Thursday, December 29, 2011


Went to the airport today, and walked up to my airplane sitting under the bright blue sky. I checked the fuel and found a little water, checked the oil and found all was well, and did a thorough preflight. On the other hand, I haven't flown in two months, and the windsock was varying between straight out and hanging at twenty degrees away from the pole. It was straight down the runway - but the longer I go between flying, the less wind it takes to be too much.

So I didn't fly today - I'll check tomorrow, if the wind is calmer.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Following Tam and Daddybear's lead, in lieu of content, a list of common songs heard coming from my computer. Grabbed from the random playlist, because I don't keep tracking software on music.

1. The Eighth Square - The CruxShadows
2. WinterSouls - Diary of Dreams
3. Lucky One - Allison Krause and Union Station
4. Where Rainbows Never Die - The Steeldrivers
5. Wake of Magellan - Savatage
6. Leather - Tori Amos
7. We're in This Together - NIN
8. Rico - Angry Salad
9. Summer - Bel Canto
10. No Ordinary Morning - Chicane
11. Find You're Gone - Wolfsheim
12. Valkyrie (Rise of the Walcyrge - Dreamside Remix) - The Cruxshadows
13. Forever - Bruderschaft
14. Black Heart - Edge of Dawn
15. Ghosts of Mississippi - The SteelDrivers
16. Solitude - VNV Nation
17. Pray For Love - Edge of Dawn
18. Saltwater - Chicane
19. Thornes & Brambles - Abney Park
20. Vale of Plenty - Hanz Zimmer - Black Hawk Down Soundtrack

Yeah, if you were wondering, Calmer Half and I don't see ear to ear on music. Heck, what I consider folks in awesome clubbing fashion he thinks are a good sign that the gun should already be out and aimed, while looking for an exit. I'm never taking him clubbing on goth night, much less to a rave. Heck, I won't even bother dragging him to another bluegrass festival, not after the last time. (Long story.)

That's okay. He can rock out to Jethro Tull (ugh) that I bought for him for Christmas downstairs, and I can rock out to The Cruxshadows ("your horrid noise") that he bought for me for Christmas upstairs, and we'll both be happy.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

The solstice has come and gone, and each day from here brings not only a little more light, but the promise of warmth and summer to come. So, too, the birth of Christ brought us the hopes and promises of heaven, and a reminder that the world, for all it uncaring cruelty, is a passing thing compared to the love of God. As a Christian, I celebrate both in darkest midwinter, looking not at the darkness that surrounds me, but at the light and love that is, and is to come.

No matter your faith, I wish you the best in love and life, in luck and joy. I hope that with the turning of the wheel of seasons, the next year will be better for you, full of happy memories to be made, of life that is well-lived, and wonderful times with your kith and kin.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Notes for survivalists

Or, how to avoid irritating your wife.

NFO put up an excellent post a while ago about "they didn't have the green thing back in my day." Read it, and those of you who have been bitten by the survivalist bug, and fervently think about the end of the economic world coming soon, or the unleashing of the zombpocalypse, or what have you, here's some handy tips to avoid irritating your wife or significant other. Take them with humor, or eat them with some crow and your foot later.

1. "Emergency Survival Food Cache" is pronounced "pantry." Chances are, she already knows how much food is on hand, how long it lasts, how to make tasty meals with it even if the power goes out, and regularly rotates the stock. If you want to make her happy, help convert another storage space into a Backup Emergency Survival Cache for Use After Government or other Looters Confiscate Your Main One. This is pronounced "Extra pantry", or "root cellar."

2. Spices make bland food far more interesting. However, before rushing out to buy Costco-sized amounts of spices to use as trade goods, realize that it doesn't take much spice to flavor a dish, and that spices will get stale or rancid after a while. Instead of buying Bubba's All-Purpose Seasoning, or Trendy Cook's Favorite Spice Weasel Mix, pay attention to what spices actually are going into your everyday meals. Demanding a list of 10 spices, and then returning with far too much to fit into the spice cupboard - bad idea.

3. Do NOT go rooting through her chocolate cache. Rather, buy some chocolate. If she likes it, buy more. Trust me - she'll keep adequate quantities on hand to cope with trying times, like husbands going on a survivalist tear through her kitchen. Don't forget to buy more of her favorite alcohol, too.

