Thursday, September 29, 2011

Operation woof!

I was on top of my rig this strapping down some gear for the trip tomorrow night, had the gate open waiting for roto rooter to come clean out the roots in the drain line (see, old houses are so much fun!). I noticed 2 dogs coming up the block, but didn't see anyone with them and they looked very happy to be roaming free. I hopped down and went to the gate and the labradoodle started barking up a storm and backing up into the street. Crap. Everyone that drove by went real slow for once, but of course no one stopped to help. The other dog was a bulldog and came storming into the yard sniffing and huffing and.. well British like. The doodle charged in behind it and I closed the gate hoping the dogs were friendly enough for the rescue to be completed.

The family who owned the dogs had just gotten the bulldog from the pound (that's why he wasn't scared of me, he had just been busted out of dog prison) and were very worried when I called their number (and this is why collars and readable tags are a must) but couldn't be here for an hour. They 1/2 mile away so I told them not to panic, the dogs were enjoying the grass and all the dog toys in the yard. My boys were not pleased to be in the house, not one bit. I just couldn't handle 4 dogs in case they didn't get along.

The rooter guy came and left. I managed to keep the rescue dogs out of the basement and the owners came and were really happy with what I had done for them. They couldn't figure out how they got out of the fenced yard so I suggested they lock the gates even if it turns out to be a pain in the ass, you can be sure no one will walk by and open it. Securing your gates is one step closer to having a more secure house.

The dogs got snacks, lot's of grass to play in, pets and scratches, big water drinks (even from the hose!) and they were safely back home after a big adventure. This was probably the 8th rescue operation this year, all with happy endings. Be kind and do unto others seems to still be working out well for me. Loads of good karma before the road trip can't hurt.

Victory lap and some fall colors.

Last night was the end of my 30 day challenge. The miles added up to running from Colorado Springs to Laramie, Wyoming. Yesterday I was exhausted and dreading the last run, but since I knew it would break 200 I decided to make it a victory lap and put my camera in my hydration pack. This was amazing since the camera really didn't fit in well, and I don't like having all that weight with me when running.

I knew the colors would be awesome, I'd been running up there the last few days and wanted to get some shots before I left town for a few days. I'm giving myself some time off, it's hard for me to run and camp for 5 days although I would love to run in the Silverton and Durango area with 14'ers all awaiting my feet. I feel amazing right now, it's nice to hit a goal that was realistically unobtainable for the most part.
Someone asked about using one of my pictures and I really don't mind, it's just a hobby. I can always send you the high resolution file if you so desire.

Smooth portion of the trail with leaf covered toe catchers.

Aspens love the water and follow it for miles.

The trail follows water for the whole 2 hour loop, like this.

No filter on the camera, electric yellow!

Same spot as kilt picture was taken a few posts ago, looking down.

High altitude training, I love running under them.

2nd one swooping around

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Busy busy! Go have fun!

I'm trying to get all kinds of projects wrapped up at work so I don't have any issues while I'm away next week. It's a typical daily struggle of me vs. hourly employee's who don't understand what "pull all of the weeds from these rocks" means. It looks like I'll have everything finished today with a manufacturer inspection tomorrow, perfect timing.

I visited a friend of mine in Boulder and saw her presentation about how she recovered from epilepsy to become one of the top ultra runners in the world. I wish they would update her bio online, it's pretty old and doesn't have the last 4 or 5 years listed. She was, as always, very inspiring to me and really helped me refocus on what I am doing in many aspects of my life. Intent to find more of my inner beast I went out running on a loop that I've never been able to finish in under 2 hours 5 minutes and absolutely killed it at 1 hour 59 minutes. I almost threw up at the end but I left everything on the trail and was thrilled I didn't actually barf all over, the parking lot was filled with people and I wasn't up to give them a show.

It was bowling night too, about 20 of us from work showed up. We had a blast and I let my guard down and was determined to just have some fun and enjoy the moment. I even wore these (in disco short version, hard to bowl in pants) to lighten up the mood some:
I bowled a 130 or something, then a 92. But on the other lane I was bowling I got a 140. I was using a 6 pound ball working on my spin and disco moves in 2 lanes at once. I got home and my old neighbor was there, he is going with us this weekend for a 4 day mountain excursion. While we chatted I inhaled about 2000 calories so I would have some energy today.
Not only did I give it my all and had fun today, but I then got the pleasure of not sleeping all night while my body bitched about what I had done to it. Oh the joy's of being me.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

