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David T. Cole

Life Below Zero

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14 hours ago, katiebuer said:

I love Life Below Zero.  I watch it faithfully.  You can learn so much.

Very happy Glenn is gone with his, airplane, cell phone and all his other luxuries that don't fit into the show.

Don't go anywhere Sue.  In my opinion you carry the show!

They fit in the show. Alaska is huge and a lot of folks fly and carry satellite phones for safety. I have no problem with that. I think it was how it was presented. It started like Glenn was a homesteader trying to live off the land in a primitive setting.

Except it was always obvious that he was not a homesteader living off the land except for when he choose to be there. It was always clear that it was more of a e tensive hobby then a lifestyle. 

It just never fit. 

It would be like trying to present my backpacking experience as a Survival expert. 
 

I think they needed another way to fit Glenn’s story in. He has some serious skills and loves what he is doing. It just didn’t mesh with people who were living a subsistence or isolated life full time for various reasons.

and that was before there was weird parachuting off mountains and planes and family. 
 

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It was fun to watch the "Sue Special" and remember her arduous path to sprucing up Kavik and acquiring her lovely cabin. But I gotta say that a solid hour of pedantic Sueisms was a bit much to endure.

Finally some real predators! We've heard so much about them throughout the series but rarely see them. The latest regular episode gave us grizzlies.

The show's participants must thank their lucky stars because I assume the extra income has really saved some of them - especially Sue and Jessie. Jessie was barely making it and Sue's future didn't seem secure at all.

Chip and his shade at people who work in cubicles. Smug jerk. He forgets that 1) the state of Alaska could not handle it if everyone left their cubicles, swamed to Alaska, and copied his lifestyle 2) Agnes gives him his lifestyle and 3) cubicles (and factories, etc.) keep our economy going and provide services and goods, including tax-supported commodities to Alaskans.

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I skip the recap episodes, they drive me nuts. I want new stuff not a rehash. But that is me.

I do wonder how much each of the participants make from each episode, but I am not so interested that I have researched it. I do think the money has been beneficial for all of the participants but I don't think that it has really changed the people that much. Sue might be the most effected by the money, it probably helped her by Kavik and maintain it but I think she would have been able to do that without the show. It might be more tooth and nail but I am not sure that she is where she is because of the show.

At the very least, I suspect that she would have been kept on in her job if someone else had bought Kavik.

I get the impression that most of the participants are squirreling away a fair amount of the money because none of them have made that many drastic changes to their way of life. Chip and Agnes have better snow machines but not much else seems to have changed in their life style. Jesse is improving his homestead but in ways that seem sustainable and with money made from raising dogs and winning sled races. Andy had a lot of his equipment before the show started so maybe it helps maintain things but not much has changed at his place. Glenn did start flying in and eventually bought his own plane but that is about it. And I get the feeling that he could have afforded that, and probably was flown in, before he was first filmed.

Watching Buying Alaska tells me that there are plenty of decent homesteads in the sticks that are very affordable. So Sue could have bought what she did easily enough. And we don't know if she sold the other property that she owned, the one that had squatters a few years back. The land that Jesse bought was probably pretty inexpensive.

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Sue's retirement cabin seems like a lot of work for a loan woman to keep up in her retirement years.  Climbing on a ladder to clean off a roof is a bit precarious for an older woman, and there are several buildings.  

Why did she dye her hair black?  It certainly didn't make her look younger.

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On 4/8/2017 at 12:51 AM, IntoTheMystic said:

I just started watching this show on Netflix and can't stop. I'm obsessed with all things Alaska. I've been a few times and can't wait until my kids are old enough to go and actually learn and not just sightsee and eat snow cream. It's so beautiful there and the footage of the areas shown on this show is breathtaking. 

I'm just starting season 3, episode 2, but I think the Netflix seasons are different than the seasons the network numbered with because I keep seeing that there are 9 seasons, but that's not possible with the math/years. 

Anyway, my thoughts so far:

Andy scares the crap out of me. His temper is just outrageous. And I can understand that he's tired and he's doing the work of multiple people by himself, but boy does he lose it quick, fast, and in a hurry. I think the guy is a genius and would trust anything he builds/engineers, but I wouldn't want to be around him at all. I feel like he's very verbally abusive to Kate and if he will do that when the cameras are rolling then God only knows what he's like when they're not. I love Kate. She's funny. She's just really beautiful. And she seems down to earth and laid back. Maybe she equals Andy out somehow, but he still scares me. I've known men like him that have let their hands/fists fly as much as their mouths.

