Dec 18, 2013

Food storage

It's easy to say, "Have X days worth of food set back." Actually doing it? A bit harder, but nowhere near as complicated as some would like to make it.

First off: has dropped prices on Augason Farms food. It all comes in #10 cans (unless it says otherwise, the "daily use" versions are smaller), with a lid to close it back up. I think the shortest shelf-life stuff is ten years in proper conditions (cool and dry), and some is up to thirty. A quick sampler of prices - dry milk, $8; potato flakes, $5; corn muffin mix, $8 - and so on. Orders over $35 ship free.

I took advantage of it. I ordered a few cans of dry milk, some potato flakes, shortening, and the almond-poppyseed muffin mix*.

If you've absolutely NO food set aside, consider something like their 30-day pail. $90, ships free, and provides a livable daily intake (1800kcal) for a month.

If you do have some set aside already, think about slowly increasing. Next time you're getting groceries and see that canned whatever is on sale, grab a few extra cans. A couple bucks in the weekly grocery budget can go a long way. A 20-pound bag of white rice is $15-20, and makes an easy "filler" under chili or shredded chicken.

I try not to doom-and-gloom this blog, but I have SERIOUS concerns about where we are going to be as a society within the next few years. Peter has a long history of noting such things, and I don't think he's wrong. I hope he is, but...

Carteach has been playing with SNAP-budget cooking, and has come up with some good stuff.

So you've got the food stored, but are you using it? Seriously. Use it. Replace what you use, but get in the habit of using it in your everyday life. Mix a quart or half-gallon of milk from powder (let it sit in the fridge overnight for best results), make potato pancakes from dry taters, mix up a batch of muffins.

MrsZ and I (OK, mostly her) canned a tremendous amount of venison and beef and vegetables and fruits and preserves of all types over the last couple years. I don't buy salsa at the store anymore - there's flats of homemade in the basement. Maple syrup from our own trees. Peaches and variations thereof galore. Tomatoes in all forms.

I have no idea how much food is actually down there - but I don't think we'd be hungry for a LONG time.

(* - the muffin mix has an oxygen absorber packet within. Locate and remove before mixing. Also, it STICKS to muffin papers. Just grease the tin well and skip the paper. Otherwise, they're delicious!)

Dec 5, 2013

2015 Mustang... say it ain't so

Ford has officially unveiled the 2015 Mustang. AutoGuide has a series of pictures here.

I am less than impressed visually - the thing looks like a Dodge Viper had an illegitimate love child with a Hyundai Tiburon - and then that poor bastard fell out of the ugly tree, bouncing off every branch on the way down.

Seriously. Do an image search for the above and tell me you don't see the Tiburon's swoopy lines and the Viper's fat ass in that new 'stang.

But even more offensive than the looks is this:
the 2015 Mustang will come standard with a 3.7-liter V6 with 300 hp while a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine will be available
Emphasis mine.

Are you friggin' kidding me? A FOUR-CYLINDER MUSTANG? Does it include a subscription to "Import Tuner Monthly" or perhaps a "Fart Cans 2014" calendar?

Look, I know full well how nice a boosted I4 can be to drive - VW-Audi and Mercedes have gotten excellent results with them over the last fifteen or twenty years. (The original TT was a 1.8L boosted I4 turning 180hp, the 2000-ish Passat, Jetta, and A4 all carried a slightly-less boosted version putting down 150hp.) With a low-to-moderate boost pressure, the lower-powered version was putting down peak torque (170lb-ft) from 1800 all the way to 4500rpm. As soon as you were barely off idle, it started pulling and Just. Didn't. Stop. Not throw-you-back pull, but steady power.

I have no issue with the V6 in the pony car - the original Mustang was a straight-6. The V8 existed early too.

But an inline four ... in an American sports car? Screw that noise.

Dec 3, 2013

Holy crap, Home Depot!

The duplex we're living in out here has laundry hookups, but not appliances. I've been going to the laundromat and dumping quarters weekly since I got out here. For me alone, that's ten bucks a week on laundry without doing towels and sheets. Add another six to ten bucks when I need to do those. It adds up in a hurry. With MrsZ planning to move out here in the near future, that would probably double laundry costs to "lots".

We'd talked about just buying a low-end basic washer and dryer to get us by until we get a house out here, but decided that didn't make a lot of sense. Instead we decided to take advantage of holiday sales and order a middle-of-the-road washer and dryer.

I went to Home Depot last week after getting out of work. Appliances was deserted. Aisles nearby were deserted. I went to the service desk and asked them to find me someone. It took nearly ten minutes and several phone calls just to find someone who could order a washer for me, but it finally got done.

The washer has been picked up and installed - given the insane work hours I've been pulling I didn't want to arrange a delivery time.

We decided to order a dryer as well, and I started on that yesterday. First I went to the HD web site, and ordered it there. I got an email shortly thereafter saying my order had been cancelled because of credit card issues (billing address). Fine. I was on my way to the store anyway to pick up the washer, so I ordered the dryer while I was there.

This morning, I got another email saying my order had been reinstated. So now I have two dryers on the way. *facepalm*

I called their customer service number and explained the situation, and the nice lady I spoke to went ahead and cancelled the online order... and the in-store order. *double facepalm* Eventually she got that turned back around, and claims to have ONE dryer on order for delivery as originally scheduled. I'm fully expecting the truck to show up with two dryers.

We'll be watching the credit card carefully, and I'll be contacting corporate customer service shortly to explain why they have lost a customer forever. I'll be driving past TWO Home Depot stores to reach the nearest Lowes, and will happily do so.
I opened the laptop with vague ideas of a great post, but somehow between opening the laptop and getting to blogger, it evaporated. So you get the vignette update of my life the last few weeks.

- Whirlwind trip home last month was in the nick of time. Rest well, MS.
- Our house has not sold yet. There was a showing yesterday and a repeat with the same family today. I'm keeping my fingers gently crossed.
- I racked up 147 hours of time at work in the last (two week) pay period. The current one is looking closer to 120, which is fine with me. This week marks my first two consecutive nights off in nearly a month.
- MrsZ is going to be here for Christmas and New Year's - and is planning to move out here permanently by mid-to-late January. We'll have spent nearly seven months apart by then.
- I have been i-ssimilated with an iPhone 5S. It's pretty damn slick, and FaceTime has been a godsend.

Also, an addendum to the last post:
After posting my silver advice earlier, spot promptly tumbled another fifty or sixty cents during the day, and is now hovering just over $19.00/oz. I bought a bit of silver over the weekend when it was still just under $20. This type of thing elicits a wry grin. I don't try (too hard) to time the market. If I'm planning to buy, I shop a little bit and buy what I can, and to hell with the market over the next while. It'll eat you up if you quibble over every dime change in spot price. Besides, if it's just sitting in a corner of the safe, what does it matter how the price changes? Read up on dollar-cost averaging - it'll keep you sane.

Dec 2, 2013

Silver once more...

I know I'm harping on this, but if you are following the economy at all, you know things are rapidly circling the drain. Silver is a relatively solid hedge item and is physical. No ones and zeroes in a bank computer. Cold hard metal.

It's "cyber Monday" and much as I hate that term there are some deals to be had. 

(A company I refuse to patronize any longer) is running a $0.59 over spot sale on select items. The OPM rounds are a solid bet, and the St. Gauden's round has beautiful. 

Silvertowne has some deals but it's mostly on graded stuff - not bullion but collectibles. 

Spot is still hovering under $20/oz. If you want to buy, it's a good time IMHO.