UFC 135 yummy stuff

I invited a dozen or so people to the house for UFC fight night. I made some spaghetti since that's easy to do in large batches and the sauce is make and forget. I had my neighbors daughter over and did some instructing on the spaghetti sauce as well as the goodies below.
Low fat blueberry cheesecake with coconut crust
1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 C shredded coconut, 1/2 C butter, 1/4 C sugar. It's not a coconut overload, just adds a nice flavor combination most people appreciate more than plain.
Mix and layer a spring pan on the bottom (you can make sides as well if you make more crust mix, but this is a low calorie version). Be sure to wrap the entire bottom and sides with foil so it doesn't drip in your oven if you don't cook it over water.
12 Oz. ricotta cheese, 2 boxes of 8 ounce low fat cream cheese, 3 eggs, 2 Tbs lemon zest, 6 Tbs butter, 3/4 C sugar. 350 degree about an hour.
While that's cooking make some pie dough for a blackberry pie (why not!). 1 1/2 C flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 C shortening per crust (I like the crust thicker than most, some people can get 2 crusts out of 1 batch of ingredients). I tossed it in the fridge until I was ready to use it.
 Cheesecake is done! If you don't want cracks then cook it over a pan of water. I was covering it with topping so I didn't care that it cracked.
Blueberry topping is about 4 cups of blueberries, 2 Tbs. sugar, 1/2 C lemon juice. Slow cook it real thick. Make sure it's cold before you put it on the cheesecake and it looks like this:
Finished product once you remove the spring pan sides. I kept it in the fridge until it was time to eat. Only lost a few berries once the sides were removed, but as you can see I had plenty of forks for the those.
Blackberry pie is a 2 crust pie (for this one). Filling is 3 C blackberries, 5 Tbs. sugar, 2 Tbs. lemon juice, 3 Tbs. corn starch, 1 Tbs. butter. Cook it until it starts to thicken, remove from heat and get your crust in the pan. Add filling, put top crust on cook at 400 for 45 minutes.
You can reduce the sugar in the blackberry pie if you desire, this way I think is just right. If you don't want your pie edges to darken cover them with foil at about 25 minutes. I thought it was perfect at 45 minutes.

Everyone left, the place is clean and I managed to get rid of almost everything I made. Time for some sleep.

Friday, September 23, 2011

How not to buy food

I went to REI to pick up some of the mountain house pro-pak food packs. I want to take some on the upcoming camping trip and test them out, and the pro-pak's don't take up much room since all the air has been taken out of the package. I figured I would spend about 80 bucks and get a bunch of stuff to sample for future trips. I was going to get more than I need in case something really sucked I would have a backup plan.

I stared at the shelf full of food packages, looked at other brands, checked nutrition information, etc. Suddenly, off in the distance I saw something shiny so I ran over (that's the real reason I run right) like a raccoon to a trash can.

I am now the proud owner of a new North Face soft shell with hood. Sometimes I don't even understand myself, but I wanted it and 80% needed it. I wasn't buying the food for storage and I'll just go pick some up in the next few days. I have a few heavy duty winter jacket, a climbing jacket shell, sub zero running jackets, wind breakers, etc. This fills a slot and if I ever have to I suppose I can eat it.

I amaze myself at times. I'll post up a review of the jacket just in case anyone likes this kind of thing. I also saw about 8 business with help wanted or now hiring signs posted. Probably can't have medical Marijuana so there goes most of the city.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Movie trailers

One of the reasons I go see movies is to take a break from reality and just have a good time. Some make me think, laugh, cry (damn you old yeller) but mainly it's just a good escape. My tastes vary from indy films about the middle east to westerns to just good old fashioned ridiculous bullet frenzy movies. I always show up early to the movies so I can see trailers.

A group of oil-rig roughnecks are left stranded on the sub-arctic tundra after their plane experiences a complete mechanical failure and crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness. The survivors, battling mortal injuries, biting cold and ravenous hunger, are relentlessly hunted and pursued by a vicious pack of rogue wolves. Here is a link to the movie trailer.

Here are some other upcoming movies that look interesting to me, your mileage may vary.
Movie Info

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kitten sighting!

I got a lot of work done today so it was nice to get home and play with the dogs at the end of the day. They have been really restless for some reason the last week so I've been taking extra time to play wiggle worm or belly drums. You know, the cute games we play with our animals when nobody is around. We had a blast and it made me feel young again.

I realized it was getting later than I normally run so I grabbed my hydration pack and dropped my running gloves, hat and headlamp into it. The headlamp is a Black Diamond and has a remote battery pack so I don't have much weight on my head. It takes 4 AA's and has a 3 foot, 2 piece cord to the lamp that tucks into  some clips on the headband. It's my favorite running light and was a prototype from Black Diamond. I often carry 2 lamps so I can strap one on my hand for the really dangerous trails, and in case one does go out. If I let my eyes adjust I can walk out of about anything, but with 2 lights I can create shadows for depth perception. Tonight I only had to use it when running in the 2 railway tunnels they used to use for hauling out the gold from over the mountains in the early 1900's.
Meow baby!
Suddenly there was movement on the dirt road I had to run down. Movement is normal but this seemed large so I instantly stopped and spotted a bobcat. I said "holy shit aren't you a good looking cat" and we stared at each other for a few seconds. I walked backwards and it got into the middle of the road and I got a great look at it. It was amazing, not unlike this picture I found online, with more black on the tail and legs but a lot smaller.

After a few minutes the Bobcat wandered off the road down into a gulley and I hauled ass looking over my shoulder every few seconds. I've seen mountain lions, moose, bears, different kinds of rattlers and just about every other animal in Colorado but never a Bobcat. Cat's attack from behind when the prey is larger and while I wasn't scared or nervous I was still going to play it safe and keep looking while I moved away.

I was super excited and wish I had my camera but even a 6 ounce camera is heavy with each step and it's 80+ steps a minute for 90 minutes or more. Seeing a young Bobcat and checking it out for a few minutes was amazing. I'm glad I was paying attention or else I would have missed an extremely rare encounter (or possibly been attacked, never know).... I love living in Colorado Springs.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rise and shine. Always.

