy Taste
      • Stay away from plants with Clear/Shiny Leaves
      • Stay away from plants with leaves of three
      • Avoid Umbrella Shaped Flowers
      • Do not eat beans or plants with seeds inside a pod, just stay away
      • Milky or discolored sap is a warning sign
    • Don’t be afraid to eat insects and other bugs. While it may be disgusting to eat a few grasshoppers, they do provide useful nutrition. All insects should be cooked as they can harbor parasites that can kill you. Do not eat any caterpillars, brightly colored insects, or any insect that can bite or sting you. Remove the legs, head and wings of any insect before eating.
    • If you are near water, fish are a good choice. Minnows can be eaten whole
    • Know the edible wild plants in your area some may include
      • Wild Asparagus
      • Clover
      • Dandelions
      • Cattails
      • Chickweed
      • Green Seaweed
      • Kelp
      • Plantain
    • There are several types of wild berries that are safe but if you are not sure whether an item is truly safe to eat then don’t bother with it.

The instructions above are in the event that you are alone and lost but hang in there.  If your friends and family know roughly where you are, then the rescue party will be looking for you.

If days have gone by and you are still not rescued, then your other option is to find a stream and make your way back to civilization.

Now that you know what to do, be prepared, and be safe the next time you are headed outdoors.

For all your outdoors supplies, click here!

Things To Carry In Your Survival Kit

What’s in your Survival Kit?

Sometimes certain events arise where you have to improvise and use the items available around you in emergency situations.  There are also those times when it may not even be an emergency; you just forgot to grab some gear on the way out the door on a camping trip.  Here are some amazing ideas of items you might not have thought about before that you’re able to use in a pinch.  After reading this you may just decide to add some of these things to your very own survival kit.  Now I must warn you some of this information might be a little weird and unexpected but it borderlines on genius.

Toothpaste- Toothpaste is a great way to relieve the sting of bug bites! Keeping plain old white toothpaste on hand is a plus as it also works well on burns that you may have received while around the campfire.

Vaseline and Cotton Balls- Did you know that if you take cotton balls and cover them with Vaseline they make great fire starters?  Scouts have been using this trick for years.  Vaseline can also be used to keep flies away; you can use it to shave, and there are tons of ways to use it in First Aid.

Mouthwash– Mouthwash is awesome at combating the dreaded morning breath but it does contain alcohol to it can be used to sanitize. Some brands even contain an antiseptic  so it can be used to kill bacteria, as well as fungi, protozoa, and some viruses. This is definite one item you may want to consider adding to your survival kit.

Panty Hose- A set of panty hose can be used to prevent blisters during long walks by wearing them under your socks. They can be used to filter water, for fishing nets, keep chiggers and ticks off, and as a tourniquet.

Tampons- Yes, Tampons.  These little wonders are sterile and can be used to stop bleeding of a wound or bloody nose. If you do not have a way to purify your drinking water you can use them as a crude water filter. The string also doubles as a wick for a candle.  The cotton works as a fire starter, blow dart fletching, and the entire tampon can be used as a fishing bobber.  But WAIT! Don’t forget about the plastic bag packaging as it can be used to store matches in since it is waterproof.

Duct Tape- With duct tape you can repair almost anything such as tents, boots, or water bottles….just to name a few.  You can use it to make rope, catch flies, or get rid of Planters warts. For first aid duct tape is the best because you can use it to make a splint, sling, wrap a sprained ankle, a bandage, or cover a blister.  Have you seen where people are making wallets, purses, and clothing out of duct tape?  It is so cool. No, really and there is even a contest called Stuck at Prom where a couple can win money for creating entire outfits out of duct tape to wear. My point is there is so much you can do with duct tape and it comes in all types of different patterns and colors.  So have fun with it.

Dryer Lint- If you don’t find the tampons odd, dryer lint might just do it for you.  Dryer lint can be used as a fire starter by itself or with other flammable materials like old cardboard toilet paper rolls.  You can stuff the dryer lint in these and Wa-lah!  Instant fire starter, Oh yeah! Dryer lint catches fire very easily this is why you should constantly clean out your dryer lint traps.

And that folks is my public service announcement for today. You are welcome!