4. If she doesn't can, do not buy canning jars and lids and hand them to her. Canning is hard work, hot, wet physical labor with boiling water and high potential for steam burns. If you think the problem is solved by simply buying the jars, prepare to have those jars shoved where the sun don't shine.

5. If you insist that she start packing heat, she won't. Every human walking the face of the earth today is a survivor - they have all survived so far by doing whatever they have done until this moment. To declare that they cannot survive unless they change their ways to what you want is contrary to their entire experience, demeaning, and insulting. Charm, cajole, invite - but do not insist or threaten.

6. Even if you are convinced that the signs of economic collapse / end of the world / black helicopters / rapture / zombpocalypse are everywhere, pointing each one out calmly is pronounced "nagging", and pointing them out with passion is pronounced "stark raving nuts." Even if she believes you, it is no more welcome than her mother's constant comments on how cute babies are followed with disapproving looks at your wife's flat stomach.

7. Very like canning, planting a garden is not a matter of throwing some seeds in the ground and waiting for the plants to produce bountiful harvests. It takes a lot of constant hard work spread over months. Do you have the time now? Will you have the time later? Money is no substitute for work, here, and you can spend more money putting in a raised-bed garden than you can remodeling a bathroom - with far less to show if you don't keep it up.

8. No matter how urgent The End appears to be, you have a budget. Realize that if you label them "survival goods", any money spent is indistinguishable to the uninterested spouse from money spent on any other hobby. Consider your budget, and the wrath of your spouse, accordingly.

9. No matter how much you want to start with the bug-out bag, start with something that actually has tangible impact on the likeliest emergencies. A pair of jumper cables, a blanket, a tire iron, a checklist of what to do if you get in an accident and one on how to change a tire, a can of fix-a-flat, a small first aid kit, a tow rope, a couple flares, and similar items in the trunk will make far more impact on your wife's belief that you are preparing for emergencies than bug-out-bags or sectioning the yard into fire zones with fallbacks.

10. Clean the bathroom. No, really. Nobody likes cleaning the bathroom, and you're asking your wife to put up with an expensive new hobby, lots of extra stuff, a lot of negative muttering, her soulmate and partner being pessimistic and ranty, and general disturbance in the domestic tranquility. If you want her to help you, start by helping her.

11. If the zompocalypse really is coming, then you need to actually fix your house and car now. Yes, I know it's easier to shove fifty boxes of lightbulbs in the closet, but really, now is the time to fix the toilet. If you're hoping the Even Greater Depression means you won't have to deal with that leaking toilet - no, it means your life savings aren't going very far with the water leak draining them away. So fix it now, before money becomes worthless. Besides, you know you'll never find a good replacement stove fan after the looters have been through HomeDepot, and if you think the black helicopters are bad, trying to clean the grease off every surface of an unvented kitchen after cooking bacon is worse.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

After Calmer Half had his heart attack, I researched extensively and changed how I cooked to help him. I put a lot of effort into finding tasty, heart-healthy, stomach-filling, good food. As he's battled to lose weight, I've tried to change the food to stay varied and tasty, and to accommodate whatever isn't supposed to be eaten now.

Once I started working 55 hours a week, he started grocery shopping, making dinner and packing the leftovers for lunch. We've had a few points to straighten out, but generally he's been working at making tasty meals and I've been enjoying them when wolfing down food on a short, usually late, lunch break, and before falling asleep on my feet in the evening.

Today, off work with a mere 43 hours worked this week and a good night's rest behind me, I stuck my head in the fridge to find the makings for food. Beyond an entire shelf's worth of fridge purely dedicated to condiments, I found:

4 packs of bacon, 2 opened.
9 packs/bricks of cheese, 4 opened.
1 package of sausage
1 package of lettuce, unopened for at least a week.
1 package of spinach, only used for my sandwiches
1 bunch of asparagus, unused for at least a week
The yogurts for my lunch
The remains of a case of beer (Clearly the housemate, not Calmer Half - wrong brand)

...You can teach all you want, but people from husbands to hoplophobes to angry young liberal arts majors are only going to learn if they want to.