Tuesday, January 5, 2021

"Your Eyes Are Bigger Than Your Stomach"

My Grandfather use to have all these cool sayings like that one. As a hungry kid I would load my plate up to the brim only to find my stomach would totally fill up half way through eating it. ( That was an egregious sin by the way. You had to "eat everything on your plate".) In business, I have a similar problem, except 'my mind is bigger than my head'

As each new year begins, I always ponder the business strategy for the coming year. You know, things like how do I get more page views, video hits, customers, social connections etc.. And I'll always come up with what seems like a good plan. Like many plans it invariably gets tangled up in that ever so demanding  world of every day life. It's just amazing how those mundane time consuming chores like cleaning the toilet, sweeping the shop, even just brushing your teeth and such all sum up to way more than you might think.  This means my business is always plagued by the 5 by 10 rule where any project of value will involve five times more effort and take ten times longer than originally thought.  It's true.  

I've been in business since 1988 and on the internet since 1996. Yeeeesh.... Here is the BlueSkyKitchen.com story if you ever care to read it. During that time I have collected a lot of what us website developers call 'content'. Here is a website I put up last year that essentially has a lot of this 'older' content and even format of my earliest websites. 

Let me point out that the content is just as relevant now as it has ever been. There is some good stuff there. Backyard Camping is a great way to get preflighted for any coming camping season. My Arizona Flash Flood story is a cautionary tale all campers should know and consider. And I have even been working on some newer pages like "I HATE Camping!" ( There are people that actually say that and mean it. )

This year will no doubt bring some more content along those lines, more Youtube videos especially of the 'how to' variety and maybe even a newsletter every month? Naaaah that's always the lowest priority. ( It is still part of the plan, though. :)  

Nonetheless, one part of my business plan will always happen. It's the "go camping a lot part". Wonder why that is? ;-) Well, at least we get to experience the videos I take from all that camping. And ten years from now I am really going to be glad I took those pictures. 

The 2021 Calendar/Planner video is pretty cool if I do say so myself. 

Go Camping! 

Monday, January 4, 2021

The Secret to Happiness - Less News, More Camping!

So begins another year. Seems to me it's started off pretty much as they always do. Resolutions, hopes, expectations and dreams abound. That is as it should be. So let me offer up my normal routine and help you plan out your camping year with our 2021 calendar/planner. Here's the promotional video: 

And here is a link the PDF:

2021 Calendar/Planner Link

It should open in a new window. ( Be sure you SAVE IT before you close it. )

As far as making this a better year.....well my plan is to turn the TV off and Go Camping!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Y2K - All Over Again?

I brought in the year 2000 out camping which, incidentally, is my favorite way to usher in any new year. Of course, that was the millennium change over thus year 2000 = Y2K, (for those too young to know). As I remember there were predictions of air planes falling out of the sky, doors in stores that wouldn’t open trapping people inside and a host of other mostly mechanical type things that were suppose to happen. 

The 'prepper' ruled as people were buying survival packs, emergency devices, wind generators and RV’s. There were entire trade shows based on the ‘Y2K’ survival mentality.

The whole theory behind the impending disaster was that everything had become computer controlled at least to some extent. Everything from tools and appliances to cars and airplanes had microprocessors in them and nobody had considered what would happen to these various devices when their individual programs had to contend with the possibility of a date they were not programmed to recognize.

Y2K was absolutely incredible. Not the event - the hype, the press, the endless parade of experts predicting potential gloom and doom. Well let me tell you what actually happened. Nothing - absolutely nothing. The year 2000 came and went and the whole decade leading up to it was just an exercise in self generated stress. 

I am thinking this election is very similar. Now I know, no matter who wins, there will be a lot of upset people. However, that was the case last election too. We did somehow survive the whole matter and my bet is we will again.

Still, having your survival issues addressed is really just a prudent thing to do anyway. Thus my food stash is full, I have some extra fuel, cash, ammo and, of course, my camping survival plan is in place. 