And last but not least……

Condoms– Storing condoms in your survival kit is not a new idea and has been around for a long time.  They can be used to hold water, keeping tinder and fire starters dry; it can also be a great fire starter itself.  You can take a branch and condoms to make a sling shot for hunting. I know what you’re thinking “Who Knew?” right? Let’s forge on….if you are out of gloves you can use one of these bad boys, as well as a fishing bobby, and muzzle protector.

This is just some food for thought just in case you are ever in an emergency situation.  Look around you; see what is available, and what you might be able to create with it. You never know when you may have to rely on a simple tampon in your tackle box.

Muse Out!!!

Shaky Tuesday

There is a tight race going on in America and we are not talking about the World Indoor Championships. The presidential race is a very tight one although the margins seem more significant in polls. With another big Tuesday coming up for elections, presidential hopefuls are starting to narrow in on becoming a party representative.

On the Republican side of the election, there is an interesting character named Donald Trump who is leading the pack. Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in polls, delegates and popular support. With his projected business savvy more and more American’s are gravitating toward his views although many are far-fetched, cynical and at times irrational. He is said to be saying exactly, how over 8 million Americans truly feel. However, on the republican side, the race is far from over. Rubio is holding close to being in striking distance and Kasich is gaining much momentum more toward the end of the race and is looking to make a strong push. Kasich and Rubio both have their home states coming up which have a significant amount of delegate votes that could count into their favor.

On the Democratic side of things there is a race that is heating up and turning into something bigger than history. Bernie Sanders has taken a huge surge by winning the truly valuable state of Michigan. This has taken everybody, including election professionals by surprise. Many people are starting to feel the Bern as he has ran one of the most prolific campaigns of any true underdog. He is one of the very few presidential candidates that has refused Super PAC (Wall Street Based) donations. His campaign has inspired so many Millennials to vote in this election. Many people are upset with how the government has taken care of the country and now the people are voicing their opinion. Hilary has been dominating as usual on the campaign trail, however, she is running a very 2008 Obama-Like campaign.

While every candidate has their own flaw, they also have plenty of upsides. There has been recent concern over the excessively aggressive supports that appear at the Trump rallies. It seems, in so many of his rallies, silent protesters of various ethnic backgrounds have been directly affected by his abnormal behavior. There seems to be a spike in violence and also a growth of concern. The concern comes in because the City of Chicago forcefully shut down his scheduled rally. It seems like the community that seeks equality for all is truly unwelcoming to the projected hatred and bigotry displayed toward all other races and cultures.

Batman vs. Superman Preview

The warmer seasons of North America are finally approaching and this is where life begins to get interesting. One of the most anticipated fights of all time between Marvel characters is finally taking place on the big screen. Batman and Superman take center stage. However, DC has not put itself in the right position to win with this film. While the hype is on a totally different level, the standard to follow after Deadpool was released is mind boggling. Matt Damon has pretty small shoes to fill after following casting of Christian Bale in the Dark Knight series of Batman. Henry Cavill was a surprise casting for the role of superman as he has come from completely off radar. Based on trailers, he has brought out the mean side of Superman and getting rid of the “cheesy” it’s “easy all the time” Superman. **Fun Fact: Superman first debuted in Action Comics in 1939. However, he didn’t actually fly until 1941.

This story gets really interesting because Batman and Superman are more acquainted with each other than many of us understand as semi casual fans. In the comics, Bruce “Batman” Wayne, was the owner of the Daily Planet, in which Superman and Lois worked. Batman was not the founder of the Daily Planet but acquired it in a business deal after the ownership was relinquished by the notorious Lex Luthor. The twist gets even deeper because superman has much more than just one weakness. With Batman being the highly intellect and successful person that he is, he was well aware of many of the other weaknesses of Superman. However, in this film, Batman doesn’t find out until after the Bat Suit came out.

What are some other things that can cripple what we thought was superman?

Red Sun Radiation can actually harm Superman. While superman gets a good portion of his power from the sun, his weakness also lies there. The red sun radiation can actually reverse the effects of the yellow sun radiation making superman practically powerless.

High pitched frequencies are often overlooked as being a weakness for superman. He has one of the keenest senses of hearing of all of the DC characters making his hears extremely sensitive to high pitched frequencies. How is this interesting, Batman can easily detect this is if the fight so happened to be anywhere near a subway station where Superman could visibly be harmed by the noise of train wheels screeching to a stop.

