Wednesday, November 30, 2011

check out a nice cheap rack

This is the type of rack/shelving I like to use at home (sturdy, easy to assemble, heavy duty). The ones I have right now are polished/chrome and I couldn't be happier with how they work out. Lowes has them on sale (right on the homepage, middle left), in black as pictured for $49 vs the usual $79. I know a nice rack when I see it, even if it's cheap, so I got 4 ready for pick-up at the closest location (free in store pick-up instead of shipping charges). With each rack I only use 4 shelves (this will leave me with 4 extra shelves), I can pick up one of the smaller size racks later for around $35 and use the large shelves and save money.
With 2 of the new racks I will replace some metal with wood racking that will not only free up space, but give me more actual shelf space for stuff. One of the remaining racks will be full as soon as it's up, I ordered a lot of sale food this weekend (33 #10 cans of freeze dried stuff will take up about 2 shelves) and now that I have more space I can continue to pressure can. I will also put some more dog food in storage, the new boy eats twice as much as the other one.

I also got a year end bonus, something I really enjoy but never count on at all. That will go to fixing the rod knock on my Discovery. One of my bestest friends owns his own repair shop so I will help him fix it, learn how to fix it, and get a good price on the things I need to buy or labor I have to help with.
I'm also going to get a visa gift card from work that I'll use on some much needed ammo, my .357 and .38 seems a little low. I'm going to give myself $600 at Christmas for a new weapon, perhaps an AR, perhaps a better conceal carry. It's the season for giving and being thankful and I haven't gotten a new weapon in years.

Tomorrow is adoption day, signing the papers on the new family member to make it official. Today I'm adding him on the pet health insurance policy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guard up!

In all the craziness this time of year, and especially in my life right now, I made a sign on the inside of my front door that says: Keep your guard up.

It's easy to be complacent and forget to do things like:
Scan the parking lot when you come out of a building or store
Lock your car when you get inside, before you start the engine
Park away from the majority of vehicles so you don't get blocked in
Know where and how many exits a building has that you are going to be in
Sit so you can see the exits if possible (I call it the paranoid corner)
Keep your fuel tank over 1/2 at all times
Change your get home bag to season appropriate clothing (can't get home if you are Frozen!)

I think we all need little reminders about things, and sometimes a sign on the door you see on the way out is the best.
Other signs I made this year:
Don't ruins the gains you made today, tonight
Skip a day and do twice as much tomorrow
Can't shoot someone if you don't have your gun

Funny stories for each of those signs, but probably only funny to me.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Terrible 2's?

First off, it's cyber Monday and after deleting all the crap from my email and getting work done.. I did the American and shopped at work. Walmart has the Tramontina 6.5 Qt Cast-Iron Dutch Over for $35, I just couldn't help myself.

The new dog is really a new puppy even though he is 2 years old. It was a hell of a long week and weekend but I think he has finally settled down some. All he has known for 7 months is getting out of a cage to play OR be trained with treats as a reward.
I'm not a treat train kind of guy, especially for 7 months. I also never wanted a puppy, especially an 85 pound bulldozer puppy. Oh well, it's still worth it even if it changes my entire routine (really, do people eat at the dining room table anymore... I do now!). It's been tough prepping for the dog, and then getting him, so I seemed to have missed on Thanksgiving and didn't even eat half of my plate of food. Rock is worth it (renamed from Rocky since it's too fight movie oriented).

Speaking of deals, I managed to get some #10 cans ordered ( sale ends today fyi) in between puppy chasing. I was able to snag some things for such a good price it's better than getting it locally or storing it on my own. I still need to hit up Lowes and get another shelf set, maybe I better buy 2. I also hit up holiday sales at a few grocery stores to get canned goods at some silly prices. I stocked up on canned pumpkin, blackberries, blueberries and some apple and cherry pie filling. I normally bake everything from scratch, fruit included, but the prices were too good to pass on especially for 3+ years of storage life.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The almosts

I'm not complaining that I'm busy. It's interesting that this time of year is usually my slowest time at work but for some reason everything is going on. I had planned to head back home to New Hampshire in January but I'm glad I didn't buy the ticket, would have been a waste.

I've been spending some time finishing up my list I made in July, on things to get done before the end of November. The only thing I have really failed on was getting a couple of solar panels up and running to charge some batteries I run emergency lighting on. I have a massive trauma pack I just finished finally, as well as adding another 50 gallons of water into storage. My food supply is silly and I just keep building it up, but it's really nice to grab 99% of whatever I need for cooking/eating without leaving the house.