As a matter of fact I am heading out tomorrow for a week long deer hunt in the hopes of stocking up the freezer with some venison. ( My granddaughter filled us up with elk a couple of weeks ago. You can’t get too much practice at this survival routine, you know. ;-)

Look at it this way, if it’s four more years of the same crap...well so be it and if it’s four more of different crap well what’s so unusual about that? Yeeeeesh..... let’s get out there camping so we can tone down the stress a notch or two. It’s just another election. After all these elections are always the most important one of our time because NOW is always the most important moment in time.

Don’t waste now! Do something meaningful. Vote, then let the chips fall where they may and Go Camping! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Five Mega Corona Camping Tips.

This corona thing has, in fact, turned a lot of folks to the hills so to speak. I went camping north of Flagstaff last weekend with hunting buddies Don and Taylor. I could not believe the number of people that were in the forest! It seemed as though every available pull off had a camp. Many were archery hunters like us but many we not. Some were biking, some were hiking, some were just enjoying the magnificent monsoon weather. It was good to see.

However, I am told there is a big problem with people leaving their trash and such behind when they leave. Us ‘real campers’ know you do not do that. It seems as though once one person leaves something behind others begin to think it’s perfectly OK to do that. At the very least you could get a ticket for that whether someone else does it or not. “Pack it in - pack it out” even if you are car camping.

And us real campers have to make up for those camping light weights too. I wish I had a nickel for every cigarette butte I have picked up from previous campers. I don’t smoke and nobody I camp with does either. But there is something about smokers that makes them think it’s OK to leave buttes about a camp site. Its not. At least put them in the fire.

So my regular viewers have probably all seen the following web-pages but maybe need a little refresher. New subscribers will definitely want to look over all these Corona Camping Tips. 

1 - Go camping more often.

2 - Eat good. 

3 - Meet  your friends out there. 

4 - Have fun - Day Fun and Nighttime Fun

5  - Avoid real camping hazards

Okay, okay I admit it, they are really not any different than any other tips I give you but they are still good and something every camper should know Corona or not. And there are about eighty camping videos on my VideocamperYouTube channel. All are geared toward getting you out camping more often and/or having more fun doing it.

I’m glad folks have taken the Corona advice I gave back in March. ;-) Go Camping!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

If some is good more is better? NOT!

That is the dumbest phrase ever invented! Not only is it not true, sometimes it is completely wrong. If you don’t believe that try going down to your local ice cream store. (That was Dairy Queen in my era, Cold Stone now, I suppose.) Then order the most decadent thing on the menu, maybe a banana split or hot fudge sundae ( again, my era).  Eat and enjoy it. Then order another one and do the same. If some is good, more is better? No, absolutely not. If some is good, more can make you sicker than a dog.

Now I know some of you are going to ask, what about money? You can’t have too much money, right? Actually you can, because if you had all the money in the world, no one else would have any money to build anything for you to buy. Thus, what good would all that money be? Yeeesh...

This ‘more is better’ way of thinking can be very harmful not just to ourselves as with the ice cream example but to others as well.

I have a couple of reasons for bringing this up. The most important would be this pandemic situation currently confronting us. If nothing else we should have all learned a big lesson in supply and demand. And, it is true, the price of a given commodity is determined by how much people want it ( demand ) vs how much there is ( supply ). Dare I mention the most salient example, toilet paper? Ok, I can see how the ‘more is better’ notion could consume some of us into a buying frenzy in the case of this most trifle, yet if not essential, utterly convenient product.

I am not the only one that noticed the ensuing panic as our fellow residents began to horde such commodities out of the very real fear the store wouldn’t have it if we ran out at home. On a personal  physiological level one can at least understand this hording motive.

The big problem, of course, is the accompanying swell of profiteering that will inevitably occur in such a panic. A friend of mine told me about a guy he saw in Costco when this panic first started. The guy had a big flat cart with all the spaghetti sauce the store had on it and was he headed for checkout. My guess is that sauce ended up on Ebay selling for probably five times more than what he paid for it.  Free enterprise in action? No that’s profiteering where people help create the very demand that depletes the local supply. Then as the supply chain gets choked off the price goes through the roof and they sell their stockpile at a vastly inflated price.

I have no problem with people leveraging supply and demand for profit under normal circumstances. That is really the principle behind most businesses anyway. The stock market does this every day. In this pandemic situation though, it’s making money at the expense of your friends and neighbors. And probably worse yet, empty shelves in the store encourages others of us to horde. In reality, most hordes just gather dust. That helps nobody.

