Friday, August 26, 2011

Fall Garden Time

I finally got around to getting my seeds started for the fall/winter garden. Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, mesclun, romaine, salad mix. I would have gotten the arugula and spring onions and a couple of more things started but I ran out of potting soil and I don't feel like going to get any more. I'll pick up a couple of bags tomorrow at work if my pea brain can remember. The big chore still lies ahead though and that is cleaning up the summer garden and that's at least three days or more of hard work. Until I clean up the remains of summer I won't have space for the fall/winter root crops which don't transplant well. Beets, turnips, rutabaga, parsnips, etc.  I successfully grew lettuce and spinach in the greenhouse last year but I left them in their little starter cells and they were a bit stunted. I think this year I will build some cedar boxes for them and see if that improves things. They have some growing boxes at the Depot but they are plastic and pretty expensive but they have a good name "City Pickers". They would be perfect for growing some stuff on a balcony or roof. Since I have a pretty complete wood shop I think I can build something a little cheaper but just as good and as a bonus they will be of wood.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Damn Near Magic

I got my new Ipod Touch today and have it all set up and while I haven't figured out all the bell and whistles yet I am impressed as hell. I thought my Android phone (HTC Inspire) was sharp but the Ipod 4G has it beat. This tiny little thing is very close to being plain old magic and not just high tech. It is going to take me a while to figure it out. There is even a website that can tell you where your Ipod is if you happen to misplace it.

Going To Get Hungrier Out

  If you are not paying attention to the current trends in such things as food prices and are not actively planning to insulate yourself as best you can from the coming problems then you should. This is only the tip of the iceberg and this year's heat, flooding and drought are just a symptom of the changes our global climate will experience in the coming years. We're going to have snow and cold but the trend to warmer and drier will continue into the future and things are only going to get worse. We aren't quite at the point yet for this to cause civil unrest but that is not far in the future either. You need to start thinking in disaster terms when it comes to the things you need to survive and yes that means stockpiling some things that will come into short supply.  You may be able to afford to put food "on your family" today but at some point money does not answer the questions of short supplies or unavailable at any price. Just remember that this year's high prices and short supply are not a "one off" but a trend and it will continue to get worse.

Consumers can expect to see a jump in prices for pasta, meat, vegetable oil and many other grocery items in the coming months as a pair of new government reports forecast on [Aug. 11] that a brutal mixture of heat, drought or flooding has taken a toll on the corn, soybeans and wheat grown on American farms.

Futures prices for those important crops jumped on [Aug. 11], and commodities experts said that would lead to higher prices for manufacturers and consumers.

“The message, based on today’s report, is these higher costs should not be expected to abate any time soon,” said Bill G. Lapp, president of Advanced Economic Solutions, a commodity consulting firm that works with restaurant companies and food manufacturers. “It implies higher cost forthcoming and subsequent margin pressure, and at some point the need to increase prices at the retail level or on the menus.” ...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Me that is. I am only scheduled for 16 hours for the whole week. The first is 5 hours tonight from 5pm to 10pm which means only one break and no lunch so I gotta go have a peanut butter sandwich or something before I head out in a few minutes. Oh, and I got an award at the store meeting Sunday night...a patch signifying that I have checked out over 100K$ worth of merchandise since the first of the year and no I don't get any of the money.

Ipod Fails Me

My trusty IPOD classic that I have had for years and years(it is first generation 40GB) has failed. Actually, it still works only the left and right buttons on the click wheel won't answer the helm so you can't select what you want to hear. The timing is atrocious since I am trying to hit the gym daily and music is a requirement for me to exercise. The fitness center does have head banging music blaring all the time but it is not my music and there is only the occasional song or artist I recognize. I did try to use my Android smart phone (Inspire) on the FM radio app but the reception in the gym was hit and miss. I checked with the Geek place up the road and they can't get the parts to repair mine as it is so old. Bye Old Friend.

Not to worry though I have just ordered a new IPOD Touch (32GB) from Amazon and it will be here tomorrow. I didn't read the specs to closely but I gather it will do more than play music.