If you are a freeze dried food fan, Shelf Reliance has some really good deals this weekend. I'm not involved in the business, nor a consultant, I just like the stuff I get from them. I rotate a lot of stuff into my normal food consumption, the freeze dried just takes a little longer as it sucks up some water.

Since I'm a picture guy, here is Rocky. Rocky should be moving in on Friday afternoon. He is 2 years old and has been at the rescue organization about 6 months since he is a pit and isn't the color most people like (white isn't the most scary color in a dog).
Here is a picture of my dog Luke. He wasn't really excited about the bath, but I had him in a good location so he could check out the lady dogs as they walked in!
He is truly a hound.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2011


This week has been amazingly busy, something I'm not used to but really enjoy. I even got some boxes of food delivered for storage.

However I'm too busy to post more pictures and such but in GREAT news, we decided to give another dog a forever home and I am awaiting a phone call from a rescue place. I also decided to donate $7500 to the Humane Society for the holidays in hopes some good families will be able to adopt if I can cover the fee's.

I am a believer in fate, and so much has happened today to let me know I'm doing the right things in life. Now I just need to make some pie's, a turkey and a ham for Thanksgiving! Have a great weekend, I'll try to get pictures  up this weekend from Ancient Rome and Florence.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vatican museum, or my lack of religious knowledge.

It started to rain so everyone ran inside and crowded the place, making great photo's really hard. Nothing like trying to take a picture and having 500 people behind you ready to trample. I had to get outside, rain or not, more than a few times so I wouldn't lose my mind. The Sistine chapel was amazing, and really loud. The rule is no photo, video, or talking and OF COURSE everyone broke the rules. I don't care if you are religious but you should at least have some respect for the situation and the rules.

I won't add text to all the photo's, I really don't know what a lot of the stuff is and won't pretend to know the religious context of a lot of it. I only went to church to sing in the choir and to eat food at the pot luck. I was there for the art, the Roman stuff mainly, but at least I didn't come away hating religion more... it really wasn't lined with stolen gold.
 Saint Peters dome, I think. I told you I don't know this stuff.
 All kinds of ancient Roman treasures line the halls. The marble and such used to be on the Coliseum, but was recycled (or stolen, depending on your view). Each item has the Pope's name etched on it, so everyone knows who's reign it was added to the collection under. I thought they were supposed to be humble, but as I said.... I don't know about religion.
 Fantastic sculptures, this one is about a serpent killing a guy. This was supposedly the inspiration for Michelangelo to really get the bodies and anatomy correct for all of the sculptures that he did.

 I really liked this one, it seemed like it was full of agony and suffering and beautiful at the same time.
 Romans killing babies (I think they said they were killing them since they were Christian), the entire tapestry has silver strands woven in, it was amazing.
 Ceiling of one hallway, amazing work.
 End of a hallway, over the doorway, this is the crest of some pope (if I understood it correctly)
 Saint Peters square.
 Don't hate, but this is supposed to be some really religious sculpture by Michelangelo, it might be Mary holding Jesus but I'm honestly guessing.

 Here lies a dead Pope, awaiting the final years before sainthood (I think, lol).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


It's not a matter of if, it's just a matter of when. I think that's something a lot of LMI keep in mind, and something that's been said for ages. 79 AD was not the first time Pompeii had issues, they were not even done working to repair all the damage done from an earthquake. I wont go into a huge history lesson here, there are plenty of places who have the information gathered in a better format than I would do.

Here are a few shots and some description of what's going on in each.

 The main entrance road. Everything you see is original unless it's wood (usually over a doorway). They knew how the city was laid out since it's based on a typical Roman city. That's how they knew how to stack the columns that were knocked over, etc.
 After the earthquake they repaired columns with the new brick type construction. They used marble, black lava stone, large blocks, smaller large blocks, red brick and a sort of honey-comb type of building style. When you are there, and in some pictures, you can see all the style of construction material that was used making it easy to see what is older and what was redone after the earthquake (before the eruption).
 I don't like people in my pictures but after 10 minutes it was a steady stream of people so I took it. This is the bathhouse, the main meeting spot for men. It included an intricate system of heating that made the floor so hot they had to wear wood sandals or else burn their feet. It's great color and detail on the walls after all these years.
 Typical shop counter, containers in the background, and a nice view of some different construction materials that were used.
 From your front door, if people could see a fountain, a garden, pillars, fresco's, etc. then you were considered filthy rich. Even the sidewalks were private so you could decorate them. The bedrooms are on the sides, just large enough to sleep in.
 Bakers oven, where they actually found bread preserved with the bakers stamp on the side. Marketing 101, branding.
 Wine shop counter with 7 containers of what I am assuming would be different types of wine or drink.
 This person didn't have a garden but let people know he was rich by creating this fantastic house. It used to be open so you could walk up to the railing but since people can't stop stealing stuff (yes, pathetic) they gated the doorway.
 In the brothel you didn't need to know the language, you could just point to what you wanted. The erotic art of Pompeii is all over the place, they have preserved a lot of it in the museum. If you needed money you could sell your wife to the brothel, rent her to people who needed sons (if your wife was producing sons), etc. Not just the women worked the brothels, it was acceptable for men to be with other men, but there were very strict guidelines about all of this stuff. It was pretty crazy to hear it.
 If you didn't know your way to the brothel you could simply go in the direction of the penis. This was also considered a sign of good luck and fortune so they have penis sculptures on walls of houses, penis oil lamps, etc. Fighting, drinking, sex... the life of a Roman man.
Part of the main square with a nice marble base for whatever statue happened to be here to whatever god was in this section of the square. I'm sure this piece is in the museum (in Naples) along with almost all of the treasures, statues, etc. from Pompeii. When Emperor Constantine was in power (the first Christian Emperor), that started the downfall of worshiping various gods.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Yes, I'm behind