It is just downright predatory  to benefit from the very supply shortage you help create. Especially true, when there are a lot of people in need and in the panic mode . We should just round these profiteers up, take them out in the most remote and harshest place we can find, remove their shoes and let them walk back. Maybe then they will come to understand what it’s like to really need something basic and not be able to get it.

So instead of ‘more is better’ let’s learn from the Goldilocks principle which is truly the most accurate and helpful approach. As I’m sure you remember, Goldilocks had to endure ‘too much’ then ‘too little’ in order to find ‘just right’.

A planned working food stash is not hording. And I am hoping we just learned how it’s really a pretty prudent thing to do. If enough of us do that, it will even benefit people who don’t, by removing us from the demand side of the equation when the next panic hits. Oddly it can even help you eat healthier, save money and most importantly GO CAMPING more! How’s that? Watch the video:


There is a ton of other good information out there on the Internet to further aid you in your stash building efforts. We want to keep a few things in mind:

1. It should be a “working” food stash. That is most of it you continually use and replenish.
2. This means the stock must be appropriate to you and your eating habits..
3. It requires a good deal of planning and work to get it right.
4. It’s important to pay attention and adjust quantities over time.
5. Goldilocks was right.

At some point you might want to consider a stash for when it's so bad you have to actually leave you house. Money would probably be useless. In that case a barter stash for extended periods might not be a bad idea to have.  

The vice type stuff would probably barter well, you know tobacco, alcohol etc.. Personally, I think the currency of a true 'survival mode' barter system will be 12 gauge shotgun shells as they work well for both  putting food on the table and personal protection.

For now though, let's get our in home stash right. 

All the houses I have ever lived in have had food in the pantry and I mean more than just  a little. It’s a ‘mentality' that we grow up with out West. Lets get those cupboards filled up with stuff we will actually use. Then to make sure our working food stash really works, we know how to check it out - GO CAMPING!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

My Foolproof Coronavirus ( Covid - 19 ) Aversion Plan | Coping with Troubled Times.

Camping offers the ultimate social distancing experience!

Go Camping! That’s right, it’s that simple. Well admittedly camping has always been at the heart of my survival plan.

What better way is there to meet the ‘best practices’ outlined be the CDC.  Camping tends to naturally limit social contact by segregating camping spots in campgrounds and many of us prefer primitive camping anyway. You don’t have to worry about what you touch because it’s all natural and uncontaminated. It’s also good to hang out in sun light as it kills micro type things fast.

This current absence of basketball, hockey, baseball games and everything else could make some of us just completely stir crazy. You are going to need something to help you keep your head on straight. Why not use this sporting events down time to enjoy the best family experience opportunity available - camping! 

We all could stand to get away from the news for a while anyway. I am guessing you won’t actually miss a thing. It will all be there when you get back. Twenty-four hour news is the worst invention ever, not just because it keeps rehashing everything that has already been said but it also creates massive speculation from god knows how many ‘experts’, as to what might happen in the future. After all they do have to fill up 24 hours  with something.

We do need to take this whole thing seriously, but we don’t need to obsess about it.

Therefore, camping can give you a welcome emotional sanctuary and a much, much needed repose from the daunting anxiety of rampant speculation news. Hey you might even want to plan out a camping vacation this year. This might be the best chance you’ll ever have to visit those usually overrun parks and monuments, well at least if they do remain open. Make sure you are camping though, so you can minimize exposure to virus infested motel rooms and restaurants.

How I Cope with Uncertain Times! 

Two things that keep the world in perspective for me in really troubling times such as this:

1 - It is somewhat consoling to look back on other horrendous events I have had to experience personally and remember somehow I made it through. WE made it through. You don’t get to my age without having lived through some traumatic and downright scary happenings. 