East Coast Shakes

Seems there was a small (5.9) earthquake centered in Virgina somewhere between Richmond and DC. It is reported that the GOP has called an emergency meeting to figure out how to blame this on Obama. Being a Virginian by birth I can tell you that earthquakes aren't too common in the area. I'll have to do a little research and find out when the last one was.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Green Tomatoes


I've got green tomatoes to use and I have about tired of frying them, though they are very good. Tonight I am going to try and create something new with them.
I've a little fresh pork shoulder as well as peppers and the tomatoes so I am going to try and make a stew. Tomatillo's are very much like green tomatoes(same genus though a different family and more closely related to the gooseberry actually) and you can make a green pork chili/stew with them so why not green tomatoes? Green and tart being the prime criteria here.
I'll brown the pork in smallish bits with a little cumin and garlic and add some chopped onion. I'll braise this for an hour or two in chicken broth until the pork is quite tender and then add the chopped green tomato and chopped red pepper with a jalapeno or two for a zap. Forty five minutes or so later I should have a passable meal along with some flour tortillas and maybe a little sour cream. I will report.

Excellent results with the addition of a bit of agave syrup and some oregano. We actually had a couple of friends share it with us and Kelly and Carmen pronounced it good. No left overs so that's some testimony.

Pump Me Up

You are probably not going to believe this but I have joined a fitness center. The new Atlanta Fitness just down the road offered a special for 28 bucks to join and 28 bucks a month and I did.
I don't know if I have mentioned it here but my job, which requires standing on concrete for 8 plus hours a shift, is causing me some considerable pain....ankles, knees, and especially the lower back. I get exercise in the garden but it is really mostly upper arm and walking type stuff and I need something to combat the pain caused by work. That means strengthening the lower back and the muscles in the legs and hips that provide support. I don't have the equipment at home so the only option is a gym and this seemed like a good deal. The place is state of the art with everything exercise related... all the machines, free weights and whatever. I've even contracted with a personal trainer to get me started on the program I need. It won't hurt to lose a little weight either, even though I am slowly shedding pounds due to the job. Even though I am a little over 6'2", I am carrying slightly over 260 pounds and trust me when I tell you that that 260 is only about 175 pounds of actual muscle mass. We'll see how it goes. I had my first workout yesterday and the second today and I just hope the saying "no pain-no gain" is true because I can sure feel muscles I didn't know I had. Let's hope the fact that I am actually spending money on this will be enough additional incentive to keep it going.

I also went out yesterday and bought some new shoes from New Balance that should help with my tendency to shift my feet to inside when I stand and walk (over pronate) along with some orthotics to help with the same problem. I'll give them the test tomorrow when I have a full shift starting at 645a. I'll know by the end of the day whether the investment of $150 on these shoes was worthwhile. BTW they are the New Balance 1123 and are very highly rated, especially for big guys with stability problems and over pronation issues.My experience with the New Balance hiking boots I have and wear occasionally to work bodes well as the boots have some of the same features as the shoe for increased stability.

Zombie USSR

I am feeling more and more like I've slipped into some alternate universe. Could you have imagined just 10 years ago that someone the caliber of Michele Bachmann would be considered for the highest office and would win a straw poll? Her latest is warning that the people of the U.S. are concerned about the rising threat from the Soviet Union. Seriously!

To top off all of the insanity, Rick Perry arrives on the scene and is also to be considered a serious contender for the presidency if you believe the media. I only have one thing to say and I am going to let someone else say it....

"Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention."-- Molly Ivins

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Elvis is Still Dead But I'm Not

Just working too hard and often. I work, sleep and work for the last few days...two days off coming tomorrow so I'll be back. Off to work now for the 230p to 1030p gig. The good news is that I am only scheduled for 16 hours next week. Later.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Great Dogs of Fire

Since Madam is out having lunch with a friend for the friend's birthday I thought I would take advantage of the opportunity and indulge myself in a hot dog (which Madam does not like at all). Barker's Red Hots just opened a shop in town and its just around the corner. Damn fine "tube steak" and surely the best available in Atlanta. They are charcoal grilled to order and they use only the famous Sahlen's dogs. Being a good Southern boy mine were with mustard, onion, chili and slaw. I held back and only had two. The fresh made onion rings were very nice as well. I can highly recommend same for those of you in the Atlanta area. They also have a location on Windy Hill.
They started as the first street cart in Atlanta some 29 years ago and now have the two brick and mortar places as well. I don't have them very often but a good hot dog is one of my great weaknesses and this is a good dog.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

See Saw

Off to work in a few minutes for a 430p to 1030p gig. Had the morning and early afternoon off and I basically did nothing. Read a bit and just generally vegetated and I have tomorrow off as well.

