Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!

It's christmas morning, there is a beautiful layer of white powder on the ground and I couldn't feel more cheerful.  This is the time of the year to cherish you loved ones and appreciate what you have, no matter how much or how little it may be.  Learn to be grateful, because there is always someone who is worse off than you.  Don't dwell on the negative or be upset that you didn't get the gift you wanted.  The simple things in life are always the best.  Material possessions mean nothing if you have no one to enjoy them with.  So go out and live life in the moment. I don't know about you guys, but I'm going to go grab a trash can lid and do some hobo sledding.

Stay safe and have fun guys.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week

Just a short post today to recognize that it is nation hunger and homeless awareness week.  There are tons of people less fortunate than us and they deserve a helping hand every now and then.  I encourage all of you to Donate to the nation coalition for the homeless, or go find a homeless person and give them something.  It doesn't need to be money; give them some food and a blanket, maybe some clean socks.  I'm sure they will appreciate anything you have to offer.  Just remember that while you are reading this, there are people freezing and starving to death, possible on the same block as you.

"As much as we need a prosperous economy, we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency."
-Caroline Kennedy

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cold Weather Survival Techniques

Okay everyone it's time for a little science lesson.  It's getting colder out so I feel obligated to school you a little bit on cold weather survival techniques.  A few things I want you all to learn about:

Skin cover + wind chill
Heat Capacity
Energy + muscle physiology

I suck at intro so I’m going to get right to it.  Skin cover is fairly straight forward concept.  If it is cold out, you don’t want to have you skin exposed to the environment.  What you want to think about though, is what kind of skin cover you are getting.  One of the functions of clothing is to trap a bubble of heat between and the outside world.  Your body is constantly giving off heat through your skin.  Your clothing is what determines whether that heat is lost or salvaged.  I was once told that if you feet get cold, cover you head.  Because there is so much blood pumped your head to feed your brain, you lose up to 75% of you heat through your head.  In cold environments, the cold air will cool the temperature of the blood in your head, and then that cold blood is pumped to the rest of your body.  So even if a part of your body is thoroughly insulated, its can still get cold.  If you have a good insulating layer on around your head and core, you can maintain homeostasis in extremely cold environments.  However, wind chill can ruin that for you. For you noobs, wind chill is the idea that the faster the wind is, the colder the air will feel on your skin.  So depending on the wind, if it is 20 degrees out it could potentially feel like 0 degrees outside.

Before we get into that lets have a quick lesson in heat capacity.  Basically, heat capacity is a quantitative measure of how well an object or substance retains heat.  The two important examples here are air and water.  Water has a much higher heat capacity than air.  That means that it is takes much more thermal energy to raise the temperate of water than it does to raise that of air.  The reason it is so important to stay dry when it is cold out is because water will steal a bunch of heat from your body to acclimate itself to your temperature.   The same thing happens with cold air, but it just not as bad.  However, with wind chill there is a much higher volume of air hitting your body.  This means that you are stripped of your thermal energy much faster as more and more cold air hits you.  If you have any exposed skin while there is harsh wind chill, the cold air can literally strip all the heat from your skin until you get frost bite. 

Frost bite is when the temperature of your skin goes below the freezing temperature of water.  This causes the water in your skin cells to freeze and crystallize into sharp fragments of ice.  Frost bite “burns” because these sharp fragments of ice rupture the your skin cell walls and kill the cells, similarly to how the skin cell ruptures from the cell water boiling can causing the cell to burst open during a burn.  The most important thing I can tell you about frost bite is to never ever rub it.  If you rub it, you will feel warmer, but what is actually happening is you are rubbing all those tiny fragments of ice into more skin like sandpaper, and it will literally turn your flesh into a dead hamburger meat like substance.  The second thing I should tell you is not to warm up and short term, if you are only going to be exposed again.  If you get frost bite and then warm up, the ice will liquefy back to its normal state, which is good.  But, if your skin warms up and then gets cold again before healing, the ice crystal will reform ever worse not that cellular walls are breached, and the simple freezing and unfreeze will have the same effect as rubbing the ice crystal into your skin.  Dead skin and infections.  Here is a picture of some very mild frostbite, notice how it looks like a burn.  Serious frostbite will result in black skin.

