Showing posts with label pizza. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pizza. Show all posts

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Life is What Happens When You Turn The News Off

I seem to go into a sort of cycle with the news. Right now I am about sick of it. I still check out the drudge daily and if things get boring cruise the BBC. Instead of listening to the news at work I have been using a comedy show as background. I keep up enough to have a clue what is going on but really am having a hard time pretending to care.

The issues of police abuses has been weighing pretty heavily on my mind lately. Over a short time (since my being able to pay attention to these things at a relatively adult level) the changes which have occured are widespread and universally negative. Right now I do not have any additional thoughts on this topic which I am willing to share in a public venue.

Gang/ Mob attacks seem to be on the rise. The perpetrators, victims and area demographics seem to be quite consistent. The only thing that concerns me more than this is the total ambivalence of law enforcement about these crimes. The widespread efforts of government and media to conceal these events does not weigh positively into the mix either. I am not personally concerned about this. I do not frequent the kind of areas where this sort of thing has been happening. Also my life patterns, like being home at 7 to put the kid to bed, drops the odds even further. In any case it is still troubling.

Greece getting out of the Euro may almost be a foregone conclusion at this point. The idea of Euro bonds is laughable. Like cosigning for a loan your deadbeat brother in law/ whatever to get a loan it would require Germany be on the hook for things in the end. Like cosigning in general it is just a terrible idea. Banks or private markets are far better judges of who is a worthwhile risk than friends and family. I get what is in it for everybody but Germany, who actually has their financial house in order.

Also to complicate things there is significant risk to the Euro itself. As Tam put it "So Greece's profligate habits are threatening to drag the Euro under. Germany, the only wino at the bar keeping a squinty eye on the tab, is urging some restraint on Greece's part, which makes the Jerries the no-fun bad guy of the story."

The biggest way this inconveniences me is that it means I am not going to Greece which sucks. It was definitely on our short list before the mess of the last few months. Now the risk of getting stuck somewhere with a toddler in tow makes it a no travel zone for us. I guess it is a significant global risk, blah blah blah but I don't care about that.

So what did I do today?

After getting off work I came home for some quiet family time. For no clear reason I decided to make home made pizza. I had never done this but with some help from Wifey utter disaster was averted. I learned to do something new and we had a pretty good dinner. It was a nice quiet evening and I got something out of it.

It is worth noting that Dave Duffy wrote an article that inspired this one but was much better.

Anyway I hope you all have a nice quiet evening.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Staple Cooking and Random Thoughts Theiron

-You need to prepare to have failures. I am not going to say you will be a failure of that everything you try to make is going to fail the first time. Just that at least now and then you are going to fail. I suggest having a backup plan so that at 8 oclock at night (speaking from experience;) when you've been waiting for dinner for two hours and the recipe has failed twice (so everyone is hungry and the cook is really upset) you've got dinner. Not saying you need a whole extra menu but a frozen pizza or a takeout menu might be wise to keep around.

-You've got to learn the rules before you try to break the rules. Some elements of cooking like BBQing, pasta and making salad's give a lot of flexibility. They are more like art where you can just sort of toss things which generally sound good together and usually it works out at least OK if not well. However staple cooking, and baking (especially with yeast) just doesn't work that way. It is a lot more like chemistry in that there are lots of rules as well as some hard and fast ways to go things. You've got to learn some rules and start with recipes that work. After you get those down you can start adding a little of this and a bit less of the other thing. People like professional chef's and bakers can just toss stuff together and have it work because they have internalized the rules and best methods for doing things. Until you get to that point you should get a recipe book or hop onto google and find some stuff to make.

-Start small. The first time to try staple cooking is not the main course when you are having your in laws, boss and 20 best friends over for a fancy dinner. A side dish (biscuits, beans, etc) on a random day is probably a better idea. The learning curve is steep so it is best to keep your expectations modest at first.

-Cook stuff you like. This should go without saying but sometimes people get sucked into the staple cooking idea and carried away. No matter how wonderfully you make it a thing you don't like isn't much of a success. If you like soup then make soup. If you like like beans cook beans.

-Don't give up. The learning curve is steep and you are going to have failures. The good thing is that once you start to figure out the rules of a certain type of cooking (bread, beans, etc) you are all of a sudden able to do all kinds of things in that category. You will be able to save lots of money and eat wonderful healthy food. You will turn a bag of this and some boxes of that into great tasting food. All of the work is well worth the end results.