Can't say the stock markets are not exciting. As I am writing this the Dow is up nearly 540 points. I'm watching it but not getting emotional. It will be what it will be. I guess that's true of all the weirdness right now and you just have to keep your own counsel and do what is right for you and your environment. Try and insulate yourself as much from the strangeness and prepare yourself for the further strange to come. I for one don't understand it all on a gut level, only intellectually. You really can't get a grip on insanity unless you are will to be insane yourself cause it won't make any sense any other way.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Cream Crackered

I'm "cream crackered"  as my English friends would say. Just coming off an 8 hour close the store shift at 1030p last night and then opening again this morning at 745a. Subtract the travel time, shit, shower and shave time and you wind up with about 5 hours of sleep. Not good for this old man so I will be hitting the sack in short order tonight.
Not a bad morning this morning temperature wise with a few sprinkles. By mid afternoon the "few sprinkles" translated into brutal humidity and the temperature was pushing 100F. Getting into my car at 5 caused me to flash back to somewhere around 1958 and the annual family trip from North Carolina to Key West, Fl in August to visit Uncle Jack and his wife du jour. Mom and Dad in our 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 station wagon (two tone, white over green) with no air. This was before the days of  I95 so we followed US1/301 all the way. The famous 4x60 a/c(60 mph and all four windows down) and all of us sweating and sticking to the vinyl seats. Us two boys in the back seat and my younger brother Andy complaining regularly to Mom that I was breathing all his air. August through South Georgia in a station wagon with no A/C and vinyl seats...defines miserable.

Friday, August 05, 2011

There Went Any Progress in 2011

The dramatic fall in the market yesterday wiped out all of the gains in recent history. Investors fled to treasuries and gold. Treasuries are in effect a negative investment when you consider inflation but they are a safe haven. It's not like we haven't been here before. Way back in 1936 FDR tried to attack the deficits created by his New Deal and we promptly fell back into recession. We know what works and what doesn't work but that doesn't seem to come into play when you are dealing with the Jesus and  the Triceratops Tea baggers. Never let it be said that facts and experience get in the way of insane beliefs. The market may be over reacting but the investors know that we are teetering on the brink of falling back into a recession and they are bailing.

I think is safe to say that we haven't seen the end of all this. Yeah, they are saying that today's job report is better than expected but adding 117,000 jobs doesn't even keep up with the new folks coming into the labor pool.

One good point is the latest polling shows that the American people are properly blaming the GOP and tea baggers for the sorry state of affairs.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Heat, Heat, Heat

Got a couple of days off but it is too damn hot to do anything outside. Fortunately there is inside work to do and by that I mean can tomatoes and while there are piles and piles picked there are more to be picked. So that's what will going on around here for the afternoon and probably the morrow as well.

I haven't discussed the debt ceiling vote thingy as there are plenty of other folks out there that can do it better. I am just so frustrated with the fact that a relatively small group of insane people have managed to control the entire U.S. and twisted the priorities of government 180 degrees out of whack. How they managed to turn the focus from a real and painful employment crisis to the imaginary debt crisis is pretty amazing. You have to surmise that the result we got was actually what Obama wanted because Clinton proved that you can successfully tell the whack jobs (Boehner was one of those as well in 1995) to 'piss off' and they did.

Anyhoo...I can't say I didn't expect this and I can also say, once again, to gird yourself for the double dip recession that is on our doorsteps. All the indicators are there. Expect lots of cities to go bankrupt and maybe even a state or two and don't expect any improvement in the employment rate for at least a couple of years. We need to stimulate the economy and there isn't anyone with any money to do it. Let's just hope we can avoid a deflationary spiral. It isn't looking too great out there.