I did a survivalist month with a family very much like the Hailstone family. When you are watching the show, it DOES look like they are taking a lot of meat/eggs/fowl, but they're really, truly not. Imagine how many bags of food you bring into your house in a month. Whether it's fast food or groceries. Imagine you only have about 3 months to get all the food you will eat for 9 months. Now imagine that for the OTHER stuff you need to survive (wood, gasoline, vegetables, fats, fruits, berries, nuts), you have to trade off a portion of the food you've just procured to survive the winter. Their meat is their money as well. The family I stayed with were able to trade moose burgers for much-needed medication. So, you have to factor in all the unexpected expenses as well and that's why they work hard to build their 'bank account' --- which is their excess meat to share, trade, and barter with. They aren't greedy --- they just want to go into the winter months with enough money (meat) to meet their financial and dietary needs.

Having said that, I don't quite like Chip Hailstone. He's very bossy and very know-it-all to Agnes. He says that she's the hunter, but he's always telling her when/how to shoot, when to cut the meat, etc... He also seems to sit back a lot and let her and their kids do the work. I get that some of it HAS to be done by the women because of cultural laws, but I still feel like the work isn't distributed evenly.

Glenn hasn't grown on me much. I guess he enjoys being naked and that's just fine but I'm not interested in seeing it. (I'm a lesbian also. LOL)

I kinda miss Erik even though he got very repetitive and monotonous at times. I've only seen his new wife a few times, but she's very lovely and capable.

Sue. I love Sue. She's a tough old hardass and I laugh at her one-liners in every episode. I think it speaks volumes about her mental fortitude to get attacked by a bear, then have one come through the wall onto her head and still live up there like a boss. She is also extremely well-spoken and intelligent. It wouldn't surprise me if her IQ was up there too. I've known a lot of truly smart people (genius level) who prefer to be alone with their thoughts and away from people. I'm hopeful that we will learn more about her and why she chose this career and life as the series progresses. At the point I'm at (Season 3, ep 2), she has only implied a few things about having a hard life before moving to Kavik. She seems to have a great relationship with her grandson and all of her regular pilots. I also admire her for thanking the animals she kills and caring for the foxes in her area. I hope she doesn't get into trouble for feeding those foxes, though. I didn't know any better, totally my fault, and shared some salmon with a fox and paid a nice little fine while I was there once. 

This is one of the better Alaskan shows I've found. I tend to tune into all of them at least once or twice and this show comes the closest to showing what I experienced and learned there. I'm enjoying it so much and I'm glad I found it on Netflix. I hope more seasons will be added soon.

"Having said that, I don't quite like Chip Hailstone. He's very bossy and very know-it-all to Agnes. He says that she's the hunter, but he's always telling her when/how to shoot, when to cut the meat, etc... He also seems to sit back a lot and let her and their kids do the work."

 

Exactly what I see. Chip lets the ladies do the work. Regardless that it's a very difficult environment to survive in, he doesn't seem to take on the role he should with so many of his own children to support. I give Agnes all the kudos, and she just takes the work in her stride. She's amazing! I respect her. 

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I think there are some things that Chip is not allowed to do because he is not a Native American. We know that there are certain animals he cannot hunt. It could also be that Native people are allowed to hunt without a license or over the legal limit. I am guessing that the ivory tusks are something he is not allowed to deal with.

Chip does a good amount around the house and the camp. He is building stuff, gathering logs and wood. He does the mechanical work on all the machines.

We have not seen Chip's son do anything other then hunt, when he has appeared on the show. The Son, who is Native, does not help with the food prep or any of the sewing or the like. I suspect that there are traditional roles that are still passed down.

That said, Chip is introducing his daughters to his building and machine skills.

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Sue us full of crap. S8E1 wolverines are not 110 lbs. And 3-4 feet at the shoulder. They do not kill people and certainly do not kill grizzly bear ever. And this is just one episode of one season. 

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New Season....Sue, Jessie, Andy/Denise, Ricky, Chip/Agnes

Plus a spin off...LBZ...Next Generation...cast is just as insufferable as most of the above....

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I can still do without Chip.  He still comes across as being a smug SOB.

I really like Ricko, Jessie and Sue.  For some reason, Denise just rubs me wrong.  Not sure why either.  That whole scene with her and Andy going to Eagle for mail was just wrong.  One time, they are going along one side of the bank and then next shot, they are on the opposite side while after the same group of moose (or whatever animal).  All the while, Denise is looking straight at the camera doing her what do I do, Andy speech.  I'm sorry, you moved to Calico Bluff with Andy 2 years ago, you should know by now how to steer the boat, etc and hunt.

