Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Review: Fire of the Raging Dragon

It's been hard being a Republican. It's a choice I made based on financial reasons when I was 21 and an investment banking analyst. I couldn't understand why I had to pay 50% on my bonus when I felt like I had worked like a dog for that money. Most days I worked 15 hours a day and I considered it a miracle when I went home the same day I came in to work. Sometimes I worked 24, 48 hours in a row, no sleep, no showers, but still plodding through and working, working, working. So I could give half of it away to someone on welfare. Whatever your politics are, that's the reason I made my choice. And it's been hard. Because I've lived in New York, DC, LA, and now the Bay Area, all places where being a Republican will get you public ridicule (if you consider FB a public forum). There was a brief period when Stewart was recalled to Iraq when I became an Independent, but really I still believed what I believed.

Now since the election (I voted for Roseanne Barr, but that's another blog post), all I seem to hear about is the fiscal cliff and how we should all just move to Australia. What is all this leading to? Well, sometimes the only thing that will make me lift my spirits when politics gets me down is when I read a great flag-waving book. Luckily, my friends over at Zondervan must have picked up on what I needed because they sent me a review copy of Dan Brown's new book, Fire of the Raging Dragon. In this second book in bestselling author Don Brown’s Pacific Rim Series---Stephanie Surber is stationed on board a submarine tender in the South China Sea when a naval war breaks out. After a gruesome discovery escalates America’s involvement, Stephanie’s father, U.S. President Douglas Surber, must choose to take a stand against evil … or save the life of his daughter.

It's scary to think how the book is spot on about how much America owes China. I don't think most Americans know how many trillions of Treasuries China owns and how our country would be completely bankrupt if China started a sell-off. But in the world created by Don Brown, we are still a nation of morals and a belief that some crimes are too horrific for us to countenance. By the end of the book I was proud (again) to be an American. I really believe that we would act the same way the characters did in the book if we were presented with such a situation. I can't say more than that without giving away spoilers. If you are looking for something to read on the plane to wherever you are going for the holidays or when you get there or a book to gift, you may want to include Fire of the Raging Dragon on your short list.

USA! USA! America-home of the brave and land of the free!!!!!

I did not receive compensation for this post. I did receive a copy to facilitate my review.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Emergency Preparedness: GET READY NOW!

As Hurricane Sandy has reminded us, we all need to be prepared for natural disasters. But how many of us actually have emergency kits ready? I know in our house we have some canned goods and water in case of earthquake, but we are nowhere near ready if we needed to grab one bag and go. Are you? The basic disaster supplies kit recommended by FEMA is as follows:

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Of course, in winter, if you live in a place with seasons, another essential item would be to have several reliable sources of fire. If your house loses power for a week (like I know some people did in the East Coast) and you have a fireplace in your house, at least you will have the option of burning wood and staying in your own home. My friends at Zippo recently provided me with a Emergency Fire Starter Kit to test for our family's disaster supply kit.

The Emergency Fire Starter Kit doesn't rely on a flame to start a fire. It uses a simple flint wheet to spark water-resistant, waxed tinder sticks that store in a waterproof case. In emergencies, where matches or lighters are unavailable, this kit can start a fire almost instantly and may save lives. Some of the outdoors' top people think so, too. It was awarded the Seal of Approval by the North American Hunting Club.

I recruited my favorite Eagle Scout to assist me in testing the Emergency Fire Starter Kit. Stewart opened it up and in no time at all had the tinder stick lit. He stated it was "pretty fast." Considering it lit up in less than a second, I would have to agree. Originally I had planned to couple the test with a marshmallow roast over an outdoor fire pit, but the weather has not cooperated. First it was 90 degree temperatures earlier in October, then rain, then back to hot weather. So no marshmallows, but we did have a successful fire start test. Goes to show, Zippo doesn't just make lighters anymore. They do have an entire product line dedicated to the outdoors. If you are looking for a fire starter kit for your emergency preparedness bag, the Zippo Emergency Fire Starter Kit seems like a great choice.

If you are on the East Coast, our prayers are with you for things to get back to normal, or as normal as they can be after a natural disaster of this magnitude. As my Eagle Scout always says, "Be prepared." Let's hope we all will be for the next big thing.

I did not receive compensation for this post. I did receive a product sample to facilitate my review.