I knew getting back to work would sort of suck, and I wasn't let down. Being gone for over a week can create havoc especially when you are replacing the main software system and all of the computers in the entire place. I'm glad I did some work via email while I was in Italy so it wasn't super crappy. It's usually the people more than the projects or problems since I can't fix them.

With losing the dog, then leaving the country and now it's dark when I get home... I'm a little out of sorts. I got a headache on Saturday that kept me down all weekend. Sunday afternoon I finally felt better and that's when the kitchen light fixture decided it had enough. It took a few hours to get some new track lighting installed, I'm not very handy when it comes to electrical work for some reason, but now it's working great. My vacuum decided to give out right after that was done, so another trip out for another big ticket item that will hopefully last 15 years like the last one.

I had a few shipments of freeze dried stuff come in and really need another shelf rack for the next stuff I decide to order. I got a really large selection of fruit, just in time for the holiday munching. My new computer and laptop came in so I've been busy getting everything organized and working the way I like it. Battlefield 3 is up and running, letting me kill some pixels during my 'don't know what to do before bed' time of night.

It's all good, still in the high 50's out and my headlamp is getting a workout on my runs. I feel like I've slacked a lot lately but I'm on track for my goals and training. I need to win lotto so work won't get in the way of my fun!
Pictures up tomorrow from Rome and the area, I hope.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Nuovo post!

Here is a picture I was sent showing someone making good use of the hot dogs at home!
That's my boy!

Rome is exciting and disappointing all at once. Everyone smokes, it's like a cloud when you step out of the hotel. YUCK!
The ancient monuments are amazing, but it's so obvious they are only repairing them or keeping them around to make money. It's hard to get a picture of anything ancient without some light, wire, gate, etc. in the way. Plus all the people who really don't care about the history and just want to look at stuff in a tour and are so obviously not interested in what is being said. I want to spend months here learning about every little statue and building and ruin, but I'm on a whirlwind trip!
Punch to the junk.
The plane ride over sucked, but I refuse to pay $8k a ticket for first class. The food is great of course, here is a lunch from today:
Very simple food, just my style. We are going to some nice place tonight I'll try to get a picture if I remember. I took a few hundred today at the Colosseum, tomorrow is the Vatican. Hopefully I wont be saddened over the money wasting away in Vatican city, but I might not get another chance to see it. If being here proves anything, it's that nothing lasts forever and building on top of stuff you just destroyed saves having to expand.
Found a nice park without many people for a run. Got lost for a while and ended up at some embassy where the guys with guns were not friendly.
Museum of Modern Art, and a humid sweaty me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Review: Hot Dogs!

What to do with a fridge crisper drawer full of hot dogs and bologna. Eat it of course! Here is a secret family sandwich recipe:
2 pieces cheap ass white bread, cheaper the better
2 pieces bologna or hot dog (sliced real thin)
1 Tablespoon Miracle Whip

Ok, kidding aside:
Thanks for all the kind words and thought over the last week or so, I really appreciate it. I would answer each comment but I don't have the energy right now and I am heading to Rome tomorrow and trying to get a week ahead at work (impossible).
I never made it that far south when I was stationed in Germany, some small shield/storm thing got in the way of my traveling time. I think I only have 1 day where I don't have something scheduled. I have to pay for internet access at the hotel so I can do work (the joy of salary and caring) so I will probably post some pictures and such.
I still have to pack but I have most of my stuff laid out and ready for the bag. I'm always a little anxious about traveling overseas and being away from all my preps and plans but I'm only here once and have to enjoy  myself.