Truthfully, I would be very happy if they concentrated on Ricko teaching his children how to live the native life.  

As for the new group, BORING!!!  Just a bunch of smug ass young people thinking they can act like they live in the wild.  SMH, 

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Do not like the new young group. Chip is smug as ever. Jesse and Sue with Riko and his kids make this must see tv for me. Can't stand Denise dumbing down to prop up Andy.

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9 hours ago, iluvobx said:

Denise just rubs me wrong.  Not sure why either. 

She is a suck up... always blowing smoke up Andy's ass.

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Denise seems desperate and I don't know why. I get the feeling that she just wants to be on TV and this is her way of getting on TV. Wasn't she a part of Andy's medical team in Florida? I don't know the background but I got the impression when she was first on that she was a Nurse and it felt like she might have been paid by Discovery to move back with Andy so he could have some medical help while healing and return to the show.

Andy being Andy, I don't feel like there is an emotional connection between him and Denise. It feels more like that wanna be mentor relationship he had with the one guy who came for wilderness training back when Andy was married or the teen a few years back. Nothing about their relationship feels like they are in a relationship.

Chip is Chip. I would prefer the show focus on Agnes, she is awesome. There are a good number of shows that focus on Agnes and the kids.

Love Sue but her story line is getting very repetitive. Sue fixes different things in camp in order to get ready for deep winter. And there will be hunting episodes. Then there will be Sue at her retirement cabin fixing things and hunting.

Love Rico and the kids. Mainly because I like watching the kids learn things. And Rico is fun to listen to.

Jesse is interesting because he is changing a fair amount in his life. So there is a lot of watching him grow and build. It has not reached the repetitive stage that Sue and the Hailstorms have reached.

The show really just needs to cycle through people every 3 years to keep it fresh. Glad that Glenn is gone. I would be fine with losing Andy. I think Denise is suppose to be the fresh bit to his story line but Andy is Andy and not much is going to change who he is and how he acts. Denise is not interesting and her story line doesn't make sense to me.

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I'm watching Sue out of loyalty, but admit she's repetitive.

I'm watching Riko and his kids because they belong there more than anyone (except Agnes and her kids).

Maybe Denise is running from something. Her relationship with Andy reads like a robot/servant/possible sex partner. He'll do anything to extend his time living at his place, teaching Denise to do all of the hard work he used to do.

Unless the show hid elements of Jessie's background, he has really gone from nothing to success through his own drive.  I did note that he said something about his previous site being close to a village, which was definitely not portrayed during his earlier seasons. And I have mixed feelings about sled dogs being used to generate income for humans; so many of them suffer the effects on their bodies. I mean, my Labradors love to run forever, but they decide when to stop.

Edited by pasdetrois
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I think Denise is enjoying all the hard work.  Some people are like that.  I find her raucous laugh very annoying. 

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On 4/12/2017 at 12:11 AM, IntoTheMystic said:

Oh, goody. I finally get the opportunity to share something worthwhile. 

I will preface this by saying that I'm a vegetarian, but I wasn't when I spent quite a while in Alaska with a family very much like the Hailstone family. When I first experienced the animal killing, I felt like a lot of you guys do. Why so much? Why so often? Why so brutally? Why? Why? Why?

Here's what you have to understand about subsistence living:

1)  Your meat is your money.

If you need gasoline, you trade meat for it. If your jet-ski breaks down, you repair it by trading meat for it. If your vegetable cellar floods or is damaged, you trade meat for new vegetables. If you need fat (seal), you trade meat for it. If you need medication, you trade meat for it. If you need the village doctor, you trade meat for it. You have to make sure you have enough meat for trading, bartering, paying, and helping to feed hungry neighbors who aren't great hunters. You grab it while you can through any means necessary because it is LITERALLY your income and you can only supplement that income with more hunting a few times a year.

2)  Fur is your actual money.

If you are lucky and you have a family who sews, you can utilize all the parts of the animal and sell the fur creations or just the fur that you have caught. The family that I stayed with were able to sew about 6-10 hats, 6-10 blankets and 6-12 pieces of clothing per year. The hats would sell for about 150-300. The blankets, depending on size and fur type, could go for 250. The clothing was anywhere from 20-100. That is less than $10,000 a year in actual money and you cannot rely on that because there may be no buyers. You have to trade meat or spend money for buttons and threads and tools for sewing that needs replacing. You would be insane to let a fox worth $300 get away when that's your only income. 

3)  Eggs are eggs.

