Tuesday, January 31, 2012

U.S. Intel article

Interesting article can be found in whole here. Overloaded with work but doing well and wanted to linkt his article up.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Learning to eat, again

Since that ill fated moment so many years ago, when I dove into a pool and smashed my face on the bottom, I've had all kinds of dental work done. I thought the civilian dentist I had for many years did a great job, much better than the Army dentists.
How little I knew.
All the crowns I've had weren't really done correctly once they were in my mouth, they were not adjusted properly to let my jaw rest and close in a natural position. The dentist told me he was surprised I haven't busted all my lower teeth from all the banging going on. They spent an hour grinding and adjusting, and for the first time in around 20 years, when I close my mouth my back teeth actually hit.

I know, duh, they are supposed to do that. Last night was an experience trying to eat, I was actually the last one done with my dinner instead of the first. It's such a weird sensation when everything you knew about your mouth is different. I guess I finally get to chew my food correctly, bonus for my digestive system, but since it's so wired I really don't feel like eating.

I do want some pancakes and I have 460 servings of pancake mix with a shelf life of 10 years. I'll wait until I can enjoy my food a little more.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

One little headbutt

It's so hard to be a cute dog isn't it?

His head is not only large but hard as a rock, perhaps that's why I chose it for his name. The dentist said I wasn't the first person to get smashed in the face by a dog... and then I saw dollar signs rolling in his eyes like it was a vegas slot machine.

My family has a history of bad teeth and bad jaw bone density (maybe that's not the right word, maybe saying my jawbone is like a sponge is better). I have the best teeth in my family and if I didn't dive into that pool once when I was drunk, I wouldn't have any issues at all. But I did, and then Rock gave me a smack and now I will need another implant, the post that the crown is on came entirely out of my jaw unless the new adhesive will hold.

SHTF I wouldn't be able to get this kind of thing done obviously. Since I had a root canal done there wasn't any pain, just a hole and missing front tooth. Your body will fill in the hole but your teeth will shift and change your bite and all kinds of things but it's not a show stopper. I have a wonderful personality (no, I really do) so who needs a $10k smile when everything has gone in the dumps.Then again SHTF I don't want to have issues with my teeth so I try and be proactive but am a little behind.

I also like to be able to eat corn on the cob and smile without having to pop a chicklet in my mouth first. Today I am getting 2 fillings fixed that broke (news to me, everything feels fine) and then a cleaning on Monday. I know regular check-ups are important but I also don't go to the doctor unless something is broken or I can't fix what's wrong myself. I told the dentist to just let me know what we need to do, and I'll do it, don't lecture me... so far so good. New dentist, my old one retired, and he didn't even charge me for the crown/post work.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Your voice counts!

Lies and bullshit.

The state of politics, the state of the union, the state of everything is just about useless and disheartening as I can recall. Many blogs cover it better, I won't even try, but watching the President last night do a jig on TV really bothered me

I vote, I care, I act (write, email, call, petition, etc.). I get the same old, since what I think should be happening in any level of government isn't what the majority want. Even at local levels you couldn't get elected even for city council without the backing of developers and real estate people, so there isn't any reason for it to be different in the upper ranks of politics. With enough ass kissing and blowjobs any politician can get anything passed and that's simply not the way it was intended, but that's how politics has been for thousands of years. The back breaking American citizen who works his/her ass off just pays more and more into a system that supports the exact opposite of what they are working for in the first place.

I also prepare, practice, train and learn.
I would like to think the worst case scenario is that the people in my family inherit a lot of stuff sometime down the road. Right about now I'm feeling that could be the best case scenario instead.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What about credit card preps

I spent 4 hours yesterday labeling, sorting, moving, adjusting, organizing and sorting over all of the stuff I hadn't put away into storage in the last week or so. It wasn't 4 hours worth of stuff, but since things I buy have various expiration dates it makes it a pain. I would like the store I shop at to explain to me why an item I picked up 30 days ago has a longer expiration date than the one I got yesterday.
I know they are just lazy and don't FIFO in the warehouse but yet they do it on the shelves.... talk about lazy. I know to reach in the back of the shelf (well the back is relative since they only have a few of each thing, it's not stocked all the way back). The people who drag the inventory out on pallets (and block half the isle) are NOT the same people who stock the shelves. If they were the same people they would FIFO the warehouse goods, instead they unload the trucks and jam the X item pallet in front of the same X item pallet and use the new stuff first.