Remember you have just until early Saturday morning to enter our Awesome Ammo Giveaway Contest. Just wanted to make sure you are aware of it. You can get a whole bunch of free ammo for no money and a very modest investment of a few minutes of your time.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Work was pretty nuts for me but that is life sometimes. Monday I dehydrated some apple slices for Wifey. Stashed some Euro's because instead of going out for dinner we just grabbed a pizza and stayed home on Saturday. Had some fun with the shortwave radio last night. I cleaned out the paperwork cabinet getting rid of unnecessary or outdated stuff and excessive copies. While doing that I took all the real essential stuff which isn't in our wallets and put it into one of those plastic paperwork envelope things. Passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, car title and an extra checkbook. The stuff we would really want if leaving in a hurry and packing light. I had been meaning to do that for awhile. We picked up some extra ketchup at the store today because it was on a good sale.

All things being equal it was a pretty productive week. 

What did you do to prepare this week?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Finances and Fitness, General Trends

Lately I have been thinking more in broad trends than about specific topics. I got to thinking about how savings and fitness are alike. I know you don't like these topics. You would prefer if I said "spend every single dollar you have on preps, the world is going to end" and that worrying about credit card debt or a lack of a significant savings account is not a concern. I hate to be the one to tell you but the odds of you loosing your job or having some sort of a personal financial emergency are a lot higher than those of there being even a regional SHTF. I could say that you have a rifle, food and water so can survive anything no matter if you owe AMEX 20k and have 12 bucks in savings but I am not going to. Also I know you are not concerned about fitness, in fact you are downright tired of me talking about it. You have plenty of stored food, some cool tactical clothes and gear plus some super fancy guns, you will be fine no matter if you get tired walking from the car to your favorite chair to read blogs and eat pizza.

First I think these two are similar because there are distinctly measurable. While it may be painful it is easy to see if you have gained or lost weight or increased or decreased your net worth over a given period of time. While short term measurements may be skewed by a big meal or a surprise bill the long term picture is very accurate.

Secondly these are pretty darn simple, certainly not easy but still simple. To be fit consume as many or fewer calories than you burn and exercise regularly. To be fiscally fit spend less than you make and save the difference.

Both are really all about small decisions compounded over a long period of time. The difference between having your weight stay the same, increase or decrease by 15 pounds or so over the course of a year is in the neighborhood of 200 calories a day. [I WAG'ed that one beacause I am not going to take the time to figure it out. The point however stands.] Money is the same way. That $2.50 mocha or $5 foot long at subway really adds up if you do it every day. The difference of doing or not doing those small things over a long period of time are significant.

The bottom line is that if you consistently do the right thing in either of these you will be well off.

The biggest thing which seperates the two is that in fitness it is impossible to make huge sudden (certainly day or week, arguably up to 1 month) changes for good or bad. Our bodies heal and change too slowly for increadibly dramatic overnight effects. Lets say tomorrow you wake up super motivated and go for a 5 mile run. In the afternoon you lift weights for 3 hours followed by swimming a mile and some intervals on an exercise bike. Maybe you will loose 2 pounds and your muscles will heal stronger than they were but in the grand scheme of things that day is not going to make your month of fitness. Conversely lets say you are just not feeling it and really want to have the mother of all cheat days. You get a bunch of donalds for brunch. After work you decide to get a pepperoni pizza, a bag of chips and a 12 pack of beer. That might mess up your fitness goals for the week but if you have an otherwise good month (or probably even 2-3 week period) it is not going to affect the overall outcome.

With money while the slow trends and small decisions are important you can make significant changes for good or bad in an afternoon. You can buy something you can't really afford and have that cancel out having drip coffee from home and a granola bar instead of a fancy mocha and pastry every day or brown bagging instead of eating out. On the other side of that your money situation can dramatically change for the good overnight by ditching debt, decreasing spending or best of all increasing your earnings. While it isn't talked about often because most people tend to make as much as they are capable of (given their current skill set and motivation) earning your way out of money problems is a heck of an answer, particulalry for those who have a long term financial problem [often middle classish folks who reached a little bit too far to buy a home or had inflation eat away at their earnings] which can not be solved by bucking down into a budget and paying off consumer debt.