Believe it or not, Superman could actually just get beat if an opponent had enough torque in his punches to physically wound him. Very few villains were able to throw punches strong enough to do so but this is not an impossible task. Atlas, Wonder Woman, and Shazam have all hit Superman in the face and severely damaged him during a fight.

There are more weaknesses that are very prevalent that can give Batman the upper hand in this battle although Batman is a mere human with no super powers. There are things like nuclear warheads, extreme heat and one special one that Batman has said is the most dangerous, morality. Batman claims that Superman does not possess that “killer instinct” that he has to rid an opponent. It’s more of that Superman cannot take advantage of the moment and gives people opportunities by attempting to reason and often lets down his guard. This match up should be something special as we have been awaiting this for decades to hit the big screen. We choose Batman as the victor in this first film. The battle begins 3.24.16. Who are you choosing to win this first fight?

Deadpool: Movie Review

There are many people that have not had a chance to see the Deadpool movie. How sad considering it was your ONLY job for February. Valentine’s Day was cancelled this year in a lot of relationships because of the hype behind this movie. We all know and understand how Deadpool was created and there are even some speculations on how he earned his name. We all understand that he was supposed to be an evil villain at first but certain situations resulted in him doing good deeds. If you have not seen the Deadpool movie, shame on you. You are missing out on one of the best Marvel films since the first X-Men. While there are many honorable mentions in between for best Marvel film, there are none that were done, from start to finish, almost flawlessly. The action was spot on, it was not like a watered-down overly deceptive action sequence that you would see in a Michael Bay film. The use of slow motion was almost as good as that from the first movie 300. The intensity was outrageous but offset by the outrageously funny Deadpool humor. While many of the jokes are direct and dry, they still make you laugh pretty hard without even trying. Now there is a warning that this IS NOT A KID’S MOVIE. A warning to all parents that this is not your average superhero movie and most of these jokes are very adult and honestly should be rated higher than PG-13. In blank stare news, this is in top contention for movie of the year with ease, as the complete production is spectacular. If you haven’t seen the movie, go see it.

Anime Anyone?

The biggest excitement of the spring season has to be convention season. Anime is slowly taking over North America year after year and people are becoming more involved with the culture. Although Anime has been around for many decades, the popularity has grown substantially in so many ways throughout the continent. Below we have listed all the certified convention dates for the month of march. All data has come from and pricing may fluctuate after this post is made public.

March 4-6, 2016

 $15+ H.O. Weeks Activities Center
Aiken, SC
March 4-6, 2016

  $25+ Atlanta Marriott Century Center/Emory Area
Atlanta, GA
March 4-6, 2016

 N/A Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY
Omni Expo
March 4-6, 2016

 $35+ DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando
Orlando, FL
Fubuki Con
March 5, 2016

 $15+ Daemen College, Wick Student Center
Amherst, NY
Kinda!Con Artist Expo
March 5, 2016

 $5+ American Legion Post #238
Woodland Park, NJ
March 5-6, 2016

 $25+ Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive
Orlando, FL
Jacksonville Anime Day
March 6, 2016

 $5+ Embassy Suites Jacksonville – Baymeadows
Jacksonville, FL
Anime Milwaukee
March 11-13, 2016

 $40+ Hyatt Regency Milwaukee / Wisconsin Center
Milwaukee, WI
March 11-13, 2016

 $35+ Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex
Birmingham, AL
March 11-13, 2016

 N/A Christopher Newport University, Freeman Center
Newport News, VA
March 11-13, 2016

 $55+ Overland Park Convention Center
Overland Park, KS
March 11-13, 2016

 $35+ Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square
Columbus, OH
Triad Anime Convention
March 11-13, 2016

 N/A Winston-Salem Marriott
Winston-Salem, NC
Queen City Kamikaze
March 12, 2016

 $10+ Manchester Memorial High School
Manchester, NH
All-Con Dallas
March 17-20, 2016

 Free on Thursday
Westin Dallas Park Central
Dallas, TX
March 18-19, 2016

 $12+ Niagara County Community College
Sanborn, NY
Con Nichiwa
March 18-20, 2016

 $45+ (3 Day Pass) Tucson Convention Center
Tucson, AZ
March 18-20, 2016

 $30+ Old National Bank Events Plaza
Evansville, IN
Hanadoki Con
March 18-20, 2016