I stayed up way too late last night and had to get up way too early. I prefer and need a lot of sleep, but when it's time to get up I don't screw around. I was invited by Craig Hospital of Denver to an appreciation breakfast for donors. I normally don't go to these things, I prefer to just do things and see the good that comes from it, I don't need food or a ribbon. I did want to meet the new foundation president, so I got up and grabbed my get home bag and headed up.
A sunrise! Didn't know they still made those.
Looking West in the A.M.
Traffic sucked as usual but I arrived in time. I was the only person not in a suit and tie, dressing up is overrated. I think it's what you can do for an organization and not how expensive your attire is.
View from the hotel looking north to the concrete jungle.
I sat next to a gentleman who fell while rock climbing and is using Craig Hospital to learn to live again now that he is paralyzed from the waist down. We shared some climbing stories, including my horrific fall and breaks from a few years ago, but we never got around to how he actually got hurt/fell while he was climbing. He was another example for me to keep doing what I love to do, since there are people who wish they could but can't. He also didn't tell me to be careful or to stop climbing, he just told me to have fun. That's why I'm OCD about running and my other hobbies, I've met so many people who wish they could walk or talk or eat for me to sit on my ass.

Rise and shine in everything you do with purpose, passion and reason.

I swung by the Nike store and got some gloves, shirts and a pair of warmup pants. I love running in the freezing cold, the right gear helps. Once I got home I put together another rack and unloaded some boxes that came in today and went for a 2 hour run. My email is empty, all the people I emailed from the expo on Saturday must be making too much money to reply to my requests or send me the info they promised. My new rack has some space still and I was hoping to fill it with some long term stuff from a few new companies I checked out. I'll keep looking around.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Chicken" protein and food

I broke into some chicken flavored TVP (made from soy flour that has had the soy oil extracted. It is cooked under pressure, then extruded and dried.)that I have from Shelf Reliance. I wanted to make some rice and chicken for lunch yesterday but didn't have any chicken. I'm a glutton for protein and 1/4 cup of the TVP has 11 grams of protein. It smelled like bacon, so I kept checking the label to make sure I didn't actually grab the bacon... nope it still said chicken. It had the consistency of bacon bits , smelled like bacon bits and honestly tasted like bacon. To be fair I did rinse it a few times to reduce the sodium (520mg per 1/4 cup) so I'm sure I washed the taste away.
4 cups of rice, 1 cup of TVP and a little bit of hot sauce made a big bowl of lunch in 15 minutes. It didn't taste bad and it's cheaper than real chicken.

There are a lot of articles about food, calories, and eating in a long term SHTF situation. Everyone should try to figure out what type of nutritional requirements you and your family will need. Rice and beans will keep you alive but it won't keep you healthy. Most people I talk to have no idea what a body needs on a regular day, even those who are doing moderate exercise or going to the gym and playing with a little bit of weight.

My protein intake replaces what my body consumes while I'm running so I don't lose muscle mass and it helps me recover once I'm done running. Optimal for me would be 70% carbs, 30% protein. I'm eating 3500+ calories a day it's really hard to just get the calories in since I always feel guilty when I'm stuffing my face thinking back when I weighed around 265 pounds. I also worry a lot about my electrolyte level since I sweat a lot when I work out (so much when I wipe the sweat out of my eyes the salt crystals hurt), and of course there is staying hydrated. I'm fortunate I don't have health problems that I have to deal with or else I might go crazy trying to keep all this stuff together.

Here is my food so far today: 2 cups of cereal without milk, 1 banana, 2 blueberry pop tarts, 1/3 pound sirloin burger with the bottom half of the bun, 1 piece of cheese, 1/4 cup hummus, and about 2 cups of french fries and 80 ounces of water. Assortment of vitamins and of course my favorite candy Motrin. I'll have salmon and veggies for dinner. I feel like I'm going to explode but in 90 minutes when I go running it should be perfect. I'll have some cliff shot blocks before I head out for an extra kick. I'll drop about 1200 calories on the run and be starving when I get home. I'm very calorie deficient at the start of a week since I run harder and longer on the weekends.

Knowing what my body needs for easy, moderate and hard work lets me plan in advance. I plan my long term food storage the same way. If it's a SHTF I don't think I'll be running  but I'll probably be doing just the same amount of work (or more) so I want to plan to eat the best I can.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Good old Saturday fun!

Yawn.. Extra blanket got knocked on the floor last night, 58 degrees in the house and I was still hot. Early rise so I could roll up to Denver for the self preparedness expo, I was on a mission for a couple of things. The parking was $8 and the show was $9 and traffic didn't make me cuss too much so I was happy to walk around checking things out. A lot of good vendors were there (backwoods home magazine, simply canning, etc.) and it seemed every other booth was long term storage food with samples. Perhaps I'm the odd duck but I don't want samples, especially at 9:15 in the morning, but it ws nice to see what some of the stuff cooked up like that I haven't tried yet.

I was there about 2 hours and I picked up a large and medium paqlite, a sun oven and a handful of stuff to research later on. As I had hoped the sun oven was a nice show special and that was worth the drive itself. The paqlites were really neat and I will use them later this month on my camping trip (once I trim up the pokey edges of the plastic). I also found a company selling silver coins and they had a real nice looking one with the USS Constitution (old ironsides) on it. I didn't buy it as a hedge against inflation, as a barter tool, or to cook up in a lab for medicinal purposes. I got it since the salesperson was very friendly and I just liked the way it looked. I figure I spend money on crap all the time so it was kind of a treat to just buy something 'because'.
I'm not into $200 grab and go buckets, I make my own. I did find some different vendors for stuff that will save me some money in case I run into another shiny metal object. Your opinions and mileage may vary on the links above but I wanted to make it easy in case anyone wanted to check the stuff out.
View of Pikes Peak on the drive back home. I love this time of year.
I got home and 15 minutes later I was running with my friend and new running partner. She has done great so I gave her tomorrow off and I heading out for more miles when she was done. I set up a 30 day challenge for myself and today was day 20. I just hit 124 miles so I think I can break 200 miles if I keep pushing hard and my body doesn't protest too much. I just passed 1200 miles for the year and should hit my goal of 1500. I slacked in May/June and I have to make up for it by inflicting pain and suffering on myself, but I do love it.