As usual I had a bunch of people over this weekend, meatloaf was a smashing success and making 3 pans at once was a breeze. We had a discussion about buying preps and using credit cards, one of them had read it was a bad thing to prep when you have debt so they said they wanted to wait. My view on this is why wait, it's a credit card and if SHTF then are you really going to care about debt, especially credit card debt? I buy everything on a credit card since I get cash rewards with it, and if something did happen I wouldn't give a damn about not paying the entire bill off like I do each month. If you pay the credit card bill to zero every 25 days (mine anyhow) then there isn't any interest charge and they pay me to use it.
Seriously, if SHTF would you rather have stuff like food or be debt free? I've read that my viewpoint isn't generally supported but I like to be a little odd. In fact, one could argue that the items you get on a credit card could be repo'd if you don't pay the bill.... true, very rare for anything but a large ticket item, but it could happen. Easy enough, buy with 1 card, transfer the balance to another card and all you have is a balance and not items that can be repo'd. Sure, the credit card company will call, send letters, turn you over to collections who will do the same, they can even try to garnish your wages if they actually take you to court... but SHTF, who cares, good luck trying to get mail or a phone call. Even if they got you in court, if you purchased food they won't take it back. You can always tell them you ate it.

I actually have 2 credit cards with zero balances just in case something happens in my life that is my own little SHTF. Those 2 with my regular credit card would get me by for 6 months or more and keep the house and utilities paid. Everyone has a different emergency plan... well some people don't have a plan at all actually. If I don't need to touch my own money for a while, then I won't, it's SHTF.

Regular life: I got a 2.5 hour run in on Saturday in some awesome weather without any shin pain, I'm super happy. I sort of lost on some new trails but they all filter into the main trail system so no worries. It's funny how when I turned around up on top of the mountain and ran back down I couldn't take the same path as I did on the way up, I need to put some marker tape so I know where to turn. It all looks the same and when you have no energy and are exhausted you tend to not make the right decisions all the time. Practice makes perfect so on Sunday I just ran down with a friend and STILL couldn't hit either of the trails from Saturday. If it was important or SHTF I would bring some marking tape or reflective game tacks, for now I had a blast jumping off rocks and over tree roots, slipping in the mud and ice and just generally acting like all was right in the world.

and wouldn't that be just amazing.

Friday, January 20, 2012

More stuff

I have a table that I use as a staging area for my preps. It's where I put all the stuff before it gets stored properly with expiration dates written, repackaged, etc.

This table is full. It's sort of funny how a few things here and there really add up after a week or more. When things go on sale and it saves me 30 cents per item, I tend to stock up. I know it makes my grocery bill higher but it's something I can handle and what a great feeling to have all of this food and other stuff. I often think it's ridiculous how much I have and debate just not buying anything else, but so far I haven't reached the point of feeling like I have enough in case something does happen. I've got about 30 cans of food, 12 #10 can of freeze dried food, various other items and things and my favorite spaghetti was on sale to help fill the rest of the table up.

Speaking of stuff, my shin splints felt pretty good the last 2 days of easy running, tomorrow will be a good test on a 3 hour run. If all goes well I'm going to take back the 2 pairs of shoes I got on sale, it's the only thing I can think of that would have caused me to have an issue. It's too bad, I love those damn shoes but it wasn't a 2 way relationship. I'm just happy to be running relatively pain free (something always hurts) and getting back on track for my training. I'm still ahead of schedule by 3 weeks. I feel like I haven't run at all, sticking to a training program that starts out slow sucks. I suppose as long as I'm working on improving my health I can manage the crap associated with it.

Almost time to head home and get dinner together for a dozen people. The house was clean but the melting snow turned into mud that magically got onto paws. I hate house cleaning.