 $40+ Town and Country Resort & Convention Center
San Diego, CA
Kawa Kon
March 18-20, 2016

 $50+ Hilton St. Louis Airport
St. Louis, MO
March 18-20, 2016

 N/A Hilton Memphis
Memphis, TN
Ring of Fire / Fursonacon
March 18-20, 2016

 $30+ Hampton Roads Convention Center
Hampton, VA
Shuto Con
March 18-20, 2016

 $25+ Lansing Convention Center / Radisson Hotel Lansing
Lansing, MI
March 18-20, 2016

 $10+ Tarleton State University
Stephenville, TX
Tri City Anime Con
March 18-20, 2016

 N/A Holiday Inn Johnson City
Johnson City, TN
ALT*Con: Florida
March 19-20, 2016

 $15+ North Florida Fairgrounds
Tallahassee, FL
Fannatiku Fest
March 25-26, 2016

 $20+ Dixie Convention Center
Saint George, UT
Anime Boston
March 25-27, 2016

 $25+ Hynes Convention Center
Boston, MA
Anime Conji Cancelled
March 25-27, 2016

 Cancelled Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina
San Diego, CA
Animeland Wasabi
March 25-27, 2016

 $10+ Ramada Plaza Northglenn/Denver North
Denver, CO
March 25-27, 2016

 $40+ Baton Rouge Marriott
Baton Rouge, LA
Middle Tennessee Anime Convention
March 25-27, 2016

 $30+ Sheraton Music City Hotel / Embassy Suites Nashville Airport
Nashville, TN
March 25-27, 2016

 $60+ Washington State Convention & Trade Center
Seattle, WA
March 26, 2016

 $5+ Bowling Green State University, Bowen-Thompson Student Union
Bowling Green, OH
Hero Hype
March 26, 2016

 N/A Miami Airport Convention Center
Miami, FL

Has Trolling Gone Too Far in Politics?

In recent news, politics have taken over news stations to host presidential candidates for the 2016 Presidency. Right now Democrats, Independents and Republicans are fighting to win the primary general election for their respective party. There are not too many people who are completely unaware of what is going on in this campaign season, especially with all of the news with feuds and arguments. There were many heated exchanges between Sanders, Clinton, Rubio, Cruz, Christie and others. One of the most notable feuds that have taken a much larger scale of attention is that between Jeb Bush and Donald Trump. Jeb Bush receives much criticism for his brother George Bush II, father George Bush Sr. and how badly the economy suffered under the Bush Administrations. Since June 15, 2015 Jeb has been campaigning to help separate himself from the issues that linger around his family’s name and Presidency. Banners fill the streets of campaigning cities to go to and check out what he can do to mold our great country into something positive.
However, this time has taken a turn for the worst. Somehow Donald Trump was informed of and how the domain was expiring. Donald Trump has then, bought the domain and redirected the website to his own personal website to Donald Trump’s trolling has lodged an extreme brick into the presidency and the Republican Party does not like it. While many are disliking his antics, his polling numbers are leading the Republican Primary by substantial numbers. Help us understand this. Has trolling gone too far? Does Jeb Bush deserve to get his campaign website bought from him?

Valentine’s Day Tips

Please remember that Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday and many restaurants are not always going to be open as they would on a Saturday. (Just something to consider.) Below we are going to list some tips to help your Valentine’s Day go smoothly and some fun things to do that aren’t so traditional.