I went egg gathering and I was grabbing those eggs like they were a million bucks. It's no different than chickens. If you empty a nest --- it will be refilled and those chicks will hatch. I currently have chickens because my wife is an omelet fiend and we take eggs daily. If we want chicks then we skip a few days or set aside a special area for those eggs. Trust me, taking the eggs we need every single day can STILL overrun us with chicks if we aren't careful.

4)  In the Arctic you eat POUNDS of meat every day.

Your body burns a gazillion calories in the Arctic because it is trying to keep itself warm and you are fighting snow with every step you take. Walking in snowshoes will burn up twice what you will burn on an elliptical going full blast. I was weighing out my portions at the height of my stay and I was scarfing down well over four pounds of meat per day and I was still hungry and quick to tire. I was taking two multivitamins and eating all the nuts and berries I could find, but I still lost over 30lbs so fast it was scary. Once I started eating more animal fat (and I mean a TON of animal fat) I started to feel better but that fat was eaten on TOP of the four pounds of meat per day. For a family as large as the Hailstone family . . . that adds up really fast. 

5)  Variety is the spice of life.

Can you imagine only having pork on your plate for a year and no variety? Eating the same thing gets old after a while. Food should be enjoyed. Especially if you work your tail off to get it. You can't just run to the grocery store if you want a hamburger or roast. There's no fast food. And you can't just run out and kill a duck or a seal or a musk ox or a bear when you feel like it. So, when those animals are in season you hit them as hard and fast as you can so you aren't eating caribou all winter. You gather is while you can because once it's gone it's gone for MONTHS. Even the fish. And you are DYING for fresh meat by the time winter is over because it tastes so much better than the stuff that has been frozen for months.

6)  It's a math thing.

There are 365 days in a year. A family of two parents and five kids who eat around 5 pounds of meat a day ... 7 people x 5 lbs a day = 35 lbs per day. 35 lbs x 365 days a year = 12,775 lbs per year just to sustain the family. That's not including additional meat for bartering/trade/income.

Ducks are about 5 lbs. Caribou is up to 100 lbs. Musk Ox is up to 500 lbs. Two - three fish will feed a family that big.

So while it looks like a LOT of hunting and killing, it really isn't. Not even close. I was amazed at how quickly you can go through an entire animal to feed a family that size. It's just not something you think about when you are grabbing a pound here and there at the grocery store. You can never, ever have enough in the Arctic.  When you see the Hailstones clubbing ducks or spearing seals or stabbing caribou in the river, they are doing it because they will literally die if they don't. And it's much more humane to club a duck and kill it quick than shocking/drowning/beheading the animals you are purchasing at the grocery store. The majority of those animals aren't allowed to roam free at all before they're butchered and their lives are a living hell.

I didn't become a vegetarian because of my experiences in Alaska. I became a vegetarian because I researched the way animals are butchered for the grocery store. If I lived in Alaska and could harvest my own meat, I would not be a vegetarian. Seeing the videos on meetyourmeat.com and some of the stuff PETA has uncovered makes it impossible for me to buy meat at the store.

Late to the LBZ party, and I am still working my way through this thread - but - I had to chime in before I was ready just to compliment you on this post.

This is incredibly thoughtful, well put together and informative.

I don't think any of us can really understand what life without at least  grocery store within driving distance would be like.  I

It may seem brutal to see all the hunting, but it's not like these folks are taking down a creature just to hang it's head on their wall.  I am always impressed with how they use dang near everything.  Thank you for this post INTOTHEMYSTIC.  Very helpful and informative!

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I've been watching "Next Generation" and I don't like most of these folks. 

To me a lot of them come across as upper middle class white people who look down on "the city" (even though the city is probably how most of them made their money to afford their land, cabins and expensive equipment)

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I don't care for the new series either.  Just stay with the original, unless they're running out of ideas.

 

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15 hours ago, DonnaMae said:

I don't care for the new series either.  Just stay with the original, unless they're running out of ideas.

 

They ran out of ideas ages ago. Most of these episodes are repeats with new pictures. I have a bunch on my DVR and have not bothered to watch them. I might end up just deleting them.

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Another nice episode with Ricko and the kids last night.

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On 11/18/2020 at 4:59 PM, rcc said:

Another nice episode with Ricko and the kids last night.

I like watching Ricko with his children and teaching them.

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They traveled 700 miles by boat? What a long trip. There must have been a lot of small towns along the river where he could get gas.   Does Ricko have a job?  Do the children live with him, their mother, or both of them?  So many questions about this good father.

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