Monday, January 16, 2012

$4 or less Meatloaf

We had a great little birthday party, reminding someone that 40 is just a number and no one gives a crap. I was very helpful and didn't care if we were late, forgot something, etc. It wasn't my day so I took one day off from being a pest.
The real birthday was yesterday so we all loaded up in the rigs for a little snow wheeling and just a generic get out of town day. The trail had some snow and ice in places but we still had a great day of wheeling. I had mother in-law with me most of the ride since my vehicle is a hard top (well this particular vehicle is anyhow) and each time she got nervous she would gasp or scream, it was like watching someone on a roller coaster for the firs time. She had a great time and it was nice to spend a few hours just talking about stuff, including some things to pick up at the store each time she goes to work on the food stores. I told her to just take charge of it, including organizing the cabinets from oldest to newest, etc. It's better if 1 person does it, imo, then it's organized a certain way that makes the most sense to the person that;s involved in it the most.
I also ordered some FD peaches since they are the entire #10 can in a week. Baby steps.

Our new dog Rock didn't enjoy the off roading as much as we thought he would. He was curled up on the rover floor shaking and scared, I think the bouncing around was too much for his first long trip in a vehicle. Normal trips are 15-20 minutes, not 8 hours, but we took plenty of breaks to help him get his legs back. He did well socializing with strangers, only a few growls and barks spread over the entire day. My boy Luke of course was just hanging out enjoying having the entire backseat to himself and laying his head on the door staying nice and toasty in the sun.
We ended up with 5 vehicles and 12 people and about 50 guns. Someone commented that they always have a bag packed with weapons that's ready to go, but it wasn't like my get home bag, they only had weapons. I told them it's easy with a MOLLIE type back, just strap everything on like I do, the shotgun on one side, extra handgun mags on the other. You can have a nice weapon cache as well as a get home bag but it does get a little bit heavy so choose your gear wisely.

Oh yes. Meatloaf....
5 pieces of bread plucked into small bits, 1.25 pounds ground beef, 1 medium onion chopped up, some spices and a pint of buttermilk. Place in loaf pan, cover in ketchup bake at 350 for 75 minutes. I ate about 60% of the loaf, and some green beans, I love simple meals that taste so good. This recipe is great for a solar oven and if you don't have buttermilk you can make your own from your food stores; 1 cup milk (powdered milk, water) 4 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice. Let stand 15 minutes and you have buttermilk. Some people like BBQ sauce and such instead of ketchup but I am very traditional with some of my food.
If you buy high fat content burger you might have to drain the fat once you take it out of the over. I prefer sirloin, 90/10 or 93/7 hamburger.

That reminds me I forgot to get the sausage and burger out for spaghetti. Guess that will be a tomorrow night dinner.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The weekend!

It's almost time to head home, cook some steaks and taters, and play ball with the dogs. It's going to be in the upper 50's this weekend for some nice sunshine days.

The weekends are a good time for me to get some prep stuff done around the homestead. Everyone have a super weekend, have some fun and live life well. I have things to do, here is my list;

Costco run to replace items opened/used in the last 2 weeks.
Charge spare marine battery
Let all vehicles run for 10 minutes to top off those batteries, check tire pressure and fluid levels.
Swap propane tank for BBQ grill, refill old tank and put it back into rotation storage.
Saturday 12 mile trail run to work on endurance, slow pace
Sunday 8 mile trail run, faster pace for speed endurance
Prep storage mouse-trap check and overall condition check on boxes/containers.
Laundry (never ends for some reason).

The most important prep I have to do this weekend:
Throw spouses 40th birthday party. If I don't do this well, TEOTWAWKI might suddenly be here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Do you know too much?

There I was, an hour from home dressed for a speed run, standing on the side of the dirt road right before the trail started. I had 3 choices and each choice was about 3.5 miles, so I was in the middle, at an intersection of choices... but I was hurting, bad. Wick away t-shirt, track tempo skimpy shorts, shoes and a knife... no gloves, hat, etc. I was loaded for speed.