Time to watch some College football then eat about 4 pounds of salmon and rice. Gluttony!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Disaster or how to make me cuss a lot

It rained again all day yesterday and most of the night. Big downpours on an already super saturated ground. I've done a lot of work on drainage around my place, but since the basement was hand dug it wasn't surrounded by a 'french drain' system. I used to get massive waterfalls down the basement stairs, but it hasn't seen any water in about 2 years after I changed some things.
Of course last night was the exception, 10 inches of water or more in 48 hours and there was some water on the stairs. It's a concern but I have a basement drain and I'm going to fix it when I fix some of the basement walls that are cracked. Hand dug basements have some issues when the dirt flexes and pushes on the concrete (or red brick in my old ass house). Just don't wear socks down the stairs for a few hours.

The real emergency happened when my phone was blowing up this morning while I was in the shower singing along to 'me and you and a dog named boo'. The phones at work are down and of course nobody knows how to dial a phone but me to get something fixed. That's ok, I love my job and I am employed but when 6 people in the same office all call me one after the other (and they sit next to each other) it really can chap my ass. An hour later my weekly meeting started with all 7 people asking me if I knew the phones were out (they are all sitting at the same table). I told them I was late since I was making a phone call to have someone dispatched, I understand it's business and we need the phones, I didn't sabotage it and would prefer if things just worked right all of the time. You know, it's not my fault, it's going to get fixed, get your big boy pants on and understand it from my point of view.

Bleh. My eggs got cold and now I'm really craving something from the vending machine. Tomorrow I'm heading to Denver for the Self Reliance Expo and I'll be home running in 6 hours. I haven't sworn at anyone or about anything in 10 minutes, must be getting calmer around here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Practice morning

I went to bed early last night. I took my friend running and it was raining out but I just figured it would let up and stop like normal... FAIL! I think I had 2 inches of water in my pants when I got home. I love running in the rain, I hate starting to run in the rain. I got home and was soaked and cold so I took a shower and added blankets on the bed and was sleeping. I don't sleep well, my head is jacked up, but once in a while I can manage more than 4 hours a night. If I'm out of town I sleep like a cat.

So I woke up this morning, quick shower, got dressed and went to shave and the damn bulb was out in the bathroom.. all 4 of them. That's odd... oh ha, the power is out.
5 inches or more of rain at the house and as you may know my house is old and sits on the oldest power grid in the city. I ran through my mental checklist for when I come home;
Water heater: don't expect hot water, heat water on coleman stove. Fridge: don't open it, get ice on the way home for the cooler. Wine Fridge: who cares but a nice red goes great with emergency food! Alarm System: battery backup working. Lights: candles, flashlights, matches in place

The list for a longer than 12 hour outage is more intense since then I have to worry about the freezer. Nothing to it, normal day so I headed to Starbucks. Yes, I like Starbucks green tea, I'm a communist. After dodging drivers at the various red (well not red) lights and getting my road rage practice I arrive and proclaim that I win! Pumpkin Spice Latte this morning, it's that time of year for the flavors of the season so I figured why not.

People at work are late (my clock didn't work), didn't shower (it was too dark in the bathroom), etc. People are talking about what will happen if it doesn't come back on soon and I casually mention something about 'what if it never comes back on'. No one appreciates me sometimes.

The only worry I had about a long term power outage was heat. I have a lot of propane and 2 heaters but it's hard to say how long that would last. I know all the tricks of staying warm and such but it's still a small concern. I've been debating changing my gas stove to wood and since I'm concerned I think I'll look into it. Just need a new stove and extend the stovepipe another 35 feet up over the house.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hooray for small steps!

My dog sitter neighbor friend called me up and asked to help her buy some running shoes. She knows to actually do it the right way as much as she has heard me talking about correct tools for the job. In this case we went to one of the local running stores (the only one I will buy from) and got her fitted for some shoes. I even got her to pick up a pair of socks since she normally only wears the 12 pack cotton ones from Walmart and those should be outlawed. Seriously.
She did push the line when she needed a sports bra, I can only help so much and that's out of my realm of knowledge. I wouldn't ask her to help me pick out thongs (just an example for you visual type folks).

In 2 weeks she has started to learn about preparedness and has made a commitment to getting in better shape and being healthier. I'm glad I was able to help, no one has ever taken me up on my offer to get them running. Sure, the mile took us 18 minutes to run/walk but she did it and I couldn't be happier to see someone making the effort. She was very happy to see the car at the end of the run and I headed off to finish another hour or so. I'm really worn out right now but my running day off isn't until tomorrow so I have to push through my mental block and nail a 2 hour run tonight.

So hooray for someone taking small steps to a better self. I'm very proud of her.
I run by this kind of scenery daily. I'm spoiled.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The up's and down of people at work

Here at work...