  1. Dinner – If you are going to do dinner, make sure you set your reservations starting now. Restaurants are already booking up with people planning things. This is an opportunity for you to show your significant other that you can plan and make things go as planned. Some things you want to consider when picking dinner, know what your significant other likes and loves to eat. Do not pick a restaurant because it’s nice and do not just choose a brand new restaurant because if you both do not like it, you just wasted a reservation. Know your significant other, know what their “go-to” food is. Remember, meals don’t have to come from a 5-Star restaurant to have a 5-Star Taste.
  2. Attire – Many people on Valentine’s Day wear dresses, suits or nicer clothes from their wardrobe. When picking your wardrobe, know what the weather is going to be so the weather won’t ruin your day or night. Fellas, if it’s going to rain, bring a trench coat and umbrella. Ladies, wear a “safe” hairstyle that moisture won’t tarnish your whole look if it were going to rain. Wear layers in colder states, it’s easier to cool down than to warm up.
  3. Daytime Affairs – Why not start the morning with a nice breakfast? The best way to start your day is on a full stomach. You will have energy for the duration of the day and hopefully for the night. Think of some interactive things you can do during the day to where you and your significant others can just have fun. Fun makes all relationships nice and smooth on this day. Think about activities like bowling, the circus, laser tag, go-kart tracks, museums, picnics in the park, tour around the city, go horseback riding, go to the arcade, visit the hidden gems of the city, go to the zoo or go to the aquarium. There are plenty things to do, it’s just a matter of doing them.
  4. Nighttime Affairs – There are so many things to do at night that could make the night perfect. You could have a dinner on the beach, you could ride a Ferris wheel that looks over the city, you could go to a botanical garden full of lights, and you could even stay in the house and cook a special dinner with rose pedals and soothing music. There are plenty of ways to be romantic, you just have to do the little things.
  5. The Little Things – There are some small ventures you could enjoy like going to pick flowers together, share an ice cream cone, go ice skating, roller skating or even learn some salsa dances or other ethnic dances. Compliment your other, open the door for them, smile, laugh and just be yourself, goofy and all. Instead of buying flowers, pick them. If stead of buying a card with the right things to say, write them down and make your own card. Money can’t buy happiness and it won’t impress most people.
  6. Put the Phone Down – Don’t let your phone be used for anything other than “Ussies” or “Selfies”. There is nothing more important than your significant other on this day. You don’t have to check Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media outlets because at that time, everybody else is showing you how much attention they are giving their significant other and you are now missing out.
  7. Enjoy Yourself – Many people mess up this day because they become systematic and are over prepared. Many people end up hurting their fun factor by thinking everything has to be like a movie. Just have fun and accept that stuff happens. If you relax and enjoy the person you are spending the day with, you will find this day to be memorable.

    Be safe, have fun, shop

NRA vs. Gun Control

For many years the U.S. Government and the N.R.A have gone back and forth about the laws regarding gun control. Under recent years, the NRA has come under fire for their avid dedication to keeping firearms freely accessible to all U.S. Citizens in wake of the uncommon spike of mass shootings. There were shootings that took place in a South Carolina church, there were multiple shootings in theatres and other venues across America. We often look back to the shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary. All of these events were heartbreaking and all of these events involved guns.

In these past couple of months, President Barack Obama has been tampering with a thin line for the NRA. He proposed a Bill that would block the “gun show loophole” which forces background checks for the buyers at gun shows. Currently there is not gun show law set in place, and private sellers can sell ANY gun of choice at trade shows. However, all sellers at these trade shows are required to have background checks prior to having the ability to sell guns to regular citizens at these trade shows. The rule regarding that was set by the NRA and has been in place for many years. The biggest fear for the NRA is change.

The NRA feels the blockage of the “gun show loophole” is violation of the 2nd Amendment which is classified as the “Right to Bear Arms” as it feels that it’s a well-regulated and controlled militia. Often, they do not consider themselves to be a militia unless necessary action has to be taken. The NRA currently sees no issues with how they currently manage transactions between buyers and sellers and would like to be left alone entirely by the government.

In wake of the election of a new president, many politicians are asked to answer questions of the spiking murder rate in the United States. The NRA is taking a huge hit as the political races have started taking a reformation approaches at gun laws. Many of the questions directed toward the politicians running for President are reflective of 3 things: economy, international affairs and national violence. Many individuals are calling for a ban on Assault Rifles as they feel they are unnecessary and a military weapon that should not be in the streets of our nation what so ever. During the recent Democratic debate, a candidate stated, “You do not need an assault rifle to hunt, so what do you need it for.”

This raises great controversy because Republican Nominee Marco Rubio recently bought another firearm for his household on Christmas Eve. How do you feel about this, that he is arming himself? While there are many pro’s to firearms, there are a lot of cons as well. How do you feel about the proposed bill and how do you feel about civilians owning assault rifles?

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