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Elle– a gripping, thoughtful and controversial movie

It was not what I expected from the reviews and comments I’d read. This movie is not viewed easily and takes time to digest. In fact, I know I have to watch it again because the flow was  unexpected in so many different ways.

The Director was Paul Verhoeven, whose career includes such films as Robocop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Showgirls and Starship Troopers. I thought the last one was simply awful; a terrible adaptation of Heinlein’s book so I wasn’t optimistic. Not that Showgirls was much good either. I thought Robocop was better than a lot of people critiqued it– something that we will see coming true. Basic Instinct– eh, not too thrilled.

But this was different than all of them. Very psychological. While the core of the movie is rape, I think it’s much more complex than that. It’s about people. All of them bringing their ego and narcissism to the table, yet also bringing an ability occasionally get out of themselves. Like real life. There were some scenes I didn’t buy off on, but since I’m a man, duh, I’ll refrain from commenting, although my wife agreed with me. And she’s smarter than me.

I was surprised to read that it was initially considered for filming in America. I just don’t see that. I thought it very much a French film. Isabelle Huppert was superb in a very difficult role. Definitely deserved her Oscar nomination.

What we take out of a book or show or film is tainted by what we bring to it: our perspective. One thing striking me lately is the ability of people to get out of themselves at critical times. When someone else is in crisis. The ability, or lack of it, at those times, is an insight into true character. I believe we get to know who someone really is in a crisis. This movie had many of those moments.

Lots of twists and turns in the plot. Definitely worth watching.

The key to the film was honesty. I showed people, as they really are. And that can be very disturbing.

Two paws up from Cool Gus.

The Key Phrase to Remember: SURVIVAL

This is an abbreviated  excerpt from Prepare Now-Survive Later and worth a read.

The most important tool for survival is having the right mindset. All the training, preparation, information, tools, etcetera, are useless without the will to survive. This will is birthed from having the right mindset.

Don’t be intimidated. The will to survive is in every person. Luckily, for most of us, we haven’t had to tap into it. But when you have to, you will. Human beings are amazingly adaptable. I’ve talked to people who say: If it’s that bad, I don’t want to survive. But my experience says you’ll react differently.

The word Survival provides you with the first letters of the keys you need.

S: Size up the situation, your surroundings, yourself, and your equipment

Focus on what exactly is the threat in order of priority? This might seem obvious, but consider the situation in Japan in 2011. The initial event was the earthquake. That, however, wasn’t the primary threat. The resulting tsunami caused much more devastation. And following that, the problems at the nuclear plants presented immense issues that are still having an effect.

Size up your surroundings: When in a situation, tune in to the environment. Wherever you are, you are part of a system. This is key to survival. You don’t want to fight your environment; you want to work with it. There is a pattern to nature. In an urban environment there are also patterns. Make note of the patterns and also focus on any time the pattern is disturbed.

Size up yourself: Have you, or someone on your team, been hurt or wounded? Often, in the initial rush of a trauma, we miss potentially lethal injuries.

Keep yourself healthy. Dehydration, which we’ll cover under water, is a major problem that can easily be avoided. Notice how this is emphasized in The Hunger Games. The first piece of advice the mentor gives to the two candidates from his district is to find water. We can survive quite a while without food, but water is critical. Cold and wet are also enemies that you have to monitor and deal with.

Size up your equipment: What do you have? What can you get? What condition is your equipment in?

U – Use All Your Senses, Undue Haste Makes Waste

Use all your senses. A key trait, which mystifies many people, is called 6th sense. Great point men in the army are valued for this trait. They’ll be leading a patrol along a trail and suddenly stop. Something has alerted them, but they can’t pinpoint it right away. We all have 6th sense, but many of us don’t pay attention to it. 6th sense is one or more of your other 5 senses picking up something real and alerting your subconscious. You actually saw or smelled or felt something, but didn’t consciously register it. Trust that feeling. Focus and shift whatever it is to your conscious mind. Listen, smell, taste, touch, see. All are critical.

Undue haste makes waste: Unless you are in imminent danger, slow down and think things through. Panic is a killer. If you don’t think and plan, you could do the wrong thing and in some cases cause a “no do-over” action, which is usually fatal. Don’t take an action or move just for the sake of doing something. Every action and movement must have a purpose.

R – Remember Where You Are

Know your location at all times. Also, know where the people on your team are. Stay oriented. Often you can use significant terrain features for that, whether it be a coastline, a mountain range, a river. They can also give you boundaries.

V – Vanquish Fear and Panic

Courage is acting in the face of fear. We are all capable of being heroes. And it’s easier to be a hero when you’re prepared, which you will be.