Hypothermia is when your body’s core temperature drops below the required temperature for adequate metabolism.  Metabolism is a set of chemical reactions that breaks down food into utilizable nutrients to feed the body.  Without metabolism, you body can’t functions.  Think of metabolism as your car engine.  Even if you have gas (food in your stomach); without an engine the car won’t run.  So, when your core temperature cools down, you body panics and goes into overdrive.  You body will begin to shiver.  When your muscles contract they produce heat.  This is one of the reason your sweat when you work out.  Shivering is just a fancy term to describe rapid muscle contraction for the sole purpose of producing heat to warm the body.  Shivering is an extremely inefficient use of resources, because its wastes a ton of energy.  Regardless though, wasting energy is better than dying, so your body will do it to keep you alive.   I’m telling you all this because it’s likely that you will find yourself in a situation where you are unable to provide your body with adequate shelter and insulation from the cold.  If you know ahead of time that this will have, pack as many calories as you can into your body so there are plenty of nutrients for your body to waste.  This is kind of a last ditch effort to stay warm, but it could save your life to have enough food in your to shiver through the night. 

Well that’s all for now guys.  Take this knowledge that I gained in college and keep yourselves warm. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hobo Halloween Costumes

Halloween is just around the corner, so I thought it would be a good idea to share come up with some costume ideas to share with you guys.  Halloween isn't about being flashy with the most expensive costume, its a time for you to break from the norm, get quirky and have a good time.   This can be done very cheaply.  My costume this year is about as cheap as they get.  Some people may not be confident enough to wear something like this, but I will wear it proudly.

Things you need:
Long sleeve coat/shirt
Needle + Thread
Tape/staple (optional)
Empty bottles, cans, card board and newspaper

I am going to be "Recyclable" for Halloween.  So I'm going to take the needle and thread and sew the bottles and cans to my clothing along my arms and legs, and maybe a few on my torso.  Then I will crumble up newspaper and staple/tape it to myself all over the place.  On top of that, I'm going to try and make some sort of helmet/mask out of a card board box.

This is a simple, cheap costume and I think I will get quite a few kicks out of it when I go to parties this weekend.

Well that is my costume for the weekend, what is yours?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How to make a hobo heater or portable stove

Winter is just around the corner so I think its time to show you guys how to stay warm and make some warm food. This is a cheap stove that can be used as a heater/lantern as well.

Things you will need:
Empty paint can (or similar metal metal object)
Paper/cardboard (roll of toilet paper works well)
70% isopropyl alcohol
Metal/pot ban
Ceramic tile sticks or rocks

This is a very simple design that works very, but will get very hot and last a long time. So please make sure that you are using it outside, or in a place that can withstand the heat of the can.

Hobo Heater:
The first thing you need to do is pack your tin can full of toilet paper. This make take a whole roll or two depending on the can, and its okay to use really cheap TP. Next you need to add in the isopropyl. You want the toilet paper to be fairly damp. I suggest 4-5 ounces per roll that you stuffed in the paint cant. Simply pour it over the TP that is in the can. If you are using this as a heater the final step is to just light that bitch up. It will burn slow, but hot for around 3 hours.

Hobo Stove:
Do everything said above before starting here. All you really need to do now, is use ceramic pieces or rocks to hold a cooking pot/pan on top of the heater. You can't put the pot directly on the heater, or use a solid flat piece of tile because air needs to get into the top of the paint can. So tale 2-3 stick like pieces of rock/tile and place them on top of the paint can so there is a vent. Then you can put the pot/pan on top of the tile.

Here is a quick diagram of what it should look like when you cook three cheeseburgers for you and your poor college friends.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

How to make a hobo water filter

I shouldn't need to express the importance of drinking water, so lets get right to the chase here. Water has gotten expensive lately, and can cost over a dollar a bottle in stores, which is ridiculous. While in college I learned a decent amount about water chemistry, so I'm going to show you how to purify your water without needing to boil it. This is a multi-layered biological, mechanical and chemical filter.