  • The assassination of John Kennedy - (This started a string of them.) Looking back the hardest part might have been watching highly respected teachers literally cry in class as we listen helplessly to the account on the radio.
  • The Vietnam War - The shootings at Kent State perhaps most exemplified how torn our nation was. Americans shooting Americans, it really was and still is unthinkable. Also, because I went, any time I even just have a bad day, I say to myself, “Ken, you haven’t heard a rocket crack off in a long time, it could be worse.”  
  • 911 - Anybody over 30 will remember the horror and all the accompanying uncertainty that came with it.
  • Many personal losses - Parents, all four of my brothers, all my aunts and uncles and some of the best friends I ever had. 

2 - It’s also good to consider what it must have been like for other human beings to have lived through other exceptionally troubling times in history and even regional catastrophes today like:

  • The Great Depression - These were some people that knew the real meaning of economic disaster.
  • World Wars and especially the Civil war - I can’t even imagine the horror, despair and anxiety of that one.
  • Plagues - this Covid -19 shutdown is only new to us. Similar things have happened before. Cambridge university closed for two years because of the black plague in 1665.  
  • Famine - sadly this is still with us today in many parts of the world.
  • Earthquakes, tornadoes, forest fires, floods and other natural disasters absolutely wreak havoc every year somewhere. 

Emotionally and economically devastating events have happened throughout history, happen today, obviously, and will continue to happen in the future. The real key to coping with the anxiety and insecurity of these events lies in your own self-sufficiency. I don’t mean just having enough toilet paper. I mean knowing you can sustain your own existence for an extended period of time without help. 

We have made it through bad times before. Strive for self-sufficiency as you are no good to anyone else without your own health and being.

Most importantly what your kids will need is what they have always needed, YOU. If you are there with them, they will be fine but don’t radiate your own anxieties. After all, kids already know what it’s like to not have control over situations. We could learn from them. 

So coping is really all about taking care of yourself and the people you love. Do that and you’ll be okay and Go Camping!  It will help.

Have a look at my new Youtube Trailer, it might help get you motivated:

Friday, February 7, 2020

So Begins Another Year ( or decade as it be.)

January is already gone and we are a week into February. Is it just me or is time actually going faster?

You'll find out when you get old the only thing that really happens fast is getting older. If you keep your health though, you can still do all those things you love but just not as fast. This ranges from everything from sporting ventures to mind activities to bodily functions. You can still do them although not as fast and don't expect to command the same skill level. Also, be prepared for the back, neck, shoulders etc. to voice their dismay a day or so later. 

The other thing about getting old is you spend a lot of time pondering your time wasting youth. In my case my mind wonders back to the very earliest of memories.  It's very odd how you can recall those rather  clearly but can't remember the time in the middle like anything about the fifth grade, even who your teacher was. Worse yet, where did I put the tape measure down five minutes ago?

This can be somewhat mitigated by forcing yourself to develop mindful habits. Years ago I use to lose my keys with great regularity. That never happens now because I have trained myself to put them in only one of three places.

  1. on the dresser.
  2. in my pocket.
  3. in the vehicle.
Truth be known I shouldn't say 'never', there is one exception to my lose the keys problem. I have a small Leatherman tool on my key chain. Occasionally, I'll use the screwdriver, knife or pliers of the tool then set them down where ever I am. ( I guess my mind thinks it's okay to deviate from my routine because it's thinking of the tool not the keys.) Fortunately, I can usually 'back track' to where they are.

When I fixed electronics stuff for a living, I would, with some regularity, set my screw drive down on a shelf or appliance but not on my work bench or in the toolbox where it should be. Then, of course, I would promptly forget where.  The only thing that ever worked for finding it was to accuse my fellow workers of stealing it. I would proclaim with great absolution, "I WHAT THAT SCREWDRIVER YOU STOLE!" Amazingly, after so making a complete fool of myself, I would often look right at it.

Thus, if you can't find something all you have to do is resolutely accuse someone of stealing it.

My theory for why this works deals with that inner child we have in our minds.  That child has the ability to block the flow of information to the conscious part of the mind. Furthermore, my inner child is a total brat and just loves to see me make a complete fool of myself. 

Your big question is what does this all have to do with camping! Ha! Everything. Getting it right is all about good habits in life and especially when camping. Here is my playlist of One Minute Camping-tips.com videos to help you develop your camping routines: 

The only way I have found to make both my 'Inner Child' and 'Outer Old Dude' happy at the same time is to do something they both like.

Go Camping! - Ken