One person just decides they don't feel like working here and quits. They have nothing lined up, no savings, and thinks they will just get hired somewhere no problem. I guess they don't get the news on the X-box. Lazy.
One person gets scheduled for a 3 day weekend, texts in sick yesterday (yes, texts, something we don't accept as a form of business communication for these types of things). Won't answer the phone when we call and doesn't call in as required. This morning they extend to a 5 day weekend and don't call or even text. Now the 3 day weekend has turned into termination when all it would have taken was a phone call and we would have put them on vacation since they actually had vacation days available and doesn't understand why they don't have a job. Lazy.
One person: Who knows, just showed up with uniforms and said they didn't like being told what to do all day long. Lazy.

I know that it's only around 1800-2000 a month and full benefits after 90 days (including the company paying for 80% of your monthly health care premium) but it's hard work. You are on your feet all day and have to wash cars. Not assembly line stuff and it's not too fast paced, but I understand it's hard, and sometimes you might break a sweat.

One a positive note I met with a good friend of mine yesterday who is sponsored by The North Face and I got 6 pair of ski socks, just in time for the seasons to change and to keep feet warm and dry! I don't ski but I'm often out in the mountains in deep snow so they should work out great. I also got a new running shirt that I broke in last night and I already decided it's my favorite shirt, it's a great design. In return I provide feedback from an average person point of view. Plus I get to swap out my Nike running gear slowly so when we run the peak together I look like a pro (well besides sucking wind and can't keep up with her). I would have to say she is the kindest, friendliest and selfless person I have ever had the pleasure to befriend.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another day in paradise

Much better view in person, I love the mountains.
I got a nice early alarm clock phone call this morning. At least I'm employed and have a job I love... that's what I always tell myself when I'm pissed off for having to get up at 5am. I'm not an early riser but when it's time to get up I don't have any problem with it, I just prefer to do it on my schedule. The sunrise was nice and I snapped the above picture on the way to work. It was a nice cool morning that reminded me I need to keep the gutters and rain barrel screens cleaned since the leaves are starting to depart the branches.

I put in a few orders this morning on some food for long term storage. Combined with what I picked up at Costco yesterday I added around another 60 days of food. I need to get some more water containers so I'll see what I can dig up on sale at the various places in town. Albertson's grocery store has gallon containers of water for $1 that are re-useable with screw on caps (not those crappy slap back on ones). Those are my normal buy, but I'm going to see if anyone has the 5 gallon cube containers on sale at Sportsman's, Dicks, or Walmart. I just don't want to depend on rain alone in a SHTF scenario since we can go for weeks without rain, it's a high desert climate.

I also need to find a better pin for my AK or  gunsmith to design me one with a c-clip, damn trigger pin keeps sliding out when rocking on the trigger and it's pumpkin killing season!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I hope your day was good too!

Not only did I mow the lawn and give the grass a drink before 10am, but I went to the in-laws to help break down some boxes and get all the pods empty so they can be picked up. They must have purchased about 100 of the nice thick moving blankets and since they don't have use for them now, I will get about 20 of them. Perfect for laying on the tent floor, on the seats for the dogs, covering windows, and of course moving (but I'm planning to die in this house). What a good score.

I went to Costco and played bumper carts with everyone while they were trying to get free samples. They have the best prices on Blue and Green Machine drink. I made it out under $150 so I consider that a victory in itself.

The I decided to punish myself on another grueling trail run. Not only is this one hard as hell going up, it's twice as bad going down since you often have to find the trail at the top. It's washed out, rock covered and some spots you have to use all 4's to get down. The first 2.5 miles are an elevation gain of 1400 feet, then that's followed by 2 miles of loose dirt, rocks and boulders adding another 800 feet. Then you plummet down 2200 feet in the last 2.5 miles with huge ledges and scree slopes. I took 6 minutes off my best time.
Yes, there is a trail there and a city in the distance.
I also decided to wear something longer than my little track shorts so the branches would cut me up a little less. I don't understand why people were staring, it's not really a dress.
Hiking kilt made out of high quality wick-away material
It was getting dark and I rolled my left ankle so hard that my ankle bone hit the dirt. Lucky for me I sprained it really bad the same time I broke my right ankle, foot and leg on a 30 foot rock climbing fall. Now I get to roll either ankle all the way over and just giggle about it instead of having to get search and rescue. I'm not sure that makes up for the break but I'm still rock climbing and running so I guess it was just a lesson learned. 2 hours later it's still fine so I wont even ice it.

Always remember, each day.

I am treating today the same as any other day in my life. I always remember 9-11-2001, just the same as I remember the first gulf war, the space shuttle explosion, the attempted assassination attempt on Reagan, the uni-bomber, my friend getting medevaced and trying to help him lead a normal life again, my father passing away, my first marathon, etc.
I refuse to live my life being scared that something could happen, since each day shows everyone just how many things do happen. Always remember the things that shaped the family, the country, yourself. If you simply 'don't forget' sometimes we tend to easily forget to remember the things that impacted and changed us the most.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Great day of different

I went to a fundraiser for the leukemia and lymphoma society today. A nice BBQ with some various activities to help rise funds like a bake sale, pie throwing contest, etc. The Colorado College hockey team and girls soccer team showed up and suddenly it was pie city. It was exciting to watch about 30 different people all trying to smash a plate of whipped cream in each others faces and just generally having a great time without a care in the world at that moment.
I had a great time, it's nice to just kick back and nothing for a while.
I was on zero energy so I ate 2 big mac's (I know, but calories are sometimes just that) and came home and got some projects done. Got the new shelf installed in the food storage area and moved some things around that really don't need to be on shelves and can be stacked, etc. Just sort of made some room and wrote down some things I would like to put in stock.