I'm not some dainty little runner, I'm 190 pounds of 'oh crap I hope I can stop when I run downhill so I don't slide off the cliff and die'. 190 pounds is a lot to pound on almost daily and it apparently caught up to me last night. I started off really fast, my body started to complain and then felt great, but a little ways down the road I realized something was wrong. My left shin was hurting like shin splints had set in to the point I couldn't put any weight on it without seeing stars. My pain tolerance is very high, so there was a lot of pain... it was getting cold and dark fast.

Each time you put your foot down, you usually take the same kind of step (foot strike), middle, back, front, side, etc. You can look at your shoes and see the wear on your soles and it's pretty easy to figure out what kind of step you take. I'm pretty flat, so it's a lot of pounding each time and when I head downhill it's more of a back to front. This uses a lot of energy, since you actually slow down when your foot hits on the back and then propel yourself as you step off, and this uses the most muscles out of any srike. The best downhill runners are front foot runners, they run on their toes, this keeps the momentum going so they are almost falling down the hill with each step simply keeping them from falling. A front foot strike is sort of leaping with each step as if you were bounding from rock to rock in a field... you leap off your toes and land on your toes.

Depending on the type of step you take, different muscle groups will work for that type of step. Some work the whole leg, some work the calf, some work the shin area... high stepping works the thighs but is useless unless it's deep snow, no snow means you are working hip flexors (and looking sillier than normal).

I like to think I know a lot of things, most of it useless, but I don't think you can ever know too much. You never know when odd information might come in handy... like when you are in pain on the side of a road debating search and rescue or a long painful walk in the dark, in the cold with skimpy 'look how fast I'm NOT running' clothes on. This is when your mind starts to work trying to find a solution from all the the useless knowledge you have.

Since I knew a lot about steps, muscles, strides, foot strike, etc. I chose the steepest route home. This would have been the worst route to pick from had I tried to run or even walk normally. I shortened my stride and ran on my toes, and used a lot of different leg muscles that normal. 40 minutes later I was home. Had I walked the easiest route it wold have taken me about 90 minutes and since that route is iced over at night I would have probably slipped and hurt other things. I couldn't have run on my toes unless it was a steep downhill, if you try then you simply jam your legs with each step and that won't last long.

So now everyone has some useless information that might help them out one day. I'm heading to a CPR class to refresh some other useless information that might save someone, someday. Plus I get to make out with a plastic person.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Roll Tide

In a world that's not always so positive, it was nice to put everything on hold for a few hours and watch some good football.
Good if you like Alabama and can't stand LSU. Good if you like the icing on the cake of a shutout.
Oregon sort of let me down this year but I can usually count on Alabama to give me some fantastic games and good finishes. This was no exception.

It also gave me 3 hours to cook my beef stew.

Monday, January 9, 2012

mmm pancakes!

Once in a while I sleep in on Sunday until about 8:30, cuddling with the dogs until they need to head outside. Pancakes are a great breakfast for any day of the week, but to me they are normally reserved for Sunday. Whole grain with a little butter and some real maple syrup that I have shipped in from back home in NH. Over the years I've gone through all kinds of different types of mix including from scratch and my actual favorite is some mix I have in food storage from Shelf Reliance.
Pancakes are cheap, easy and very filling even if you just eat them plain.

I needed a sleep in day, my Saturday run just about killed me. My run was perfect, my pace was good and when I got to the top of the 1300 foot climb I had 1/2 a mile of ice and snow to cover and turn around to repeat. This 1 mile total section took me over 20 minutes and really hurt my ankles. The rest of my run was crap as I mentally struggled with my now horrible pace and painful strides. Some motrin was taken and a long hot to cold bath and I could limp around the house. The sleep in gave me extra recovery time so my run on Sunday was fantastic. It's good to punish the body and since my legs felt great I gave everything I had into my run and finished the last half mile in about 3.5 minutes. I almost threw up when I stopped, that's leaving it all on the trail.

The in-laws are up to 3 days of meals, set aside with water and a 10 year shelf life. I had to start them somewhere so I figured some mountain house stuff would be the best. I have them covered for long term, I'm trying to get them to get a longer supply of medication. Heart medication and occasional oxygen... in a shtf situation they would be ok based on medical issues, they would just need to relax and not get excited about anything. Having 60 days worth of medical stock would be the best, but I'm working with baby steps. I spent some time with my Mormon neighbors last night talking about all kinds of stuff and I realized I'm going to have a house full of people if the worlds goes to hell. 2 families loaded for WW3, the in laws, my other neighbor friend and her daughter and of course my family. Now I just need a few thousand dollars from everyone.