Unless you make a big carrear move or do something dumb big money changes happen fairly rarely so they should not be counted on any more than they are vigilantly watched against.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

PCS Pizza

We currently have one frying pan, one pot, a cookie sheet and not much else. No dishes and no microwave. We haven't bought groceries in the conventional sense for almost a month.

Anyway two wheat tortillas, some marinara sauce, turkey pepperoni, and whatever cheeses you have lying around can be put on a cookie sheet and broiled to make a pretty decent pizza; well decent for late night if you have had a few drinks and are hungry for something that doesn't come directly from a can. Cook it for about 6 minutes then serve hot.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Guerilla Warfare

I am going to do this sans notes (not feeling like going to grab them) so one little piece of info or two might be wrong. In any case I am going to talk about a lot of different conflicts in brief and focus more on general trends that correlate with success and failure.

First it is worth noting that guerrilla warfare goes back too the beginning of time. Basically any time a non uniformed army or police force fought against you had a guerrilla war. The name comes from the Spanish phrase "small war" which came into play when Napoleon invaded Spain and the partisans fought a low level war against them. So no guerrilla warfare was not invented by Che Guevara in the late 1950's.

Some successful guerrilla wars:
American Revolution
China (Mao c1949)
Algeria (a perfect example of not so much willing as the other side loosing will)
Vietnam (against the French and US)
Afghanistan (vs the Russians and just about everyone that invaded prior to them)

Some that were not successful for the guerrillas:
Spain vs. Napoleon
Indian Wars
Philippines (c1899-1902ish)
Boer Wars
Ireland c1920's though to narrow that down to one war would be a great simplification
All partisans during WWII. They were heroic and convenient but they didn't win the war, even in a single theater.

Here are some characteristics of successful guerrilla campaigns:
They are opposing an over stretched or dysfunctional government
They have some sort of a safe haven to train, rest and regroup
The terrain makes it easy for people to hide, mountains, swamps, jungles
Outside support for the guerrillas
A charismatic leader able to unify people
A less quantifiable characteristic is freedom of movement. It is a combination of terrain and safe havens.

Note that some of these characteristics are things the guerrillas can do nothing about. You can't make a country of open plains into high jagged mountains anymore then you can turn a well organized cohesive government into an overstretched and dysfunctional one.

Here are some characteristics of successful counter insurgency (COIN) campaigns:
Will. The common theme in almost every failed COIN campaign is that the lack of will (throughout or at the end) is a common denominator of all the failures I can think of.
Separate the guerrillas from the population. This one is touchy and difficult. It worked well when the British put up massive barricades and forced people into concentration camps. Not saying it was nice but it did work. Also the Brits did a nicer version of this in Malaysia. We did not do this successfully in Vietnam.

Deny the guerrillas a safe haven. Guerrillas without a safe haven are rarely successful.

Deny the guerrillas freedom of movement (this overlaps with separating them from the population and denying them a safe haven). We were successful in the Philippines partially because of a naval blockade and the fact that it is an island nation. It was easy to deny freedom of movement. When guerrillas are fixed in position they are destroyed.

Brutal repression of guerrillas can be successful. I am not saying it is nice or a good thing to do but it has worked very well in the past. Notice that guerrilla operations against the Axis during WWII were not particularly successful because they were rather nasty folks who didn't play around. This is not always necessary or even successful but when it works it works.

Working towards conciliation is another tenant of successful COIN ops. If guerrillas know they are going to be killed/ punished whenever found regardless of their current involvement in the conflict they will tend to keep fighting as winning is their only way out. If however there is a fairly generous amnesty policy possibly coupled with helping them reintegrate and find jobs you can really hurt their manpower (lower level troops mostly) when things start to get bad for them.

Some thoughts on guerrilla movements:
They can offset strategic weakness with tactical strength. 100,000 occupiers vs 5,000 guerrillas is a decisive advantage as is 60 guerrillas vs 10 occupiers in a tactical fight. It is worthy to note that guerrillas don't really hold any ground. They sabotage, assassinate, ambush and raid. The characteristics of all of these is a quick planned withdrawal.

I could write more but it probably wouldn't be really cohesive and I am hungry. Time to nuke leftover pizza.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Got Home Safely

Hey Y'all just wanted to drop a quick note on here telling you I got in safe. Aside from waking up way too early to drive to Atlanta the trip went smoothly. Dad and I got lunch at my favorite pizza place in world which was pretty awesome. It is going to be a pretty busy long weekend but I will try to post something new tomorrow morning.
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