Items you need:
-Plastic gallon or 2-liter bottle. Old milk jug will work great.
-Spare cloth or coffee filter
-Charcoal/Activated Carbon
-Access to the ground (you should all have this)

The first thing you need to do is cut the bottom out of your bottle. I don't have a camera on me so I can't show you mine, but it should look like this(minus the ball):

Now what you want to do is get a handful or two of gravel or small rocks. This size you want them about the diameter of a quarter, big enough so that they wont fall through the hole of the jug. Invert the jug like in the picture, and put the rocks in. Now get a smaller particle rock and layer them on top of the gravel size. The second layer should be about pebble size. The third layer should be a fine grain sand. The fourth layer, if you can get any, should be small pieces of charcoal or activated carbon. On top of that put a layer of sand, pebbles and gravel. So your jug should have a sandwich like this:

Fine Sand
Fine Sand

Once you have that, rubber band a coffee filter over the bottom of spout of the bottle. If you have a spare cloth, throw it over the top layer of gravel.

When this is all set up, you can pour rain/river/lake water or whatever water you want through the top of the jug (remember that the top is now the cut out bottom). As the water goes though the filter, the naturally bacteria on the ground matter will use the nutrients in the water for their own benefit and help clean it. The Charcoal will pull out all the chemicals from the water. The Coffee filter is a 1 micron mesh. That means it will catch small bugs and parasites that may be in the water.

Clean drinking water will come out of the other end, no boiling required. Be generous with the carbon if the water you use appears really dirty. A good sign of really dirty water is a foul smell or discoloration. You should be able to see the water clear up as it goes through the filter. This is probably the only thing that I learned in college that I actually put to good use so far.

That's all for now. If you have any more questions about how this works, feel free to ask.

Stay hydrated hobo's!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Getting a balanced diet - Cheap.

This is very difficult to do. Healthy food is expensive, so It can be hard for a hobo to have a balanced diet. My diet consists mainly of pasta and other cheap carbohydrate based food, which is bad. I am at an all time low for cash right now, so I am stuck eating crap. But for those of you with maybe a few more dollars to spare, these tips will help you out.

First off, the food pyramid has changed this past year. Now they use a pie chart type diagram.

As you can see, your diet should consist mainly of fruits, veggies, and grains.

To get a balanced diet you need to incorporate all of the food groups into your daily diet. The best way to do this is to plan your meals out ahead of time.

Grains are the easiest thing to get a hold of. They are very cheap and come in many forms. I have gotten used to ramen noodles lately. Be careful though, some of the cheaper pastas and breads might as well be in the cookies/sweets category.

Fruits n Veggies. These can be very expensive, or cheap depending on where you live. I try to visit a pay by the pound salad bar once or twice week to get my essential vitamins in. If you can avoid the dense toppings like beans and cottage cheese, a pay by the pound salad bar can be a more efficient buy than getting the ingredients separately. Look around the store and compare prices. Where I am, fresh spinach costs around $15 a pound, but the salad bar is only $5 a pound. If you can make a salad out of ingredients that cost less at the salad bar than sold separately, than you are beating the system while nourishing yourself. Another cheap alternative is buying store brand canned veggies. I buy cans of beans for like $0.40.

Protein. Meat is expensive and you really need to cook it. If you can find a way to cook them, I suggest getting your protein from eggs. The yolk is pure;y nutrients, and has enough to jumpstart the life of a chicken in each egg. Other alternatives to getting protein include Deli meat (must be refrigerated) and nut based products. Peanut butter is always a huge hit.

Dairy. Dairy is the hardest to get because it is so hard to keep because it spoils. I have a dairy poor diet right now. Pretty much the only dairy I get is from a little cottage cheese in my salads. You need to get dairy in your diet though. If you have a calcium deficient diet, your body will take it from your bones. This can lead to them becoming brittle and breaking easy, or worse and more complicated health issues. If you can't get your dairy, take a calcium supplement.

Meal of the pros: Peanut butter and banana sandwich with a side of milk. Its very cheap and packed with nutrients. Also, its fucking delicious.

Loser meals: Fast food. In general, it is all crap and unhealthy. You may be attracted to the dollar menu for the cheap tasty calories, but they are empty calories and don't help you at all. Eating shitty food makes you feel like shit. The only fast food that I buy is the occasional sub at Subway, because with the right vegetables it actually has the potential to be healthy. Go get yourself a $5 footlong, or stay away from fast food.

That's all for now. I will likely talk about food and how to obtain it under a strict budget, in a later post when I have more time.