Went for a run I didn't want to go on and had the best total time for the mileage I've ever done. I wasn't fueled properly at all and was a little dehydrated but I pushed past and just really killed it. I had to dodge 3 different vehicles on a portion of the run that were driving too fast into the sun from a shady area. If I didn't literally jump off the side of the dirt road all 3 of them would have hit me. Only one even realized it and said sorry, I guess ignorance is really bliss.
I pride myself on paying attention and when running it's twice as important. Not only do you have to pay attention to your breathing, foot placement, terrain, etc. but in my area you have to listen for bikes, cars, dogs, deer, bear, people and more. You also have to stop and tell people several times a week that there isn't any shooting in city limits and they are shooting in a park with a minimum fine of $400 and I don't appreciate them shooting over my head anyhow.

Have to go pick up some groceries but it's been a great Saturday with the promise of an even better Sunday.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Contagion review (no spoilers)

A movie like this can be really scary if you think too much during and after but perhaps it will cause some people to think just enough. No spoilers and if you have seen the previews then you will have seen anything I might mention.

I liked that the movie didn't really have 1 main character the entire time, there was some focus on just about everyone and without flashbacks or 10 different viewpoints. This prevented me from getting too focused on 1 person and let me really enjoy the movie. I know it's a movie and I just go to be entertained so I don't expect much more than that.

I don't think really got it right when you have a massive epidemic as far as food looting, riots and panic in a SHTF scenario. Everyone seemed way too calm and I think in reality (from what I have seen overseas when basic services shutdown and there isn't any food) it would be a disaster. Perhaps they didn't want to frighten people too much and were focusing on the actual epidemic so I will cut them some slack for that since that could be a long movie in itself.. I really liked the movie and am going to see it again on Sunday with some other friends. I would highly recommend watching it.

Here are some things I thought about after the movie:
1. I don't have enough food (was just a thought, I have a lot but after the movie
2. The government is here to help once they help themselves
3. If this were a real event it would cause complete anarchy in a matter of about 10 days
4. Having a shotgun next to your glass front door while you are elsewhere is ridiculous
5. My phobia for airports, buses and handrails is into overdrive. Watching a sick person in the movie touch a railing after he coughed on his hand gave me the shivers. I've seen that happen plenty of times.
6. The "defection" rate of the military and law enforcement would be huge

Go see it, eat some over salted popcorn (I mean wow) and sneak your snacks in like usual.

Movie night: Contagion

A lot of junk at the movies lately, but I've been waiting for this one for a few months. I try not to watch the previews once I decide I want to see a new film, and I don't read reviews. Nothing like ruining a movie when you are watching TV and a new trailer pops up that gives away more of the movie.

NBC attacks (nuke, bio, chem) are hard to prep for since it's not like a power outage or financial system collapse. You have to have the right suits, masks, gear, etc. and have a lot of it PLUS all the normal preps. You could of course just seal your house in plastic and die in your newly created bubble.

Movie night is fun and I am looking forward to getting out of the house for a few hours and not running up in the hills. I also got a $25k issue fixed at work that really wasn't my fault but somehow got dumped on me. I actually got worried that it was my fault for a little while but I keep emails for a long time. My spirits were a little down until I figured out it wasn't my fault and got the problem handled.

My Pikes Peak run got cancelled for Sunday, it's going to be warmer that I am comfortable with for a long, fun run. I'll do something around the house and get some things knocked off my to-do list instead. I will probably head to Costco and get some more rice and beans and use up the rest of my mylar bags so I can put in a new order. I think I'll make some chili and can a few quarts.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New and old neighbors

Someone I work with who happens to be a LMI said he finally is living on this side of town. I asked where exactly and we pulled up a map. He now lives about 1/4 mile away, kind of nice having someone else around the neighborhood that doesn't have blinders on. He has always been a nice guy and has the skills, training and background so we agree'd to have some BBQ's. From what I know of his family they are all mormon's I'm just not sure how involved he is with it. He is going to head up to the self reliance expo next week in Denver and hopefully give me a scouting report.

One of my good friends who lives a few houses up and house/dog sits for me had a little BBQ tonight. She had One Second After on the table and was telling me what a good book it was and that she ordered Patriots. The bad thing is she spent money on something I have laying around. The good is that she also got a book on family preparedness for dummies so there is now someone else with eyes opening. She always loves to stay here since I have cable TV and a seemingly endless supply of pop tarts. I love having them stay here so I don't worry about anything while I'm across the globe doing whatever.

The in-laws got the furniture in today, to be unloaded tomorrow so they are really excited to be able to get some rest in a few days. Whirlwind selling, buying and moving from California back to Colorado Springs after being gone 7 years is hard. Mother in-law borrowed One Second After from the neighbor and didn't flinch when I told her we will go to Costco once she is done reading it. The in-laws were both depression era kids and while they are not stockpiled on anything currently they always have plenty of stuff around. I'm really happy that they will get more things, I just don't have the room for another family worth of food and water (and all the other things).