I haven't spent any money at Starbucks in 9 days. I've only sworn about 25 times (out loud, does inside count?) in 9 days. My running is going strong with my new training plan, I am planning all the meals at home in advance so I know what to cook/eat, and I'm being a better friend to the people I care about. My resolutions are going strong and now I'm hungry for pancakes.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Things you put in storage

I'm a little exhausted this week, the dogs have decided they want to lay on me when I fall asleep. I suppose most people don't mind that but I don't like to be touched when I'm sleeping and an 85 pound dog laying across my legs causes me all sorts of issues. I even changed sides of the bed and it's only helped a little. No matter how I move them, make them lay on the floor, etc... I wake up with a wagging tail and sore legs, but I'm happy to have the boys.

I'm training my butt off for the upcoming spring trail running season. Last year I put in over 1500 miles and well over 400 hours (a lot more if I take driving into consideration), I'm a little OCD. I did my first run of the year on Sunday to help raise money for search and rescue and compared to last year I dropped almost 8 minutes off my time. Myy neighbor wanted to run 4 miles with me an did, 2 times now, not bad for only running off and on for 2 months. It takes us 1:06 to run those 4 miles, last night I ran them on my own at a blistering ice sliding around corners time of 34 minutes. On sore legs..

I picked up a pair of trail shoes at REI, not the kind I can run in (I tried once and sent them back, but they are great for regular shoes), these are very light and don't overheat on a hot day at work. I picked up 2 more pair since they were on sale and put them on a shelf downstairs so I have 3 pair of shoes sitting there. I read a lot about what kinds of things people have in preps, I try to keep things that I will use and would miss down the road. People have all kinds of neat things besides the basics, I have things like shoes, socks, hats... I get a lot of these things at races. I also have a bag full of dog toys, extra dog collars and leashes, shoelaces, etc.
I need to get some things for storage like hand lotion, sunblock, waterproof spray for clothing and shoes. A million things I could have in storage and I have been out of lotion for a week. Never have what you need it seems, but I keep trying.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Stay on track

It's resolution time. There isn't a better way to stay on track than to let everyone know what you decided to do/change for the New Year. I always try and pick a few things in my life that I want to improve on, or change completely. Picking things that are absurd or really difficult just means you are setting yourself up for failure, it's hard enough with little changes. Here are my 3;

No Starbucks: I like green tea and banana bread, so I hit up Starbucks a few times a week. It's about $160 a month that I can easily do at home for less than $20. This resolution is really "Don't spend any money at Starbucks", I won't pass up if I have a meeting there and someone else is paying. I'm hoping this will extend the whole year, the money I save will go into my vacation fund.

Moab and Mexico: I haven't been to Moab in a couple of years, and the 4 wheeling there is waiting for me. I have a super busy summer with work, so I'm going to give this a good effort and hopefully get a week off at some point. Mexico I am going to bring the in-laws down when we go diving, have to rent a house, so I am saving more than usual for this trip.

Running: I want to run my first 50k (31 miles) race. This will be about 8.5 hours of running, I'm slow, but I am stubborn enough to cross the finish line. I have been tailoring my training towards this goal but the snow is holding me back a few weeks. Last year I ran over 1500 miles and spent over 400 hours doing it. I am not setting a mileage goal for the year, it's too easy to just run for this goal and not set myself up for a big race. This will also help me drop 10 pounds, or at least convert it into lean muscle.

Supplies: I'm doing a great job with being prepared; my food and water storage can keep me going for a long time, I have ways to cook with propane and solar, I can heat with propane as well. My resolution for this year is to add more propane tanks into storage and get a couple of solar panels so I can charge my marine batteries.

Now it's time to take 4 training modules at work, out of 35, switching over to a new software platform is going to take some energy over the next 30 days. Happy New Year.