Don’t let your imagination run too far in a fatalistic direction, much like the one soldier in Aliens who kept screaming “We’re all going to die.” You don’t want someone like that on your team.

Think about times in your life when you were in a crisis. How did you react? How did those people you want on your team react in a crisis? How someone reacts in a crisis gives you a very good idea of someone’s core personality type in a survival situation.

Panic and fear also drain your energy. You’re not focused on what needs to be done; you’re focused on what could possibly go wrong. One way to help lower fear and panic is to be prepared, have a plan, and practice aspects of survival training so you build your confidence.

Which you’re doing right now, by reading this.

I – Improvise

Look at the things around you with a different mindset in a survival situation. What might have one particular use in civilization can have a very different use in a survival situation.

No matter how well prepared you are, in an extended emergency, some of your gear will wear out. How can you use other objects around you? We’ll cover some readily available objects and how they can be turned into other useful tools. I cover scavenging in Survive Now-Thrive Later because it’s mostly over-looked, yet is a key phase during extreme emergencies.

V – Value Living

The will to survive. You have it; tap into it.

Two men with similar, survivable wounds. One lived and one died. What was the difference? The one who lived wanted to with every atom of his being. The one who died succumbed to his fear and pain. He didn’t value his life enough.

We tend to be creatures of comfort. Civilization has advanced to the point where few people have the day to day survival skills that many people had just a few generations ago. We buy our food prepared and pre-packaged. Our water comes from a tap. Electricity is taken as a given, rather than a precarious luxury. However, don’t let that make you think you can’t handle a survival situation.

One thing I have seen is that when people value living, they adapt surprisingly quickly. Most of our life consists of habits. When we are forced to change our habits, we rapidly adopt new ones.

No matter how hard it gets, never quit.

A – Act Like the Natives

If you are out of your natural environment, then observe those around you, both human and animal. Those that are native to the area have adapted to it. What do they eat? Where do they get their food and water? Are there places they avoid? What are their customs and habits? Remember, even customs that seem very strange, often have a very practical root.

Watching animals is key. They also need water, food and shelter. Animals can also be an alert for the presence of other humans. And they can alert others to your presence.

If you are a stranger, gain rapport with the locals. In order to get respect, you have to show respect first.

L – Live by Your Wits, But for Now, Learn Basic Skills

There are skills you need to practice, actions you need to rehearse before having to use them in an emergency. I  highlight these skills in both Prepare Now and Survive Now. Preparation is the key to success, both in terms of equipment and training.

Cool Gus and I hope you find this useful!

Prepare Now–Survive Later

Amazon; Print; Nook; iBooks; GooglePlay; Kobo

Survive Now–Prepare Later

Amazon; Print; Nook; iBooks; GooglePlay; Kobo

Thoughts While Waiting On My Jeep Maintenance– some free audio

I’m wrapping up Valentines Day (Time Patrol),  which takes a nice zig-zag in the series, but I don’t want to give away too many spoilers. I’ll have it out next month. My web site is being completely redesigned and hope to have it live next week.

I’ve also put together a Readers Guide with all my books, in order, with some author notes, and all links. That will be out shortly. Talk about tedious. With around 70 titles or so, multiple platforms, etc. I had to do every single link by hand. I’m having someone else who is better at tedious check my work today. ‘m not good at tedious and detail work, which my wife will be glad to tell you about.

She came home from the food store yesterday and had me unpack the bags because she knew if she did it, I would have no idea what she bought, nor would I look. I’d simply starve. Well, not exactly. I do have my Soylent. Which is not a great name for a product, but it supposedly contains everything you need to live. A drink that looks pretty nasty, but doesn’t taste too bad. Drink a cup of that and eat a banana and your system will be cleansed. Full disclosure– Deb would say ignore me on the Soylent.

Anyone ever put an ipad or ipad mini in their dash? All I’ve got a GPS in the Jeep is my small iPhone which, while worth the same as my health insurance, is really hard to see.

My wife, who is smarter than I, came up with an idea for a new book. From Gus’s point of view. I kind of like the idea. Especially given the fact the cartoon on the right is true. Anything about Cool Gus gets a lot more hits on social media than I do.  Actually it would be a series of short stories that Gus would tell. More to come.

Nine-Eleven is now live on audiobook here. I’ve got around 10 free download codes for it so I’ll go with the first ten who email me for those. But you do know you can get it for free if you don’t have an Audible account just by signing up for one for free? Then if you don’t want to pay anything, just cancel the account?  It’s a thought.

Deb and I are also looking for a new, funny, TV series. We do Big Bang and Modern Family. We watch Santa Clarita Diet’s season and that was different. We’re thinking of going back and re-binging something like Frasier. But anything new? Any suggestions? 

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