I'm very lucky to have people like this in close proximity and it just all sort of came together. I honestly never thought I would be doing anything that people would want to learn from or even care about so it's kind of nice. Even if it's something simple like helping each other with our gardens, it's still helping build our little community for the times we will have to rely on each other only.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2 years of culinary arts

...pays off until you forget one damn ingredient like eggs. There went my plan to make some apple wheat bread. I actually have about 2 dozen eggs, however the expiration date is facing away from me so I didn't realize they were pretty old. I obviously don't use many eggs but now that it's cooler I get to crank up the oven all the time and still live with myself when it's time for bed. That means a lot of quick breads for the freezer and who can resist a good quick bread?

Since the house is way old (1880's) it stays nice and cool all summer long, until you leave the door open or turn on the oven. Reverse in the winter, it's nice and toasty until you have to let the dogs in and out a lot, then it takes forever to get back up to temperature. Hot water base-board heat and a gas fireplace for backup (not for looks, one that can drive you out) but I just don't want to install any kind of A/C since it's a huge power waste. I've managed to drop my utility bill $250 last year and should do about the same for this one, hopefully more next year as long as the rain barrels refill once in a while.

I don't like forced air systems and if the power goes out I still have 2 forms of heat and if the gas goes out I have backup propane systems that will suffice just fine. I think I was smart to rely on gas instead of electricity, but I wish I had opted for wood instead of the gas fireplace but at the time it seemed like the right decision and I don't regret it.

I skipped half of 1st grade and my last 2 years in high school I went to college for half the day and took culinary arts and hotel restaurant management. When I enlisted I didn't want to be a cook, anyone can cook if they try, I wanted to be a chef but didn't see it on the choices I could pick from. Since my Dad had to sign my age waiver he told me to pick something that was useful. Where was the damn chef option.

How hard could being a chef really be?

oh ya, I ran out of eggs and I obviously had apples.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fall is here and so are some packages.

I have worn myself physically thin the last few weeks and I forgot I had some stuff arriving so I was surprised and happy when I got the call for some packages. I like to order stuff, I'm a junkie.

3 more IV kits for my 2nd trauma bag, some Lidocaine Hydrochloride Jelly tubes, 2 snake bite kits, some more water-jel burn dressing, etc. I forgot to order some suture kits but they are on my list for next order day.

26 #10 cans of various long term storage items like instant milk, butter powder, flavored vegetable protein, etc. I had to swing by Home Depot after work to get another rack. I realized the one in my office is too valuable as a catch all for my diving gear, photography gear, rock climbing gear, etc. I got a small metal rack but happen to have the longer shelves so I will expand it instead of paying the extra $35 for the next size up.

Backwoods Home Magazine showed up too! The first one I looked at had an article on Wash Day talking about a wringer washer and hanging clothes up to dry. The next article was about a survival storeroom. I guess all those kids in school were right, I was raised in the backwoods since the first 2 things I read about is exactly how I grew up. That old wringer washer did the trick, but if you tried to ring out blue jeans and didn't pull one leg up so the cuffs were uneven the wringer would get stuck and make a horrible racket. My Dad hated when I did that, but every once in a while I wouldn't pay attention when doing laundry.

My water barrels are full again, the grass is happy it's raining and I had a really good run tonight. Fall reminds me how easy I have it now compared to growing up. Fall is when we would move the outhouse, finish stacking all the wood we cut and split for the winter, winterize the well pump house and get ready for hunting season. I never saw one animal in the woods in all my years hunting but I enjoyed walking all day learning stuff from Dad, or just sitting in silence enjoying nature at it's best.

Concealed carry, is it just so difficult?

"Witnesses said a man pulled up outside the IHOP in a blue minivan. He had a rifle and shot a man on a motorcycle, then walked inside the restaurant and started shooting, said Ralph Swagler, owner of Locals Barbecue in the same strip mall as the IHOP.
Swagler told the Reno Journal-Gazette that after several minutes, the man walked outside and began firing into the Locals Barbecue and an H&R Block in the strip mall."

I've read a bunch of reports that say the shooter was wounded, so maybe there is a glimmer of hope that someone actually defended themselves, details aren't clear. I remember my Dad telling me to fight back, no matter if it was with a gun, a knife or even the nearest chair. Don't stand in line while the shooter goes from person to person, do whatever it takes to try and survive. You might get hurt or die, but chances are you were going to anyhow so make the effort and perhaps you can change the outcome.

Someone could have at least tossed the pot of acidic stomach rotting IHOP coffee on him. Honestly the guy should have been shot dead as soon as he walked in the door, he already had started his offensive action. I would have been drawn down on the door waiting had I been in the situation. I wasn't and can only say what I think I would have done but I don't have a brand on my ass and I refuse to be cattle.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Back to Basics Apple Peeler review

I'm not generally lazy and looking for the easy way, but I've been debating an apple peeler for a while. Why not, if it's easier and hand operated I can improve my efficiency... I talked myself into it! I hustled some research but had trouble finding what I wanted until I went to my favorite odd item store.
Ace Hardware, $30 with tax
After some adjusting I got started but was saddened it wasn't getting more of the peel off. I didn't want to do it with a regular peeler and I didn't want it to take actual apple off just the peel.
Annoying, time to adjust some more.
There we go, just the ends to manage now.
After some adjusting, it took about 3 seconds and the apple was bare. I had an assembly line going with the corer/slicer while my canning equipment was warming up. The peeler has a slicer at the end so you can make slices but you still will have to core the stack of slices.
Portion of finished apples
There was a little bit of peel on the ends and in a few spots from the initial attempts but I don't mind a little bit of peel. I saved about 45 minutes and my hands are thankful I made this great investment. Another model of this peeler has a clamp-type attachment instead of a suction base. My water bath timer is about ready to ding and I'm going to need more shelves in the pantry.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pushing my endurance limit

First: how could Oregon look like a high school team after being so awesome last year. I owe someone a can of bread...  Made some split pea and ham soup yesterday while taking care of house chores. It was pretty amazing stuff and it will be nice this winter when I can just get some from the pantry. It was breezy and cool, perfect for cooking and cleaning.
I had to make something for the pot luck tonight. I happened to have about 5 pounds of apples so I made a crumb pie and am bringing tri-tip as well. I'm so hungry while I write this I might just help myself. I will can the rest of the apples tomorrow evening.
Today was Pikes Peak day... up top it was 34 degrees, wind chill of 22, and I felt over dressed. The top the trail has a lot of run-off so it was a little dangerous slipping on the ice but you have to go slow there anyhow with large rocks to climb around/over. I brow beat 2 friends to run with me and while they may never speak to me again but we had a good time and they finished something they didn't think they could ever do. I'll send them some motrin and ice packs.
8am and me without my kilt. Opted for track shorts, sounded fast.
265 pounds 2 years ago, I'll take this screwing around photo and frame it.
Colorado Springs. My car is down there, 15 miles or so.
The last few miles of the trail intersects with a popular hiking spot, the Incline. Once you hit this spot, you are surrounded by people who don't get out of the way, are wearing headphones, or yes... smoking. I had a blister that I had to stop and take care and my anti-social personality was starting to make an appearance. I'm patient but with the holiday weekend I felt like I was herding sheep.

There were times when I wanted to slow down or stop but I just kept telling myself to push through and be mentally tough. When I finally looked at my watch when I stopped at the car I was really excited. I dropped 17 minutes off my record time, didn't run out of water and felt like a million bucks. I also smelled really bad but knowing it was from hard work and pushing myself... well who am I to complain. I have been working really hard the last month on my running, it's paying off like all hard work does. 6 days running this past week, 50 miles completed and tomorrow is my no running day so I'm going to volunteer at a marathon and surround myself with people who are better so I can stay motivated.
Since I'm a nice guy I drove up and picked up my friends, since they were in no shape to finish the last couple of miles to the car.

Friday, September 2, 2011

My companion, my friend. Friday.

Extra special Friday since it starts a holiday weekend and everyone got paid 4 days early. A nice boost to morale at work when a long weekend starts with money. I imagine most will be broke by Wednesday, I really don't know how people survive the rest of a pay period without money. I do understand when it's tight and you are struggling to get by, but when I have people complain they don't have gas money and yet they have a new tattoo or stripper "lady friend"... sigh. Business was great so I'm expecting a nice sized bonus I can put into supplies or lap dances and champagne for all!

60 days until I head to Rome. I'm really excited... as in bounce around the house excited. Hard to stay focused, I have tons of fun things to do before the end of the year. I also found out I am running Pikes Peak next weekend too, going to be a monster mileage month and I'm worn out from August still. Vegas, Ouray, Rome, Pikes Peak... the fun never ends and that's how it should be.

I figure in a TEOTWAWKI scenario my goal is to outlast the majority for a year or 2, and that's how I approach my food/water storage and equipment storage. The longer situation is going to be so up in the air that (IMHO) it's really hard to plan for unless you plan for everything and I just can't do that. Keeping that mindset, I'm researching solar ovens in case anyone has some input. I only know of one blogger who uses one all the time (bigbear) and it seems like a good item to have. In a bad situation there is only so much I can do with propane when getting a refill would either be impossible or not prudent. I've tried to keep my food stores 80% edible without having to cook anything but being able to heat water and cook via the sun would be perfect (without a large solar array).

I'm going to hold off buying one until the expo in Denver in a few weeks, in case I see something there or someone has a show special.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Interesting BBC Article


The part about "even if they haven't been charged with a crime" is what worries me. Call me silly but I still believe innocent until proven guilty.

National prepardeness month


I know it's fall when someone at home keeps closing the windows when I go to sleep so they don't get cold. I can't wear less than naked sleeping on the bed with no covers so perhaps they should wear more, it's easy to dress to be warmer... but what do I know. I used to never get cold but I lost  85 pounds and had to actually buy winter pants since the shorts were no longer making the grade. I also can't find my favorite battery pack headlamp along with half of my cold weather running gear. Must be in storage.

Be Ready, be Prepared! FEMA want's everyone to sign up and be a National Preparedness Month Coalition Member. I did it as I believe the government has the best intentions and will be there when I need them: 
Here are the listed benefits:
  • Countless suggestions and ideas for activities and events
  • Ready-to-use templates and messaging, including posters, web banners, press releases, articles, Facebook Status Updates and Tweets for Twitter, plus more!  We even have materials that you can customize.
  • A calendar for you to post your event and see what else is happening around the country
  • Tracking software installed on your computer just in case a disaster strikes
  • Your very own pushpin on the FEMA Food Hoarder Map
  • Participation in local preparedness events and activities in your community
  • Free photo opportunities and updates on your DoHS file you might not have known existed
  • Access to resources and be able to collaborate with thousands of fellow members across the country on ways to participate and get your community involved.
  • An updated Obama 2012 Tatoo
  • Simple gun registration forms with a new and improved 'about my neighbor' section
  • "Feel Good" vibes and an American flag sticker proclaiming you are patriotic